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NU complains about unionization ruling

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Northwestern University officials are complaining about a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board that says teaching assistants at private universities are entitled to union representation.

The ruling came Tuesday in a case involving grad students at Columbia University in New York.

The board, reversing a 2004 decision, said that the grad students could be deemed employees if they perform and are compensated for work that the university oversees.

NU, in a statement issued by spokesman Alan Cubbage, said the school believes that unionization and collective bargaining are not the appropriate methods to address concerns raised by graduate student assistants.

Cubbage said the school increased graduate student stipends by 26 percent last year to $29,000 a year and provides five years of guaranteed funding for Ph.D. students.

The labor board last year rejected a bid by NU football players to form a union.

It's currently reviewing balloting by adjunct and non-tenure track faculty at the school who are seeking union representation.

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