ALBANY, N.Y., July 12, 2007 -- The National Labor Relations Board has granted more than 2000 employees of the State University of New York (SUNY) Research Foundation the right to collectively bargain, reversing a previous decision, Albany's Business Review reported Wednesday.
The NLRB said research project assistants (RPAs) and research support specialists are employees under the National Labor Relations Act and that the Communication Workers of America Local 1104, which represents about 5000 graduate student employees at SUNY, praised the decision. The NLRB was acting on a petition by the CWA.
The new ruling allows the NLRB to count ballots in unionization votes cast by the research foundation's employees dating back to March 2002 in Albany, April 2003 in Buffalo and March 2004 in Syracuse, it said.
A foundation spokesperson said the decision was unexpected. On June 29, the NLRB reviewed CWA’s petition to reverse the acting regional director’s decision that research foundation graduate students were students and not eligible to unionize, according to a statement provided by the foundation. "As an outcome of this review, the board, in a 2:1 vote, reversed the acting regional director’s previous ruling and found that the RPAs were employees and not students," it said. "The cases have been remanded to the regional office, and we are working with them to establish dates/locations in the next week or so to open the ballots."
The research foundation is a private, nonprofit educational corporation that administers externally funded contracts and grants for and on behalf of the State University of New York, according to its Web site. It also idenfities and protects intellectual capital, markets faculty inventions and creates partnerships to further research and commercialize SUNY discoveries, innovations and materials. Since it was established in 1951, the foundation has facilitated research, education and public service at 30 state-operated SUNY locations. These technology transfer services are provided via the foundation's central office in Albany, the University at Albany, Binghamton University, the University at Buffalo and Stony Brook University.
Among its industry affiliates are NanoTech Resources Inc., a private nonprofit corporation formed by the research foundation to work with the University at Albany in support of the Center of Excellence and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, and Brookhaven Science Associates LLC, which was established for the sole purpose of managing and operating Brookhaven National Laboratory and formed as a 50-50 partnership between Battelle Memorial Institute and the research foundation on behalf of SUNY-Stony Brook.
For more information, visit: www.rfsuny.org
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