The First NLRB Reversal Makes the Next Ones All the Easier

From The Daily Caller, its DC Morning e-mail:

NYU gives the finger to NLRB — Six years after a conservative National Labor Relations Board absolved New York University of its obligation to allow graduate students to unionize, an Obama-heavy NLRB may reverse the ruling. In anticipation of incoming friendly muscle, the UAW golems have awoken from hibernation and convinced “more than half of the university’s 1,800 teaching and research assistants” to sign “authorization cards requesting a union,” reports Inside Higher Education. The move has NYU’s administration slightly befuddled: After its showdown with the UAW during the Bush years, the school realized it could do better by grad students, and raised pay and benefits. But as any 25-year-old semiotics grad student can tell you, “we have to choose between Sartreist absurdity and the postcapitalist paradigm of expression.” HAHA! Just kidding! Really, NYU grad students are just kinda clueless and poor and under the impression that “parasite” is an actual career track.

Coincidently — or not — the House Education and Labor Committee is holding a field hearing in Berkeley on Friday on a related topic, “Understanding Problems in First Contract Negotiations: Post-Doctoral Scholar Bargaining at the University of California.” Berkeley is not NYU, so different issues may rise to prominence at the hearing. As Inside Higher Ed explains:

The NLRB has authority over only private institutions, so the right of public university graduate students is governed by state laws, many of which permit collective bargaining. Many prominent public universities outside of the South have unionized graduate students.

Still, the Ed&Labor hearing features a witness from the UAW, which for whatever reasons represents not just autoworkers but graduate students. (Semis and semiotics?) It’s a reasonable inference that the hearing is intended to create the political foundation for the NLRB to reverse the 2004 Brown decision that blocked grad-student unions at private universities. NLRB Chairman Wilma Liebman recently gave a speech that anticipated board reconsideration of the issue.

And once the newly constituted NLRB makes one reversal, more will surely follow.

UPDATE (3:10 p.m.): Here’s the history of UAW Local 2865 and its representation of UC grad students. Autoworkers negotiating on behalf of UC System employees — good thing the state can afford all the demands.

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