Dartmouth Men’s Basketball Team Votes In Favor of Union Representation

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Dartmouth College campus in Hanover

HANOVER – Dartmouth College’s men’s basketball players voted 13-2 Tuesday in favor of union representation by SEIU Local 560.

“Today is a big day for our team. We stuck together all season and won this election,” said Dartmouth juniors Cade Haskins and Romeo Myrthil, in a statement. “It is self-evident that we as students can also be both campus workers and union members. Dartmouth seems to be stuck in the past. It’s time for the age of amateurism to end.”

Dartmouth College has already filed a request for review with the National Labor Relations Board, indicating there will be a legal battle ahead.

Dartmouth spokesman Jana Barnello said: “For decades, Dartmouth has been proud to build productive relationships with the five unions that are currently part of our campus community. We always negotiate in good faith and have deep respect for our 1,500 union colleagues, including the members of SEIU Local 560.

“In this isolated circumstance, however, the students on the men’s basketball team are not in any way employed by Dartmouth. For Ivy League students who are varsity athletes, academics are of primary importance, and athletic pursuit is part of the educational experience. Classifying these students as employees simply because they play basketball is as unprecedented as it is inaccurate. We, therefore, do not believe unionization is appropriate,” Barnello said.

On Twitter, now called X, SEIU Local 560 said, “HISTORY MADE –  Dartmouth Men’s Basketball team overwhelmingly votes to join Local 560- sending a strong message to all college athletes that a better model is possible.”

ESPN reported that this marks “the first time any group of college athletes has taken a public action as employees of their school and potentially setting a precedent that could significantly alter the business of college sports.”

Last month, the National Labor Relations Board Region 1 director ruled that the men’s varsity basketball team players at Dartmouth are employees and ordered the union election be held to vote on representation by SEIU Local 560.

Regional Director Laura A. Sacks concluded, “Because Dartmouth has the right to control the work performed by the Dartmouth men’s basketball team, and the players perform that work in exchange for compensation, I find that the petitioned-for basketball players are employees within the meaning of the [National Labor Relations] Act.”

Haskins and Myrthil called on the “Dartmouth Board of Trustees and President Beilock to live the truth of her own words and cultivate ‘brave spaces’ in which ‘changing one’s mind based on new evidence is a good thing.’ Let’s work together to create a less exploitative business model for college sports.”

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