Republicans Will Hold Hearing on College Athlete Unionization and "Big Labor"

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 1 2014 4:01 PM

House Republicans Announce Hearing on "Big Labor" and NCAA Athlete Unionization Movement

Rising-senior quarterback Kain Colter has been one of the leaders of Northwestern unionization efforts.

Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

Huffington Post labor reporter Dave Jamieson notes that the Republican-controlled House Committee on Education and the Workforce has scheduled a hearing a week from today called “Big Labor on College Campuses: Examining the Consequences of Unionizing Student Athletes." The precipitating event is the vote just held by Northwestern football players on whether to form a union. (The results of the vote will be sealed until the legal battle over the players' right to unionize is settled, which might take a while.)

The College Athletes Players Association, the nascent group that the Northwestern players voted on joining, is backed by United Steelworkers, which claims 1.2 million members and retired members. From CAPA's website:

In its continued support for college athletes’ rights, the United Steelworkers has agreed to provide CAPA with resources necessary to pursue this course of action by paying the legal team that will be representing CAPA before the National Labor Relations Board to prove that the National Labor Relations Act covers college athletes.

Committee chair John Kline of Minnesota called the National Labor Relations Board's preliminary decision to allow the unionization vote a "a radical departure from longstanding federal labor policies" in a press release announcing the May 8 hearing. The committee has not yet said who it will be calling to testify.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.


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