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NLRB Rules Grad Students Are Employees, Can Unionize

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has held that graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants are statutory employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRB's ruling, in a case filed by a group of Columbia University graduate students, clears the way for graduate assistants to unionize and collectively bargain for better working conditions.

Ninth Circuit Holds Class Action Waivers Violate NLRA: What Employers Should Do Now

In an important 2–1 decision, a divided panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently concluded class action waivers in arbitration agreements violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and therefore are unenforceable. This ruling adds to the growing circuit split on this critical issue, increases the likelihood that the Supreme Court of the United States will resolve the open question, and presents key strategic decisions for employers to make in the interim.

NLRB Rules that Student Assistants Can Unionize; Debate May Now Shift to Whether They Should

In a sweeping decision issued on August 23, 2016, the National Labor Relations Board reversed its 2004 holding in Brown University1 that graduate students are not employees under the National Labor Relations Act. The Board ruled that graduate and undergraduate student assistants at Columbia University are employees who have the right to unionize, including those assistants engaged in research funded by external grants. The broadly worded decision has far-reaching ramifications for private sector universities because of its apparently intended wide-spread applicability.

Student Assistants Win Right to Unionize at Private Colleges and Universities

Reversing longstanding precedent, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that students “who have a common-law employment relationship with their university are statutory employees under the [National Labor Relations] Act.” Columbia University, 364 NLRB No. 90 (Aug. 23, 2016).

NLRB Holds Student Assistants Who Have a Common-Law Employment Relationship With a Private University Are "Employees" Under The National Labor Relations Act

Executive Summary: In an August 23, 2016, decision, Trustees of Columbia University, 364 NLRB No. 90 (2016), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) overruled existing precedent and held that student assistants, who have a common-law employment relationship with a private university, are statutory employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and are entitled to its protections.

The NLRB Opens the Door to Union Organizing Among Teaching Assistants and Other Student Assistants at Private Colleges and Universities

In what will come as no surprise to even the most casual labor law observer, yesterday the National Labor Relations Board jettisoned established precedent and granted teaching assistants and other student assistants at private higher education institutions the right to organize.

NLRB Rules Student Employees Can Unionize

In a game-changing decision reversing clear legal precedent, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled by a 3-1 margin today that university students who work as teaching and research assistants at private universities are “statutory employees” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and can organize to form unions (Columbia University). The ruling applies to both graduate and undergraduate students who perform work, at the direction of the university, for which they are compensated. It will require private universities to immediately conform their practices to adjust to this new era of labor law.

NLRB Holds That Grad and Undergrad Teaching Assistants at Columbia University Are “Employees”

In a 3-1 decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held that “student assistants who perform work at the direction of their university for which they are compensated are statutory employees.” In The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York and Graduate Workers of Columbia–GWC, UAW, 364 NLRB No. 90, the NLRB also rejected the argument that imposition of collective bargaining on such students would improperly intrude into the educational process and expressly overruled Brown University, 342 NLRB 483 (2004). Chairman Pearce, Member Hirozawa, and Member McFerran comprised the majority, and Member Miscimarra wrote a strenuous dissent.

NLRB: Failure to Bargain Over Non-Compete Agreement Violated NLRA, But Confidentiality Provision Lawful (Surprise!)

A company’s requirement that new employees represented by a union sign a non-compete and confidentiality agreement (NCCA) as a condition of employment violated the National Labor Relations Act because the NCCA is a mandatory subject of bargaining that could not be unilaterally implemented, the NLRB has held. Minteq International, Inc., 364 NLRB No. 63 (July 29, 2016). However, contrary to its recent inclinations, the Board also found that an individual provisions of the NCCA – concerning confidential information – was lawful.

Mandatory Class Waivers Struck Down By 9th Circuit

Employers received their most bruising loss in the ongoing war involving class action waivers today, as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals became the second federal circuit to strike them down as illegal. When the 7th Circuit issued an opinion earlier this year and became the first appeals court to make such a ruling, employers could view the decision as an anomaly and take comfort in the fact that all other courts reaching a decision had upheld class waivers. But today’s decision changes the national legal landscape (Morris v. Ernst & Young).