Faculty Collective Bargaining Rights

Northwestern University and College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), Case No. 13-RC-121359

The AAUP filed an amicus brief with the National Labor Relations Board arguing that graduate assistants at private sector institutions should be considered employees with collective bargaining rights. In its amicus brief, the AAUP argued that the board should overrule the test of employee status applied in Brown to graduate assistants, but did not take a position as to whether the unionization of college football players was appropriate.

Pacific Lutheran University v. Service Employees International Union, Local 925, N.L.R.B. Case No.: 19-RC-102521

The AAUP submitted an amicus brief to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), urging the NLRB to consider the full context when determining whether faculty at private colleges are managerial. The brief describes the significant changes in university hierarchical and decision-making models since the US Supreme Court ruled in 1980 that faculty at Yeshiva University were managerial employees and thus ineligible to unionize. That ruling has seriously hampered the ability of private-college faculties to engage in collective bargaining.

New York University v. GSOC/UAW, N.L.R.B. Case No.: 02-RC-023481; Polytechnic Institute of New York University v. International Union, United Automobile Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), N.L.R.B. Case No.: 29-RC-012054.

In June 2012, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) invited briefs from interested parties on the question of whether graduate student assistants may be statutory employees within the meaning of Section 2(3) of the National Labor Relations Act. AAUP co-signed with the AFL-CIO, AFT, and NEA, on an amicus brief which was filed on July 23, 2012, and argues that the NLRB should overrule Brown University and return to its prior determination that graduate student assistants who “‘must perform work, controlled by the Employer, and in exchange for consideration’” are statutory employees, “‘notwithstanding that they are simultaneously enrolled as students.’”

Point Park University v. Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh/Communication Workers of America Local 38061, AFL-CIO, CLC, N.L.R.B. Case No.: 06-RC-012276 (Private Institute Faculty Organizing).

In May 2012, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) invited briefs from interested parties on the question of whether university faculty members seeking to be represented by a union are employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act or are excluded managers. The AAUP is of the position that faculty are not managers, and submitted an amicus brief urging the NLRB to develop a legal definition of employee status “in a manner that accurately reflects employment relationships in universities and colleges and that respects the rights of college and university employees to exercise their rights to organize and engage in collective bargaining."

Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Case No. 4-RC-20353 (Nov. 21, 2002)

The University of Pennsylvania administration contended that the unionization of graduate students who are employees violates institutional academic freedom.

Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, Case No. 2-RC-22358 (Feb. 11, 2002 ); Brown University, Case No. 1-RC-21368 (Nov. 16, 2001)

In these two cases, also known as the “teaching assistants” cases, Columbia University and Brown University administrations contended that unionization by graduate assistants violated the academic freedom of institutions.

Point Park Univ. v. NLRB, 457 F.3d 42 (D.C. Cir. 2006)

Point Park University challenged an election by faculty members to be represented by the Communications Workers of America. The university incorrectly claimed that full-time faculty members were managerial employees and therefore ineligible for union representation.