ACE, Higher Education Associations Support NLRB Reversal of Decision That Defines Student Workers as Employees
January 21, 2020

ACE and five other higher education associations submitted comments Jan. 15 to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) expressing support for a proposed federal rule that would define undergraduate and graduate student workers as nonemployees under the National Labor Relations Act.

In announcing the rule in September, the board said it sees the relationship students have with their universities as “predominantly educational rather than economic." This also is the longstanding position of the higher education community on this complex, controversial issue.

The rule would reverse the board's 2016 decision in the case of graduate student workers at Columbia University. Before the 2016 decision, the board had decided on the employee status of graduate student workers twice before, once in 2000 and once in 2004. 

It is not clear when a final rule will be released—NLRB must first review more than 13,000 comments.