The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) [official website] determined 3-1 [case materials] Tuesday that student assistants working at private colleges are statutory employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act. The case was filed by graduate students at Columbia University representing graduate and undergraduate student assistants. The majority opinion reversed the holding in Brown University. The majority found no reason to exclude student assistants from protection due to the fact that the Act is free of language prohibiting this coverage.
In 2015, the National Labor Relations Board declined to assert jurisdiction [JURIST report] over whether Northwestern University [official website] football players can form a union, overturning its 2014 decision [opinion, PDF] which recognized the players as university employees [JURIST report]. The Board held that asserting jurisdiction “would not promote labor stability due to the nature and structure of NCAA Division I Football Subdivisions.” The Board noted that Northwestern University is a state-run institution and that, by statute, the Board has no jurisdiction over state-run schools.