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June 6, 2018

SLEU Wins in NLRB Case with University

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled against all remaining objections to a unionization vote by the University’s student library workers on May 21.

The Student Library Employees Union (SLEU) won a June 2017 election to represent undergraduate and graduate students working in the libraries, but the University immediately challenged the vote. In filings, the University claimed both that the workers lacked standing to unionize and that SLEU members tainted the election by engaging in electioneering.

The NLRB previously ruled in favor of the workers’ right to unionize in January, but ordered a hearing on the charges of electioneering. Previously, the electioneering charges had been rejected by an NLRB regional director without the review of any evidence. The hearing concluded with the rejection of the charges, leading to another University appeal.

With its May ruling, the NLRB closed the case and ruled against all remaining objections. Republican-appointed members William Emanuel and Marvin Kaplan signaled their willingness to reconsider unionization for student assistants if it came up in another case, but ruled that for the purpose of UChicago’s case, the issue has already been resolved.

The University did not state whether it would begin bargaining with SLEU. In a statement, spokesperson Jeremy Manier said the University is “reviewing its options.”

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