The world of organized labor continues to collide with all aspects of academia. We've recently covered the graduate student assistants seeking union representation. The Board granted review on two cases involving this issue in June. Perhaps seeing a shifting tide, the state of California approved a measure last week which would provide graduate student research assistants at public universities with collective bargaining rights. The full bill can be found here. It is anticipated that this bill could affect more than 14,000 graduate student researchers and result in approximately $7 million in costs to the state universities.
We also recently covered the adjunct-faculty at Duquesne University seeking representation by the United Steelworkers. The Board was hesitant to get deeply involved in that issue given the jurisdictional issues and the Catholic school's exemption from the Act. However, just down the street at Park Point University, the Board was much more willing to get involved in whether the professors could join a union. In fact, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the NLRB has solicited amicus briefs on the issue.
The Post-Gazette article reports that the university's professors organized after discord with the new employee handbook. In response, the Board ordered the university to bargain with the union however the university refused and took the fight to federal court. Ultimately landing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the federal appellate court ordered the NLRB to provide an explanation for allowing the faculty to organize.