Northwestern Athletes Gain Employee Status And Can Bargain As A Union

An Administrative Law Judge with the National Labor Relations Board has held that football players at Northwestern University fall within the definition of “employees” under the NLRB Act. The ruling also held that they can be represented by the College Athlete Players Association (i.e. a union) and bargain for working conditions (i.e. hours, health benefits, and compensation, etc.). The ALJ found that the players were working far more hours at sports than academics, dominated by non-faculty, and have scholarships only if they participated in the sport. In the Judge’s view, that leads to the conclusion that the relationship was more economic than educational. The life lessons associated with teamwork and perseverance were incidental. The decision is likely to be appealed to the NLRB Board. For discussion of the implications of this ruling, see the Forbes article by Professor Groves at http://onforb.es/1eRfZsF,  and one of his TV station interviews: http://stationcaster.com/stations/wgfx/media/mp3/Roger_Groves_with_WUZ-1395923422.mp3