Decision Paves the Way for Graduate Student Unionization
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On August 24, 2016, the National Labor Relation's Board (NLRB) ruled that graduate students who teach at private universities are employees with full rights to join unions. In a sweeping decision for Columbia University graduate students, the labor board's decision paves the way for student unionization on campuses nationwide. The same rule may very well apply to medical residents and fellows.
Graduate Students Earn Union Protections.In a 3-1 decision, the NLRB announced that a group of Columbia University students who sought to join a union deserved employee protections when they get paid for work completed by request from the school. Just like most medical residents and fellows, this is because they are employees.For private colleges and universities, this decision could raise salary costs and prove disruptive to administrators who are unaccustomed to collective bargaining with graduate students.
Not All Are Happy With the Decision.This decision could limit a school or program's ability to choose who teaches particular classes and when. It could also make the schools and programs subject to strikes by unionized graduate students. The new decision also applies to undergraduate students who take on teaching duties."In their broad-based decision, the NLRB swept aside decades of earlier history and basically said that any student who does either research or teaching in a private sector institution will be considered a school employee entitled to be represented by a union," said Joseph Ambash, a Boston lawyer who helped write a brief filed by several prestigious universities arguing against the decision. So the decision may also apply to medical school students in paid positions.
Students or Employees?The big question is whether graduate students are mostly students or employees, and whether the teaching and research they perform as an integral part of their education exempts them from employee status. Administrators from the university argued that while the majority of graduate students receive financial support from their schools, they aren't working in a trade for wages but are being educated to prepare for a career. Union groups however, say the students provide essential services for universities and should be considered employees if they act at least in the part.The Service Employees International Union said that because of the ruling, students at several universities plan to immediate steps to try to join the union. Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Health Care Professionals and Providers.At the Health Law Firm we provide legal services for all health care providers and professionals. This includes physicians, nurses, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counselors, Durable Medical Equipment suppliers, medical students and interns, hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, pain management clinics, nursing homes, and any other healthcare provider. We represent facilities, individuals, groups and institutions in contracts, sales, mergers and acquisitions.The lawyers of The Health Law Firm are experienced in both formal and informal administrative hearings and in representing physicians in investigations and at Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine hearings. We represent physicians accused of wrongdoing, in patient complaints and in Department of Health investigations.To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.ThehealthLawFirm.com.Source:Trottman, Melanie. "Graduate Students Win Fight to Unionize." The Wall Street Journal. (August 24, 2016). PrintAbout the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.KeyWords: federal labor board, graduate students win right to join union, The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), student unionization, graduate students mostly students or employees, reviews for The Health Law Firm attorneys, the Service Employees International Union, The Health Law Firm reviews, The Health Law FirmThe Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved
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