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Alexander, Burr, Isakson to National Labor Relations Board: "Congress Never Intended for College Athletes to be Considered Employees"

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Republican members of the Senate, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), today announced that they filed an amicus brief on behalf of Northwestern University for the case now pending before the National Labor Relations Board regarding the unionization of college athletes (Northwestern University v. College Athletes Players Association).

"Congress never intended for college athletes to be considered employees under the National Labor Relations Act, and doing so is incompatible with the student-university relationship," the members argue in the brief. "The profound and inherent differences between the student-university and employee-employer relationship makes employee status unworkable both as a matter of law and in practice."

They make two key arguments in the amicus brief: 1) College athletes are not employees under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and 2) Treating college athletes as employees under the NLRA is unworkable.

The senators' committee has jurisdiction over institutions of higher education and the National Labor Relations Act, which was enacted by Congress in 1935 and allowed employees to organize and bargain collectively.

The senators werejoined by House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.), along with the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) in filing today's brief.

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