Almanac Between Issues July 23, 2004

On July 21, 2004, the Regional Director of the NLRB issued a notice to the parties in the Penn case requiring them to show cause by August 9, 2004 as to why the petition in the Penn case should or should not be dismissed. President Amy Gutmann sent the following message to the Penn Trustees on Friday, July 16, and wants to share her memo about the graduate student organizing decision with the community.

Graduate Student Organizing Decision

I am delighted to report that the NLRB has rendered its decision in our graduate student organizing case. The Board today issued an order sending our case back to the Regional Director for proceedings consistent with the decision released yesterday in the Brown graduate student organizing case, which was the lead case. In Brown, the Board ruled, in a 3-2 decision, that graduate students are students and not employees under the National Labor Relations Act. It specifically reverses NYU, holding:

“We reconsider NYU and conclude that the 25-year precedent was correct, and that NYU was wrongly decided and should be overruled.”

In addition, the decision explains that:
“The imposition of collective bargaining on graduate students would improperly intrude into the educational process and would be inconsistent with the purposes and policies of the Act.”

The decision concludes:
“We declare the federal law to be that graduate student assistants are not employees within the meaning of [the National Labor Relations Act].”

In short, the decision makes clear, as we have long maintained, that graduate teaching and research are integral to graduate education. Since the ruling is not based on the facts specific to Brown education, we fully expect that the Regional Director will dismiss the GET UP petition.

We are pleased that this ruling is behind us so that we can move forward with our commitment to strengthening graduate education at Penn. We are eager to work with our faculty and graduate student groups to ensure that we are providing the best possible educational experience for all of our graduate students in all of our graduate and professional programs.



Posted 7/23/04

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