Northwestern football players’ efforts to unionize move forward
Northwestern University football players were backed by a bid from the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday in hopes to unionize.
“I find that all grant-in-aid scholarship players for the Employer’s football team who have not exhausted their playing eligibility are ’employees’ under” the National Labor Relations Act, Peter Sung Ohr, director of the board’s Chicago regional office, wrote in his ruling.
“The players spend 50 to 60 hours per week on their football duties during a one-month training camp prior to the start of the academic year and an additional 40 to 50 hours per week on those duties during the three- or four-month football season,” according to the NLRB ruling. “Not only is this more hours than many undisputed full-time employees work at their jobs, it is also many more hours than the players spend on their studies.”
He said walk-on players — those without scholarships — do not qualify as employees. While the topic is ongoing, head coach Tony Levine said there have not been discussions about the labor at UH.
“In our program, it has not been a topic to this point,” said Levine at his spring practice press conference.