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

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

Tufts is praising the decision, and the medical faculty are hoping to unionize are exploring whether they should appeal.

Meanwhile, full-time faculty at Boston University today voted 4-to-1 to form a union.