AHA Comments on Proposed NLRB Rule Change (October 2019)

The National Labor Relations Board is considering a rule change that would diminish the right of graduate students at private universities to organize unions. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, "rather than looking at the facts in any case before it, the National Labor Relations Board is aiming to create an overarching rule that would exclude teaching and research assistants from being covered by the 1935 National Labor Relations Act." The American Historical Association opposes the proposed rule change.


The American Historical Association opposes the proposed rule change. Our association supports the right of all historians, including graduate students, to organize and join unions or other collective bargaining units and engage in collective bargaining if they choose to do so. We affirm the democratic right of employees to decide whether to organize and how to negotiate their salaries and working conditions. As historians, we are especially aware that the spirit of the 1935 National Labor Relations Act had, at its center, the imperative of guaranteeing to all employees the right to collective bargaining and union representation. We believe that the current ruling, which affirms the right of graduate students at private universities to unionize, should remain in place.