Lawyers file arguments in favor of Northwestern student-athlete unions

SHARE Lawyers file arguments in favor of Northwestern student-athlete unions

Lawyers for Northwestern University student-athlete football players on Thursday evening filed their latest arguments in favor of allowing the players to vote to form a union.

The case, which started with the Chicago regional director’s ruling that the players could form a union, is now pending before the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.

The latest filing comes in response to arguments from backers of Northwestern University’s stance that the college football players shouldn’t be classified as employees, with the right to form a union. Those so-called “friends” of Northwestern, including six Republican congressmen, filed arguments on July 3 supporting the university’s contention that workplace principles have no application in an educational environment.

Here’s the players’ attorneys’ entire filing on Thursday, and here’s one of the key points:

Northwestern is part of a massive commercial enterprise, generating billions in revenue and priceless publicity for universities. Many non-players share in the fruits of the players’ labor, including coaches and administrators. Head coaches, like Northwestern’s Patrick Fitzgerald, often are the highest compensated employees of their universities, paid millions in salary and benefits. Self-serving statements of lofty purpose by Northwestern, other universities, the NCAA and interest groups that support them do not establish that a football business like Northwestern’s is or should be immune from collective bargaining under the Act. Northwestern University filed its response late Thursday, too, repeating its arguments that the football players’ primary roles on campus are as students, not workers.

Lawyers file arguments in favor of Northwestern student-athlete unions

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