Northwestern Players Win First Step Towards Unionization

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iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — The National Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled on Wednesday that Northwestern football players qualify as employees of the school and can unionize. The university says they will appeal the decision to the full NLRB in Washington, D.C.

In siding with the athletes, Peter Sung Ohr, the regional director of the NLRB, said the amount of time the players dedicate to their sport, and the fact that their scholarships are tied directly to how they perform, are reasons for giving them union rights.

Former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter along with the College Athletes Players Association and the United Steelworkers union brought the case to the NLRB. Ohr says the players can hold a vote on whether they want to be represented by the CAPA.

The federal labor agency does not have jurisdiction over public universities.

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