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Graduate Students Working at Private Universities Can Unionize

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    AP
    File image of the Columbia University Library in New York.

    The National Labor Relations Board ruled on Tuesday that graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants at private universities are entitled to unionize.

    The Board said the decision reverses a 2004 ruling that concluded workers were not entitled to collective bargaining because they were students at the universities, according to Inside Higher Ed.

    The ruling came from a case involving a bid by the United Auto Workers to organize graduate students at Columbia University.

    "The board has the statutory authority to treat student assistants as statutory employees, where they perform work, at the direction of the university, for which they are compensated. Statutory coverage is permitted by virtue of an employment relationship; it is not foreclosed by the existence of some other, additional relationship that the [National Labor Relations] Act does not reach," says the decision.