Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 12

JUST IN

RAs Granted the Right to Unionize
Resident assistants at George Washington University on May 3 cancelled
a scheduled vote on whether or not
to unionize. This decision came 11
days after a National Labor Relations
Board (NLRB) regional director ruled
that the RAs should be considered
employees of the university and,
indeed, did have the right to form a
union. Despite the cancellation, the
NLRB decision, which drew heavily
from another case involving graduate
students at Columbia University, potentially will have a lasting impact on
how student employees are managed.
In a news story that ran in
the GWU student newspaper on
December 5, 2016, RAs shared that
one reason they were seeking to
unionize was to cut down on the
ambiguity in their contract. They
wanted clarification on items such
as how the university defines being a
good role model and what events are
considered mandatory for them to
attend. The story also explained that
the Service Employees International
Union 500 had filed a claim with the
NLRB on their behalf; in response
to the filing, GWU Vice Provost and
Dean of Students Peter A. Konwerski
sent a letter to the RAs stating, "the
university does not believe that it
makes sense to apply a federally
regulated system of collective
bargaining to students who are
participating for a period of time in a
program as part of their educational
experience."
ACUHO-I and 12 other higher education associations filed an amicus brief
in support of George Washington's
position. After the most recent decision
was announced, ACUHO-I President
Beth McCuskey issued a statement
saying, "We are disappointed in the

12

TALKING STICK

NLRB's ruling as it undermines the
resident assistants' primary purpose of
serving as student leaders. This leadership role is among the most prestigious
on our campuses and one that we deem
paramount to any employment status.
In addition, the connections that RAs
enjoy with other students in their residence halls, classes, or student organizations make a very difficult translation
to 'working conditions' that will need to

IN A NEWS STORY
THAT RAN IN THE
GWU STUDENT
NEWSPAPER ON
DECEMBER 5, 2016,
RAS SHARED THAT
ONE REASON THEY
WERE SEEKING TO
UNIONIZE WAS TO
CUT DOWN ON THE
AMBIGUITY IN THEIR
CONTRACT.
be negotiated in any labor agreement.
This devalues the student communities that we are striving to foster on our
campuses."
According to an article written by
Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Education
(April 24, 2017), GWU also issued a
statement saying, "While the university
will continue to cooperate with the
NLRB in this process, 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 advisers as this process moves forward."
In his decision, NLRB Regional
Director Sean R. Marshall cited as
precedent a recent case where graduate student teaching assistants at
Columbia University in New York
were granted permission to form
a union. Marshall said that the RA
application and selection process, job
functions, compensation, and other
factors were evidence that RAs should
be considered employees under that
definition. He also asserted that there
were "no compelling policy reasons"
for declining the RAs' petition. In
his decision, Marshall wrote that he
concluded that RAs provide services
"based on an economic relationship
with the employer" and not "as part of
their educational relationship with the
employer." As he explained, "I do not
doubt that when current and former
RAs reflect on the time they spent as
RAs, they believe the experience was
educational and was instrumental
in their future career accomplishments. However, the same can be said
for many of one's life experiences,
whether they are educational, social,
religious or occupational. Employment experiences can simultaneously
be educational or part of one's personal development, yet they nonetheless retain an indispensable economic
core. Here, the evidence shows, and
no party contends otherwise, that an
economic exchange between the RAs
and the employer is the sine qua non
of their relationship."
- James A. Baumann



Talking Stick - May/June 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Talking Stick - May/June 2017

Talking Stick - May/June 2017
Contents
Vision
Just In
Calendar
Your ACUHO-I
Transitions
Res Life
Facilities
Regroup
Conversations
First Takes
Around Student Affairs
New Members
Snapshot
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Intro
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - BB1
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - BB2
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Talking Stick - May/June 2017
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Cover2
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 1
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 2
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 3
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Contents
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 5
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 6
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 7
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Vision
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 9
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Just In
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 11
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 12
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 13
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 14
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 15
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 16
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 17
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Calendar
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 19
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Your ACUHO-I
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 21
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Transitions
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 23
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Res Life
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 25
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 26
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 27
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Facilities
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 29
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 30
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 31
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Regroup
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 33
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 34
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 35
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 36
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 37
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 38
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 39
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 40
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 41
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 42
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 43
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 44
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 45
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 46
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 47
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 48
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 49
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 50
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 51
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 52
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 53
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 54
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 55
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 56
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 57
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 58
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 59
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Conversations
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 61
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 62
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 63
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - First Takes
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Around Student Affairs
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 66
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 67
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 68
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 69
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - New Members
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - 71
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Snapshot
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Cover3
Talking Stick - May/June 2017 - Cover4
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