NLRB Reversal Threatens Local 33


Publish Date:
December 20, 2017
  • Cui, JingYi,
  • Fuchs, Hailey
Yale Daily News
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A recent National Labor Relations Board decision has grim implications for Local 33, Yale’s graduate student union.

The labor board has wasted no time reversing Obama-era rulings to loosen regulations on employers since it turned over to a Republican majority in September. And in one of three reversals last week, the NLRB voted along party lines to make it harder for employees to organize in so-called “micro units” within a larger group of employees. The NLRB is currently considering an appeal by Yale to block graduate students from unionizing in eight academic departments. And now, the labor board has rolled back its 2011 Specialty Healthcare decision, a controversial ruling that formed the legal basis for Local 33’s departmental elections.

“The implications of the board’s reversal are substantial,” former NLRB Chairman William B. Gould told the News. “I would think that the implications are that the board will reverse the departmental findings if they get to that. [But] it’s possible that there could be departmental units even independent of Specialty Healthcare, depending on a number of factors in determining what’s an appropriate unit.”

According to Gould, the NLRB rolled back Specialty Healthcare at high speed, without allowing time for public input, amicus briefs and oral arguments, as it often does before making important decisions. He expressed concern that the NLRB rushed to overrule the Obama-era decision before the conservatives lose their majority this month with the expiration of Board Chairman Philip Miscimarra’s term.

But the “more fundamental issue” for Yale and Local 33 is whether the NLRB will reverse the Columbia decision, as well, Gould emphasized.

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