The State Employees Association of North Carolina voted Friday to allow student-athletes at the state's public universities to join the union.
The ruling is in its "infancy," according to one member of SEANC's board of governors, which means most of the details haven't been worked out. For instance, it's not clear if an athlete has to receive a scholarship from the school to be considered a public employee and allowed to join or if it's also open to walk-ons. What is clear, apparently, is that it will cost the athlete $9 a month to join.
Additionally, as the AP points out, public employee unions are considerably weaker in North Carolina, which does not allow collective bargaining, than they are in other states. So it's not really clear what SEANC would or could do for athletes who decided to join.
The move comes after the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Northwestern's scholarship (not walk-on) athletes are considered employees and therefore allowed to unionize -- a move that both the NCAA and Northwestern oppose but which seems to be gaining steam. If nothing else, SEANC's decision is significant in its symbolism.