Government to review Northwestern bid to unionize

From left, former Northwestern University football quarterback Kain Colter, Ramogi Huma, founder and President of the National College Players Association and Tim Waters, Political Director of the United Steel Workers, arrive on Capitol Hill in Wednesday, April, 2, 2014. Members of a group seeking to unionize college athletes are looking for allies on Capitol Hill as they brace for an appeal of a ruling that said full scholarship athletes at Northwestern University are employees who have the right to form a union. Former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter _ the face of a movement to give college athletes the right to unionize _ and Ramogi Huma, the founder and president of the National College Players Association, scheduled meetings Wednesday with lawmakers. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
From left, former Northwestern University football quarterback Kain Colter, Ramogi Huma, founder and President of the National College Players Association and Tim Waters, Political Director of the United Steel Workers, arrive on Capitol Hill in Wednesday, April, 2, 2014. Members of a group seeking to unionize college athletes are looking for allies on Capitol Hill as they brace for an appeal of a ruling that said full scholarship athletes at Northwestern University are employees who have the right to form a union. Former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter _ the face of a movement to give college athletes the right to unionize _ and Ramogi Huma, the founder and president of the National College Players Association, scheduled meetings Wednesday with lawmakers. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The National Labor Relations Board has granted Northwestern University’s request that it review its ruling that football players at the university are essentially employees of the school with full collective bargaining rights.

It said a previously scheduled vote by Northwestern football players on whether to unionize could go forward Friday but ballots would be impounded for now.

The Chicago office of the National Labor Relations Board ruled on March 26 that Northwestern scholarship football players are essentially employees of the school – and thus have the right to form a union and exercise full collective bargaining rights. Northwestern is appealing the potentially far-reaching decision, insisting that its scholarship athletes are students first and don’t have collective bargaining rights.

The full five-member federal board is now weighing the appeal request.

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