William & Mary Business Law Review
Graduate Student Employees or Employee Graduate Students? The National Labor Relations Board and the Unionization of Graduate Student Workers in Postsecondary Education
This Note concerns the ongoing debate over the unionization of graduate student employees at private universities. An issue that the National Labor Relations Board (the Board) has historically been inconsistent on, graduate student unionization remains a contentious topic as university administrators continue to try to oppose student unionization efforts while graduate student employees seek to assert their collective bargaining rights under the National Labor Relations Act (the NLRA or the Act).
This Note will propose two considerations that the Board should take into account concerning issues of graduate student employee unionization: the appropriate bargaining unit and bargainable issues in academia. By considering these two facets of the collective bargaining process and setting out guidelines, this Note argues, the Board can uphold the right of graduate student employees to unionize while also balancing the interests of university administrators.