College Athletes not Granted Unionization by Labor Board

Due to the efforts of Northwestern University, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) denied the school’s football players the attempt to unionize in 5-0 vote, on August 17.

To understand the university purpose and importance for unionizing, the Northwestern’s campaign consisted of the exploitation of college athletes in both football and basketball. Known to be highly profitable sports, there was the issue that all players are obstructed from obtaining share of the profits made.

Student-athletes are held under the total control of coaches who provide the necessary resources including financial assistance, academic schedules and possible medical attention if needed.

With that said, it is arguable that “total employer control of wages and conditions are required for workers to be ‘employees’ under labor law, and thus legally able to unionize.”

However, there is the possibility for continued success, as the players’ union leader acknowledged that “the board dismissed the case for technical reasons, vowed to continue the fight.”

While the ruling disappointed the union organizers, the National Labor Relations Board does explain the reasoning and consideration behind their final resolution.

“This decision is narrowly focused to apply only to the players in this case and does not preclude reconsideration of this issue in the future.” The issue is on the radar of the NLRB and continues to stay alive.

Such possibility in letting university athletics organize “would not promote stability in labor relations,” NLRB noted. Stability is greatly known as an essential objective of the original 1935 National Labor Relations Act.

The College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) has the best interest of the Northwestern student-athletes in mind. President Ramogi Huma spoke upon the final decision by the NLRB.

“This is not a loss, but it is a loss of time,” expressed Huma, “It delays players securing the leverage they need to protect themselves from traumatic brain injury, sports-related medical expenses and other gaps in protections.”

Source: PAI