Student workers in Boston and across the nation have identified vulnerabilities in the workplace for those currently employed on college and university campuses. Students have sought to bargain collectively and form unions in order to offer basic labor protections to all student employees.
The National Labor Relations Board has promulgated a rulemaking which would reclassify student workers and strip employees of the right to bargain collectively in the workplace. This week, the Council adopted a resolution opposing that rule.
Student workers provide critical labor to the operation of private institutions of higher education, from teaching and grading papers, to conducting scientific inquiries essential to securing research patents. The academic, administrative, research and other work performed by student employees would otherwise require the hiring of additional faculty and staff.
Student workers may be employed with long hours, low pay, inadequate healthcare coverage, extreme workloads, and assigned to shifts without sufficient notice or predictable schedules. Current procedures on many campuses do not adequately address the needs of student workers seeking arbitration or recourse for incidents of discrimination or harassment.
The City of Boston is engaged in numerous initiatives to secure dignity in the workplace, reduce economic disparities and advance gender equity.The rulemaking in question runs counter to these efforts.