The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has settled on a process that allows it to proceed in considering an election petition involving undergraduate student workers at Kenyon while preserving students’ privacy rights — a critical concern for the College. The petition, filed on behalf of the Kenyon Student Worker Organizing Committee (K-SWOC), seeks an election to determine if all Kenyon student workers will be represented by the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) for the purpose of collective bargaining.
The petition is unprecedented and raises important legal questions that the NLRB has acknowledged will require a full hearing to consider. Kenyon has worked diligently and cooperatively with the NLRB and the UE to address the challenges that the federal education privacy statute, FERPA, presents in the context of NLRB proceedings.
To give the petition full consideration, the NLRB has issued a subpoena for information contained in the educational records of about 1,850 Kenyon student workers, some of whom have graduated. This includes the names of student workers and positions held when the petition was filed in October 2021 and when it was amended in January 2023, as well as documents detailing job qualifications, position requirements, training, evaluations of student workers’ performance, discipline issued to student workers, and communications between student workers and their work supervisors since August 2019. All of the information sought by the subpoena must be produced to both the NLRB and to the UE.
Should the NLRB decide to order an election, the names, home addresses, personal email addresses, and personal telephone numbers of eligible voters will be released to the UE and may be used in their union campaign efforts.
As is their right under FERPA, students may object to the release of their personal information by filing a written objection with the NLRB by Apr. 7, 2023 (see details below). Objecting does not affect a student’s eligibility to vote in an election.
Questions may be directed to Nora McGinley, assistant to the regional director, Region 8, National Labor Relations Board via email at Nora.McGinley@nlrb.gov or telephone at 216-303-7370.