Decision means GW resident advisors will vote on whether they should organize as members of Service Employees International Union.
An acting regional director of the National Labor Relations Board decided on Friday that undergraduate resident advisors at the George Washington University are employees of the university and can hold an election to determine whether they should be represented by Local 500 of the Service Employees International Union.
The NLRB decision came about five months after it held a hearing with testimony from union officials, resident advisors—or RAs—and the university administration on SEIU Local 500’s petition to organize and represent undergraduate RAs at GW.
“While the university will continue to cooperate with the NLRB in this process,” the university said in a statement, “the university continues to believe that the NLRB’s union election process should not be applied to students in our residential life program, which is an integral part of the educational experience of our undergraduate students.
“We will continue to share our views with resident advisors as this process moves forward.”
Resident advisors are appointed for one academic year and must be enrolled full time in a GW degree-granting undergraduate program in which they maintain good academic standing. They receive free university housing and a yearly stipend of $2,500 in return for their participation.
GW has 110 current resident advisors.
After the decision was released, the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International released a statement saying it was disappointed by the ruling “as it undermines RA’s primary purpose of serving as a student leader.”
“This leadership role is among the most prestigious on our campuses and we deem paramount to any employment status,” according to the association’s statement. “In addition, the connections that RAs make to fellow students--in their residence halls, or in classes or student organizations together--makes a very difficult translation to ‘working conditions’ that will need to be negotiated in any labor agreement.
“This devalues the student communities that we are striving to foster on our campuses.”