Northwestern University football players' request to form a union could take a while

Feb 7, 2014

A National Labor Relations Board hearing on a proposed union for Northwestern University football players is set for a week from Tuesday in Chicago. And the head of that proposed union says he thinks the process could outlast the players’ time in college.

Ramogi Huma, who played football for UCLA in the 1990s, heads the newly formed College Athletes Players Association. He says the upcoming hearing will provide testimony for the Labor Relations Board’s Regional Director to rule on, starting a lengthy process.

“The regional board will make a ruling. Whoever loses will appeal that to DC … and likely whoever loses that will probably appeal into the federal court system. So this can definitely take a while. You know, the players at Northwestern understand that. We told them, look, you might not be able to ever directly benefit from this. But this is for, you know, kind of the greater good, the generations that come after you. And they rose to the challenge.”

Huma says Northwestern players are NOT seeking to be paid. Instead, he says they want a union so they can negotiate better terms for scholarships and medical care.

Northwestern officials contend that the football players are NOT employees and cannot form a union, but that the concerns they raise deserve consideration.