WASHINGTON (AP) — Northwestern University and a group trying to unionize college athletes are trading accusations as the National Labor Relations Board considers the school’s appeal of a federal ruling that scholarship athletes essentially are employees of the university and therefore have the right to unionize, bargain collectively and even strike.
The College Athletes Players Association, which wants to be recognized as a full-fledged union, filed a brief Tuesday urging the board to reject the university’s appeal.
“Northwestern’s entire position in this case is a castle built on sand,” the group said.
The Illinois school fired back Wednesday by insisting the pro-union ruling by an NLRB regional director was flawed and the appeal should go ahead. Northwestern stood by its position that its scholarship athletes primarily are students, not employees, despite the amount of scholarship money they may be receiving.
Last month’s decision by the board’s Chicago office “was flawed because it overlooked or ignored key evidence that Northwestern presented showing that its student-athletes are primarily students, not employees,” a university spokesman said.