News and Articles

In a Stark Reversal, the NLRB Rules Columbia University Graduate Students May Unionize

Yogi Patel - Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The National Labor Relations Board ruled late last month that student assistants working at private colleges and universities are “employees” under the National Labor Relations Act and can organize and form a union. This reverses the position of the Board, which ruled in 2004 that graduate teaching and research assistants were not employees, reasoning that the students’ relationship with the school was “primarily educational.”

In reversing its 12-year old position in the Brown University case, the NLRB wrote that it wrongly “deprived an entire category of workers the protections of the [National Labor Relations Act], without a convincing justification in either the statutory language or the policies” of the law.

The proper role of graduate students and their contributions outside the classroom has been a source of controversy and debate for nearly two decades, as both private and public institutions of higher education have grown more and more reliant on them for the institutions to operate. Many see increased use of graduate students and low-paid, temporary adjuncts as part of a movement away from full-time professors, a move that has been criticized by educators and students. Students also point out that such work is mandatory as part of many graduate programs, but the pay leaves some of them living in poverty while the time demands prevent them from obtaining other work to supplement their income without compromising their ability to fulfill academic needs.

Schools, on the other hand, argue that unionization could lead to negotiations about inherently educational factors, such as the length of classes, the content of curriculum, or the method or amount of grading.

The Columbia University ruling allows graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants, as well as graduate and departmental research assistants at Columbia University to join Graduate Workers of Columbia-GWC, UAW, but not before the case is reviewed again by an NLRB Manhattan regional director, who must still determine who is eligible to vote in the union election.

Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.

Recent Posts


Wage and Hour Law Economic Injury Disaster Loans Newsletter Womens Rights Alter-Ego Doctrine Out-of-State LLC Owners NQSO Fair Chance Act Employment Contracts Attracting Investment Sexual Harassment policy Credit Marijuana Testing Paid Family Leave Postnup Interns as Employees Worker's Rights Firm Announcements Trade Secrets Act Trademark licensing AirBnB Immigration Status Housing Law Criminal Record Employment Law Illegal rentals Credit Checks COVID-19 Transgender protections EEOC Filing Requirement Trademark Law federal Department of Labor Payroll Scams #meToo Employer Mandate NY payroll law U.S. Department of Labor Plastic Bag Ban Families First Coronavirus Response Act stocks Browning-Ferris Case graduate students New York Earned Sick Time Act Business NLRB Sexual Harassment Internet Law Security ACA Pregnancy drug testing LinkedIn Household Employees NYC Salary History Law Landlord-Tenant Law Prenup Freelance Isn't Free Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Executive Order Emergency Economic Injury Grants Minimum wage Credit History National Labor Relations Board Arbitration Agreements Affordable Care Act Health Care Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Hairstyle Discrimination National Labor Relations Act NYC Sick Leave Law Independent Contractor Public-Sector Union Fees Federal Overtime Law Real Estate Law Mandatory Class Action Waivers Webinar sexual harassment training Divorce Right to Unionize Corporate Law Federal Small Business Assistance Salary History Inquiries Privacy Facebook Privacy and Litigation Human Rights Law Non-Qualified Stock Options Federal Joint Employer Rule Wage Theft Protection Act Interns New York City Human Rights Law Web Domains Unionization Fair Labor Standards Act Business Law Fair Play to Pay Act Westchester County implementing new leave laws Interview Series marijuana usage Paycheck Protection Program Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc. Lactation Law Trade Secrets Overtime Exemptions Employee Manuals and Policies Ban the Box Sexual Harassment and Discrimination In The Workplace NYC Human Right's Law's Workplace Requirements Overtime Rules Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council workplace discrimination Executive Negotiation Executive Severance Fair Workweek Law Tax-Deferred Savings commuter benefits Start-up Ventures Selling Business Apple vs. FBI Nobel Prize Nanny Audit Department of Labor Technology Joint-Employer Relationship Intellectual Property Fair Work Week Legislation Domain Name Negotiating entrepreneur Westchester Safe and Sick Time Laws $15 Minimum Wage NYC Sexual harrassment law Employee Salary Histories Unions New Address I-9 Verification Employment Offer/Agreement Federal Contractors Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures employment discrimination lawsuits


EDIT - blog-container - This controls the styles for the headings

EDIT - BlogTagCloud - Font style


  • EDIT  - post-body - Font style

EDIT - side-panel - This is the colour of the sidebar headings

Snap | BC Module - Blog - Blog Description

Snap | BC Module - Blog - Blog Title

EDIT - Snap | BC Module - Blog - Date - This is the date box style

EDIT - Snap | BC Module - Blog - Post Content - Font style

EDIT - Snap | BC Module - Blog - Post Title - Heading style

EDIT  - Snap | BC Module - Blog - Sidebar Content - Font style

EDIT - Snap | BC Module - Blog - Sidebar Title - Heading style

latest blog title snap text


Disclaimer: Nothing on this website is or should be construed as legal advice.
An attorney-client relationship does not exist with our firm unless a signed
retainer agreement is executed, and we do not offer legal advice through
this site or any of the content located on it. For legal advice for your
particular circumstances, please contact us directly.