The general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board issued a memorandum on Wednesday arguing that some college athletes collectively warn bargaining workers, the NCAA and colleges not to infringe on their rights.
Jennifer Abruzzo, who was nominated by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the Senate in July, said she would sue schools, conferences or other organizations that try to tell players that they do not have the same rights as other private sector workers.
The NLRB’s general counsel acts as a kind of prosecutor, bringing charges against employers who engage in “unfair labor practices” in violation of workers’ rights. Private colleges and universities across the country have been given notice in this notice that they will not attempt to classify players as “student athletes” who are not covered by the law.
Although the memo does not directly address union selection, it does clarify Abruzzo’s position that some college players should have the qualifications to form a union, which Northwestern University tried to create in 2015 as a football player on a scholarship. His position could open the door to future private school players trying to come together.
If such a player submits a union election application to the NLRB, it may persuade the NLRB’s five-member board in Washington to review a previous decision in the Northwest case, which initially avoids the question of whether college players are employees under the law.
Abruzzo said in an interview on Wednesday that the board would probably have to weigh in on the position he was going to.
“If players at an academic institution feel they want to choose a union to represent them in discussions with their employer about wages or working conditions to improve their current employment conditions, they should apply. [union] Appeal, ”he said.
Abruzzo said he issued the memo because he wanted people to know the location of his office.
“I wanted to keep the players, but also the organization and the public, on notice,” he said. “I believe that the constitution should be widely interpreted so that as many people as possible can be protected in this country.”
In the memorandum, Abruzzo further argued that the school or the NCAA cannot legally prevent players from resolving Black Lives Matter or other social issues on the grounds that the players are trying to improve their working conditions. He said cheating them would be a violation of their rights.
He added that he would not use the term “student athlete” – a term mentioned in his memo – because he believed it was intended to promote the false notion that college athletes were not entitled workers.
“In my mind and among others, the term has been coined to stop joint activities. It’s a nomenclature right now that I hope people move away from,” he said. Including, may lead these players to believe in words or deeds that they are not actually covered by the constitution. “
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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