Northwestern University's Football Team Is Scheduled To Vote On Union Representation


At the end of March, in a landmark decision, the Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Chicago held that Northwestern University’s scholarship football players are “employees” who can vote to be represented by a union under the National Labor Relations Act. The Regional Director cited numerous factors in support of his conclusion that the scholarship players are “employees” as defined by the National Labor Relations Act in his decision, which provides a fascinating look into college athletics. The decision raises numerous questions, including: whether the NLRB and courts will uphold the decision; if the decision stands, whether private universities will be required to extend any new benefits (such as health insurance and wages) given to the football team to other varsity teams that do not generate revenues; whether state labor relations boards will follow the decision and allow student-athletes at public universities to form unions; and whether student-athletes could possibly claim to be employees under other labor and employment laws. Northwestern has already filed a brief asking the NLRB to review the Regional Director’s decision, and the union filed its response late last week. Currently, Northwestern University’s scholarship football players are scheduled to cast votes on whether to be represented by the union this Friday. The NLRB has not announced its decision as to whether it will review the Regional Director’s decision and whether the election will proceed as scheduled.

Topics:  Athletes, Employee Definition, NLRB, Northwestern University, Union Membership

Published In: Art, Entertainment & Sports Updates, Education Updates, Labor & Employment Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Laner Muchin, Ltd. | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »