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Are Unions Coming To The World Of College Admissions? - In The Wake Of A Hamilton College Vote For Collective Bargaining, Will Other Admissions Offices See Unions Form?

Published Monday, October 18, 2021
by Scott Jaschik/InsideHigherEd.com
Are Unions Coming To The World Of College Admissions? - In The Wake Of A Hamilton College Vote For Collective Bargaining, Will Other Admissions Offices See Unions Form?

(CLINTON, NEW YORK) – When the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) counted the votes, Student Workers in Hamilton College's Admissions Office voted to Unionize by 25 to 20.

It was the first win by undergraduates seeking to Unionize since the NLRB in March revoked a Trump Administration rule that made them ineligible for collective bargaining.

It is also the first Union specifically for a college admissions office.

But the question for many in admissions was, will there be more Unions coming?

College administrations at private four-year colleges generally do not like Unions (although there are many cases where they work well with them).

But in academic areas, such Unions are relatively rare.

A 1980 Supreme Court decision, NLRB v. Yeshiva University, held that Faculty Members are, in effect, part of a college's management and thus are ineligible for collective bargaining.

That decision, however, was about Tenure-Track Faculty Members with considerable power at their university.

Many Union Leaders believe it should not apply to all private colleges' faculties.

But the decision leaves open the possibility of Unionizing Adjuncts and others at private colleges.

Labor relations at public colleges are governed by state laws, which vary widely.

Workers in admissions offices haven't - except for Hamilton - Unionized.

The Hamilton Union includes Tour Guides and Admissions Fellows, who interview prospective students.

Samantha DeRiso, Director of Political and Public Affairs for the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local One, which organized the Hamilton Workers, said that since the Union went public (in August), it has learned of other campuses organizing Unions for admissions.

She declined to name the colleges, because "I wouldn’t want to jeopardize these Workers yet by revealing any specifics."

But based on what she's heard, she said: "I think this could be a movement for sure."

William A. Herbert, the Executive Director of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions at Hunter College of the City University of New York, agreed that there will be more attempts to form Unions: "In the months ahead, we are likely to see NLRB petitions filed for the representation of Graduate Assistants and undergraduate student workers on other Private Sector campuses."

Thirty percent of Workers must sign cards to force an election, but most Organizing Drives seek more than that.

The Hamilton Union said about half of Workers in its Union signed cards.

To Continue Reading This Labor News Report, Go To: www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2021/10/18/unions-may-have-new-target-admissions-workers

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