Game changer as USC athletes get OK to form unions

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Game changer as USC athletes get OK to form unions

Robert Besser
19 Dec 2022, 16:33 GMT+10

  • The Los Angeles regional head of the National Labor Relations Board expressed her support for players on athletic scholarships at the University of Southern California seeking recognition as employees
  • The Labor Relations Board’s director of the agency’s Region 31 office issued a finding of merit in an unfair labor practice charge brought by the student athletes
  • The 2021 memo by Abruzzo said that the Labor Relations Board’s 32 regions would support college players’ valid organizing efforts, meaning that athletes could unionize

LOS ANGELES, California: The Los Angeles regional head of the National Labor Relations Board, which enforces US labor laws, expressed her support for basketball and football players on athletic scholarships at the University of Southern California seeking recognition as employees and the right to unionize.

The Labor Relations Board’s director of the agency’s Region 31 office issued a finding of merit in an unfair labor practice charge brought by the student-athletes against USC, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the Pac-12 athletic conference.

The ruling is the first since Jennifer Abruzzo, the Labor Relations Board’s top lawyer, issued a legal opinion in September 2021 which stressed that college athletes should be classified as employees, and thus protected by the country’s labor law.

The 2021 memo by Abruzzo said that the Labor Relations Board’s 32 regions would support college players’ valid organizing efforts, meaning that athletes could unionize.

A separate case, filed by college athletes in Indianapolis against the NCAA and others, has been held in abeyance pending the outcome of the USC case.

In a statement, USC said it could contest the ruling, stressing the “matter remains at an initial stage”and that “no final ruling will be issued until there has been a full hearing based on all the relevant facts of law.”

“We look forward to presenting those facts, along with 75 years of favorable legal precedent,” the university added.

The NCAA has not respond to Reuter’s request for comment, while the National College Players Association, which brought the charges on behalf of 113 USC athletes, has also declined to comment.

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