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NLRB Reverses Decision and Turns Its Back on Workers
Federal agency charged with protecting workers is taking away their rights, says American Rights at Work

July 16, 2004

Kimberly Freeman
202-822-2127, ext. 111
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WASHINGTON, DC—Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reversed its 2000 decision and ruled that 450 graduate teaching and research assistants at Brown University in Providence, RI, cannot be represented by a union because they are students.  The precedent-setting decision denies graduate teaching assistants at private universities the right to form a union and negotiate the terms of their working conditions.

"It's a disgrace that the federal agency charged with protecting workers is now turning its back on them," says David Bonior, Chair of American Rights at Work, a new workers' rights advocacy organization.  Just last month, the Board decided to reconsider the long-used practice of forming a union through voluntary recognition. "This NLRB, controlled by Bush appointees, will go down in history for taking away the rights the agency is supposed to protect."

American Rights at Work strives to inform the public about this little known federal agency that makes critical decisions that affect workers' lives and freedoms. Through its monthly feature, "Workers' Rights Watch: Eye on the NLRB," American Rights at Work monitors and publicizes the insufficiency of the current labor law system to ensure employees the freedom to exercise their legal rights to organize.  The feature draws from the NLRB's own data, summaries and recent decisions.