From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
By Josh Eidelson (Bloomberg) and Lawrence E. Dubé (Bloomberg Law)
Columbia University will not engage in collective bargaining with graduate students who won a National Labor Relations Board unionization vote, and will instead ask a federal appeals court to take up the issue, the university announced in a letter to the campus community Jan. 30.
“Because of the principles at stake—principles essential to the University’s mission of training scholars—we have declined to bargain until the legal process has been allowed to run its course,” university Provost John Coatsworth said in the letter, which was shared by a spokeswoman.
United Auto Workers won a NLRB-supervised election at Columbia in December 2016 by a 1602-623 vote, following a precedent-setting ruling by the Labor Board that graduate students working as teaching and research assistants at the university are employees with the right to unionize. The Labor Board at the time had a Democratic majority.
“I’m outraged by Columbia’s refusal to bargain,” UAW regional director Julie Kushner told Bloomberg News. “There’s no question that they are breaking the law when they refuse to bargain, and they can try and put it in flowery language, but they’re ignoring the will of their graduate employees, and it’s wrong.”
The NLRB’s decision in the Columbia case overruled a 2004 ruling that Brown University didn’t have to recognize a union for its graduate students because their relationship with Brown was “primarily educational.”
In the Columbia case, the board ruled 3-1 that student assistants are employees under the National Labor Relations Act. The board’s certification of the UAW’s 2016 election win means the union has the right to bargain with the university about the graduate students’ wages, hours, and working conditions.
Labor Board election decisions like the one certifying the UAW are not generally appealable to the courts. However, an employer can obtain a court test of an election ruling by refusing to bargain with the certified union, and raising its objections to the union certification as its defense. The university’s Jan. 30 letter indicates Columbia is looking for such an opportunity to argue in court that the NLRB erred in finding that graduate students are employees with a right under federal law to unionize.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)