NLRB Opens Backdoor for NCAA Athlete Unionization

Butler Library at Columbia University

The National Labor Relations Board’s decision to allow graduate student unionization has inspired other universities to organize unions and could re-open the door to the unionization of NCAA athletes.

The Democratic board reversed precedent on Aug. 23 that prevented student teaching and research assistants from organizing unions and gave the go-ahead for graduate and undergraduate students at Columbia University to organize and collectively bargain through the United Auto Workers union. Less than a week later students at Yale University petitioned the board to join UNITE HERE—a hotel workers union that also represents Yale service employees.