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April 06, 2016

Full-time professors filed papers with the National Labor Relations Board in December 2015, arguing that they should be allowed to unionize. (Courtesy of Tufts University School of Medicine)

The National Labor Relations Board has rejected a bid by Tufts Medical School professors to unionize.

Full-time medical faculty at Tufts had taken the first steps to join the Service Employees International Union, a leader in the movement to unionize part-time professors across the country.

The professors filed papers with the National Labor Relations Board in December, 2015, arguing that they should be allowed to unionize, and be more involved in the school's strategic planning.

On Tuesday, the national Labor Board denied that bid. Citing long-standing precedent, it said medical faculty - with labs and staff who report directly to them - are managers and therefore ineligible to form a union.

Tufts Medical School is praising the decision. The professors hoping to unionize are exploring whether they should appeal.

Meanwhile, full-time faculty at Boston University on Wednesday voted 4-1 to form a union. The SEIU says Tuesday's decision should not affect that union effort. 

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