Tufts University

Tufts University RAs Pushing to Unionize

The National Labor Relations Board will determine whether 122 undergraduate resident assistants at Tufts University can unionize after the school rejected voluntary recognition

NBC Universal, Inc.

Resident assistants at Tufts University are hoping to unionize, but after the school rejected voluntary recognition, the federal government will decide if they can.

The National Labor Relations Board will hold an election over the matter brought to them by 122 undergraduate RAs — more than 85% of the total number of undergraduate RAs.

"Tufts appreciates the dedication and hard work of community members, many of whom are union members, who contribute to the student experience at Tufts," spokesperson Patrick Collins said in a statement to NBC10 Boston. "We respect our community members' right to petition the National Labor Relations Board for recognition and to seek an election to decide for themselves whether unionization is in their best interests. We think it's fair that all have the opportunity to fully understand their rights and responsibilities in this process, and to cast a vote regardless of their position on the question. We will respect the outcome of an election held pursuant to and consistent with the Board's procedures for an appropriate bargaining unit of Tufts RAs."

Tufts undergraduate RAs are calling for a stipend and changes to training that takes place during breaks.

The RAs get housing for free, which would cost other students around $10,000.

RAs seeking unionization tell NBC10 Boston that housing is not enough to compensate for the scope of their jobs; for example, dealing with mental health crises, weekly reports, and getting woken up at all hours to assist students.

"Creating a union it gives us a voice for a group of students that often are low-income students of color and really vulnerable and need this job," undergrad RA Lee Romaker said.

As of late Wednesday, there was no indication when the National Labor Relations Board would have a response on unionization of the undergrad RAs at Tufts.

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