The unintended consequences to allowing graduate students to organize under the protection of the NLRA are bound to come home to roost, and sooner rather than later. Here are three examples that go beyond the obvious “benefit” of collective bargaining:

  • university honor codes and other university policies regulating the conduct of students are likely going to have to be tossed into the circular file
  • the elimination or substantial alteration to graduate student councils
  • the university’s academic relationship with the graduate students

Just consider that last one for a moment.  Supposed a grad student, while in the process of seeking to organize a union, receives a poor grade. Will the student claim retaliation, and will the NLRB find its docket filled with grade challenge cases?


Undeterred (or having not considered, or really caring about such consequences), the NLRB agreed 3 to 1 in favor of Columbia University grad assistants organizing.

And in continuing expansion (overreach) of its jurisdiction, the board has decided that charter schools also fall under the purview of the NLRA.