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House Committee Announces Hearing on Union Efforts to Unionize Student Athletes

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WASHINGTON, D.C. | May 1, 2014 – House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) today announced the committee will examine a recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that classifies certain student athletes as “employees” for the purposes of collective bargaining. The hearing, entitled “Big Labor on College Campuses: Examining the Consequences of Unionizing Student Athletes,” will take place on Thursday, May 8 at 10:00 a.m. in room 2175 Rayburn House Office Building.

“The NLRB’s decision represents a radical departure from longstanding federal labor policies,” said Chairman Kline. “Classifying student athletes as employees threatens to fundamentally alter college sports, as well as reduce education access and opportunity. The committee has a responsibility to thoroughly examine how the NLRB’s decision will affect students and their ability to receive a quality education.” 

BACKGROUND: On March 26, in Northwestern University, the NLRB Regional Director for Region 13 found “grant-in-aid scholarship players for [Northwestern University’s] football team who have not exhausted their play eligibility are ‘employees’ under [the National Labor Relations Act].” The Regional Director ordered a representational election to determine whether a majority of the scholarship athletes support the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), a new union formed with the support of and funding from the United Steelworkers. On April 25, the student athletes at Northwestern University voted in the representational election; however, the ballots have been impounded pending appeal to the full board.   

To learn more about the hearing, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.

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