Graduate Students May Unionize, NLRB Rules

Inside Higher Ed

Graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants at private universities are entitled to collective bargaining, the National Labor Relations Board ruled Tuesday.

The NLRB said that a previous ruling by the board — that these workers were not entitled to collective bargaining because they are students — was flawed.

The board’s ruling, 3-1, came in a case involving a bid by the United Automobile Workers to organize graduate students at Columbia University. Many graduate students at public universities are already unionized as their right to do so is covered by state law, not federal law.

The ruling largely rejects the fights of previous boards over whether teaching assistants should be seen primarily as students or employees. They can be both, the majority decision said.

Read more about the ruling here.