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Email, Instagram Account Announce Plans to Form ResLife Student Workers Union

Boston College Residential Life Workers called for the establishment of a ResLife student workers union in an email sent to resident assistants (RAs) and graduate student assistants on Sunday night.

The email encouraged all ResLife student workers to organize and demand better compensation and working conditions.

“We have heard time and time again from RAs how clear it is that we are undervalued and treated unfairly in the face of a wealthy institution,” the email reads. “Essentially, by fighting to establish a union for ResLife student workers, we are asking for a voice in our jobs on campus.”

An Instagram account for the proposed union was also created on Sunday night, and the first post asked all ResLife student workers to fill out a Union Authorization card. To hold an election for a union, 30 percent of employees must complete a Union Authorization card.

“BC continues to disregard and undervalue the critical role that RAs fill around the clock at our university — it’s time for that to change,” the post reads. “We are fighting for fair compensation, workers protection, and a voice in our jobs on campus.”

RAs have begun efforts to unionize at other schools in the Boston area. At Tufts University, RAs announced plans to unionize in November of 2022, creating the United Labor of Tufts Resident Assistants. 

On Aug. 29—Tufts’ move-in day—the university’s RAs went on strike to demand a stipend. Last Tuesday, Tufts administrators agreed to provide RAs with a $600 semesterly scholarship as well as 80 meal swipes per semester.

This January, non-academic undergraduate student employees at Harvard University formed the Harvard Undergraduate Workers Union to demand an increase in pay, better hours, and improved communication from employers. 

On Oct. 7, Harvard’s undergraduate student employees will vote on whether the organization will seek official recognition from the National Labor Relations Board.

The RAs of Boston University also moved to unionize in February, arguing for better pay and more support when dealing with conflict between students.

According to the BC ResLife Union Instagram page, ResLife workers are hoping to take a similar path to Harvard and Tufts, with an election for a student union, followed by negotiation with the University.

This story is being updated. 

September 12, 2023