News & Commentary

December 18, 2023

Morgan Sperry

Morgan Sperry is a student at Harvard Law School and also serves as OnLabor's Social Media Director.

In today’s news and commentary, the Biden Administration prepares to defend a rule that extends organizing rights to farmworkers on temporary visas, and a majority of college athletes want to unionize.

The Biden Administration is gearing up for litigation over Department of Labor regulations that intend to expand organizing protections for farmworkers on temporary visas. Having been (and remaining) excluded from the NLRA, farmworkers lack the organizing protections that other employees enjoy. The Department of Labor’s proposed rule would add new protections for worker self-advocacy, better protect workers against retaliation, make foreign labor recruitment more transparent, and enhance the department’s enforcement. The Chamber of Commerce and allied critics have submitted public comments—available on—questioning whether certain components of the proposed rule are permissible under existing court precedent. 

A new poll indicates that a majority of college athletes want to unionize. While the NCAA dropped its prohibition on permitting college athletes to profit off of their names and likenesses in 2021, the National Labor Relations Board has not weighed in on the issue of whether athletes can form labor unions since 2015, when it declined to assert jurisdiction to answer the question of whether Northwestern University football players who received grant-in-aid scholarships were employees within the meaning of the NLRA. Earlier this year, the Dartmouth men’s basketball team petitioned the NLRB for a union election, giving the Board another opportunity to decide the question. Meanwhile, athletes in the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC-12, and SEC all support unionizing.

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