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University of Missouri appeals graduate worker ruling

Appeals court issued decision last month

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Lawyers representing the University of Missouri are asking a Missouri appeals court to rehear a case over the employment status of graduate workers or for the state Supreme Court to take up the case.

The university filed a motion asking for the rehearing or transfer Wednesday after the Western District  Court of Appeals ruled last month that graduate workers are employees under legal definitions and entitled to collective bargaining rights.

The case was filed in 2016 in Boone County by the Coalition of Graduate Workers, an organization formed to lobby for graduate student workers and represent them in collective bargaining. The university refused to recognize the union as a bargaining representative after a vote of graduate students held in April 2016, prompting the suit.

In its ruling last month the appeals court sent the question over the legality of that election back to Boone County court for further litigation.

In its request, the University of Missouri said the appeals court erred in ruling graduate students were employees, arguing that the academic nature of the job differentiates them from other types of workers. University lawyers also requested the Missouri Supreme Court hear the case over how the union election was conducted and whether it met legal requirements.

It was not clear Thursday when the Missouri Supreme Court would decide whether to take the case.

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