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Abstract

To the extent the world of higher education was following the National Labor Relations Board there was probably limited focus on the Board’s Specialty Healthcare case allowing for the so-called “micro-unit”. Board decisions as to the employee status of tenure track faculty or football players or graduate teaching or research assistants were likely to be of greater interest. Yet the recent holding in Columbia University that students providing instructional services were also employees subject to the Act’s coverage put the micro-unit in play on the college campus. Almost immediately after this decision petitions were filed at Yale seeking representation of graduate students on a department-by-department basis with as few as six employees in a proposed bargaining unit. This paper examines the legal context at the intersection of Columbia and Specialty Healthcare.

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