A rule proposed Friday by the NLRB could deal a significant setback to graduate school student unions. More specifically, the proposal, linked above, states graduate students at private universities “who perform services at a private college or university in connection with their studies” are not considered employees. What makes this proposal a bit surprising is its broad brush approach. Historically, the NLRB has only passed rulings on individual cases.
We have been anxiously looking forward to this proposal since May. if you have anything you would like included in the public comments on this proposal, you will have 60 days from Monday to submit it. In the end, we expect the NLRB to rule graduate students at private universities are not considered employees. We also expect the overwhelming majority of private universities who have not yet entered into labor discussions with their graduate school students to continue to continue to refuse to do so.