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National Labor Relations Board hearing begins for proposed Berea College labor union

Tyler Rocquemore ’22

The National Labor Relations Board began hearing testimony from Berea College students hoping to form a labor union on campus Tuesday.

The Board hearing was originally scheduled for March 27 before two postponements pushed it to May.

Berea College says the main reason for the delay was to allow time for the school to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and has since sent legal notices to students. Student information could be shared as part of the hearing’s proceedings.

The United Student Workers of Berea announced their plans to organize under the Communications Workers of America banner in March. The school requested an indefinite postponement days after the group’s original filing.

Supporters say a union is the best chance to negotiate with the college on issues like better workplace safety, higher wages and a formal grievance system. Those opposed say a union is incompatible with Berea’s “work college” model, and that students can’t be recognized as workers.

Students will be able to take a union vote depending on the hearing’s outcome.

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Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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