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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Labor board issues second ruling allowing student employees to unionize

The National Labor Relations Board issued a second decision this week clearing the way for undergraduate student workers at private universities to form unions.

The latest ruling follows the board’s April decision that allowed resident advisers to unionize in a case brought by GW RAs.

This week’s decision focused on student library employees at the University of Chicago, who filed to collectively bargain May 7. Officials at the university claimed that the workers were exempt from unionization because their employment was primarily educational.

GW officials used similar arguments when they appealed RAs’ case to the NLRB last December, roughly two weeks after the students first filed a petition to organize.

The NLRB shot down that argument in its April decision, about four months after the initial hearing.

Peter Sung Ohr, the director of the NLRB’s regional Chicago office, also dismissed those arguments in his decision in the University of Chicago case, writing that the university’s proof was “insufficient.”

University of Chicago library workers could be the first group of undergraduate employees at a private university to unionize if employees vote to join a union in an upcoming election. GW RAs could have become the first such group, but the local union set to represent RAs unexpectedly withdrew its petition the day before the election.

GW organizers must now wait at least six months before filing another petition.

Unionization elections for the University of Chicago library workers will be held on June 2 and again between June 5 and 8, according to the NLRB decision.

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