House Democrats to NLRB: Protect Graduate Students’ Right to Organize

WASHINGTON – Today, led by Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), 35 House Democrats sent a letter to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) condemning the agency’s proposed rule to strip students at private universities of their protections under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when they work for their school. The NLRB has denied the affected workers an opportunity to comment on this rule in a public hearing.

In their letter to the NLRB, Members raised concerns that the proposed rule violates the NLRA by denying student workers the right to organize. The Members also noted that the proposed rule directly contradicts congressional intent and fails to uphold the United States’ commitment to protect workers’ right to form a union.

“Congress has rejected legislation to deny student workers the right to collectively bargain when they have an employment relationship with their university, and the NLRB should not legislate an interpretation of law that Congress has explicitly discarded,” the Members wrote. “The NLRB must recognize the dignity of this work by protecting student workers’ rights under the NLRA and abandoning the proposed rule.”

In 2016, the NLRB under President Obama issued a decision in Columbia University that recognized student workers as statutory employees under the NLRA.

“We request that the NLRB withdraw the proposed rule and preserve the standard set forth in Columbia University,”the Members wrote.

Read the full text of the letter to the NLRB here.


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