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  • Madison Lazenby

Breaking: Following Successful Admissions Unionization, RA's & DMC Workers File with NLRB

On November 10, 2021, it was announced via Instagram, Twitter, and press release to the Monitor that Residential Advisors (RA’s) and Days-Massolo Center (DMC) workers have filed to unionize. The two groups represent 84 total student workers. This development closely follows the historic vote of student admissions workers to unionize on October 12 in a 25-20 decision. If successful, RA’s and DMC workers will join student admission workers in unionizing under the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) District Union Local One.

Hamilton College has yet to release any statements on the most recent filing, but some members of Administration appeared to be frustrated by the results in the previous union election. As reported in the Spectator, Monica Inzer, the Vice President for Enrollment Management, is quoted as saying, “I don’t think a union is the right thing for our students…I trusted [students] to use common sense, but I think the emotion of it got to them and this was an emotional vote…students will vote with emotion instead of rational thinking.”

Before the student admissions workers voted, the college also posted an FAQ on the process and potential outcomes of unionizing, stating, “The College wants these student workers to have all the facts, to think through the issues carefully, and to make a well-informed individual choice.” In the FAQ, the college stated that there is “no guarantee of a wage increase, and there is no guarantee that the final contract would be better than what the student workers had before the union.”

In a statement released on the day of the unionization results, the college wrote, “Hamilton supports the right of workers to choose what they believe is best for them. We recognize that there were strong opinions on both sides of this issue, and we encourage everyone to work together as we move forward.” The statement ended with an additional hyperlink to the aforementioned FAQ.

In the release from UFCW, Libby Militello ‘22, an organizer for the current and previous unionization campaign, is quoted as saying, “Resident Advisors (RAS) and Days-Massolo Center (DMC) Ambassadors fill vitally important roles for the college… They know they deserve better respect and working conditions. That's what they're fighting for.”

The press release did not list any specific desires to be met in unionizing, but a few concerns were listed. These include how “Hamilton RAs receive some of the lowest compensation when compared to other liberal arts colleges in the Northeast.” The release also cites how after the gathering and drafted proposals of the Advisory Council—meant to analyze how Hamilton can “stand in greater solidarity with Black and other historically marginalized community members”—there was an increase in the number of students hired at the DMC while the “the hourly wage stayed at the minimum wage level.”

There is no date for the two elections with the National Labor Relations Board as of yet.

Via Instagram, the union campaign organizers stated, “It’s time that we stand up for ourselves and create better working conditions.”

Update: Spelling errors were fixed. "Sites" was changed to "cites." "Milltello" was changed to "Militello."


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