Northwestern football players can unionize, NLRB rules

Northwestern football players can unionize, NLRB rules

Northwestern University football players are employees of the school and are therefore entitled to a union election, Peter Sung Ohr, the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board, said in a ruling released Wednesday afternoon.

Ohr’s decision is expected to be appealed to the NLRB in Washington. Labor experts say an election is unlikely to take place until the NLRB makes a decision. If Ohr’s decision is upheld, the case would likely make its way through federal appellate court and could reach the Supreme Court.

The decision is “revolutionary for college sports,” said Robert McCormick, a professor emeritus at Michigan State University College of Law who focuses on sports and labor law.

McCormick said Ohr’s decision could influence other state and federal agencies. For example, if college players demand compensation for injuries sustained during training or a game, Ohr’s opinion could come into play in the question of whether the players are employees under the state Workers’ Compensation Act.

Source: Chicago Tribune

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