- Sometime this summer, the NLRB will rule if graduate students at private educational institutions nationwide can unionize after a petition from Columbia University students.
- According to the Wall Street Journal, if the NLRB sees things in favor of the grad students, there are "tens of thousands of young, educated potential members" that could become part of America's labor movement – making some brand name universities very unhappy.
- Schools including Harvard University, Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are cited by the Journal as among those that are trying to sway the board that grad students are not employees and therefore should be barred from unionizing.
Depending on the NLRB's decision, things could get very tricky – and expensive – for private schools. Private universities are concerned that allowing collective bargaining may ruin their ability to make teaching assignments due to union rules – not to mention the various other impacts of higher pay among grad students.
The schools affected see graduate students much as they do student-athletes, meaning such students earn an education with some tuition covered, healthcare coverage and stipends for living expenses. With the current NLRB stacked with Democrats, students and the union could potentially come out with a win in this case. For HR and college administrators, that means prepping for an extensive logistical challenge.