Duke challenges graduate students seeking to unionize
Duke University plans to challenge whether its graduate students can be considered employees with the right to form a union.
When students tried to unionize in 2016, the university made a similar, unsuccessful challenge to the National Labor Relations Board. That was shortly after the Board ruled on the status of graduate students at Columbia University, spurring a wave of new student unions at private universities across the country.
But, Duke students failed to win the union election that year. Facing another election petition, Duke has confirmed it plans to challenge the board's decision again.
"Duke is choosing the nuclear option," Anita Simh, co-chair of the Duke Graduate Student Union. "When 45,000 graduate student workers across the country are, are organizing at this moment, Duke is trying to assert that we don't have the right to do that. And by extension, neither do any of them."
Labor law experts say the move will likely delay graduate students' efforts to unionize at Duke.