CHICAGO - As union member numbers decline, unions are breaking ground in new open fields to boost membership. Northwestern University football players may be the next productive spot to find union members, because they're are entitled to be unionized, a regional director for the National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday.
NLRB Director Peter Sung Ohr ruled that football players are employees of the university, qualifying them to join a union.
Northwestern University is expected to appeal the decision to the NLRB, and the case could eventually find its way before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Alan Cubbage, Vice President for University Relations at Northwestern, said in a statement they were disappointed in the decision.
"While we respect the NLRB process and the regional director's opinion, we disagree with it," the university said. "Northwestern believes strongly that our student-athletes are not employees, but students. Unionization and collective bargaining are not the appropriate methods to address the concerns raised by student-athletes."