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How NLRB Ruling Could Impact Student Graduate Workers At OSU

University Hall at Ohio State University
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The National Labor Relations Baord has ruled that graduate students at private universities can be recognized at employees.

The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that graduate students working as research and teaching assistants at private universities must be recognized as faculty with the right to form unions. The ruling does not affect grad students at public universities like Ohio State. 

David Bowers, a Ph.D. candidate at Ohio State and president of the Graduate Student Council, estimates that OSU has about 4,500 grad students who work as paid research, teacher and admin assistance. Bower says as a public university, the new ruling won't immediately affect them.

While graduate students working as paid assistants are not unionized or recognized as faculty, Bowers said they do receive benefits. Compensation for graduate students is overseen by a committee in the university senate that recently secured higher wages for some 1,500 grad students.

"This year the committee had recommended a fairly substantial increase in the minimum stipend for graduate associates and just before this fall it was announced that the administration had accepted that increase," he said.

OSU grad students in the past have tried to unionize student workers, but Bowers said he does not know of current effort to organize.