Breaking News: Drexel RAs overwhelmingly vote to form union with 63-4 resultBreaking News: Drexel RAs overwhelmingly vote to form union with 63-4 result
Drexel University resident assistants file petition to unionize | The Triangle

Drexel University resident assistants file petition to unionize

Photo by Samuel Gregg | The Triangle

Resident assistants at Drexel University announced their intent to unionize in a petition submitted to Drexel President John Fry on March 11. 

80 percent of Drexel resident assistants, which includes 102 students, signed the petition to form a union with OPEIU-152 and to demand voluntary recognition, according to a press release.

The petition calls for (1) Drexel to voluntarily recognize the union and (2) “If Drexel instead proceeds to a union election, the University will not employ deceptive, manipulative, and unethical union-busting tactics, and instead, let the student workers form an educated decision on their terms.”  

Drexel resident assistants are classified as student workers that “create a sense of community on campus, get to know a variety of people, develop critical thinking skills, and learn more about themselves” according to Drexel’s website

Though the job is classified as part-time, the press release highlights how the responsibilities of being an RA are 24/7, including “attending weekly mandatory staff meetings, responding to requests and emergencies during 12-hour duty shifts on weekdays and 24-hour duty shifts on weekends, writing and filing incident reports within 2 hours of the event, scheduling 1-on-1 meetings with the Resident Director, stay on campus for holiday break duty” and more.

“I dedicated a lot of my time in my college career towards this job because it truly made me happy, but putting your all into an organization who doesn’t reciprocate that same dedication into you is disheartening,” said resident assistant Grace Knauss, “All I wanted was to improve the first-year experience, but it seems that when I came to them as an individual they didn’t care. Hopefully now they’ll start caring more when their whole RA staff is united together.”

The release describes how “RAs are drastically undercompensated for their time and efforts,” only receiving a monthly stipend of $100, a dorm room for the academic year and a partial meal plan. 

According to the university, “It is an expectation that the RA position be made a priority, second only to class and co-op.” 

The announcement follows a national trend towards campus unionization and labor action also seen at nearby colleges, notably Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2023, Temple University graduate students called a strike lasting from January into March, as did UPenn graduate students in April. Graduate and undergraduate Resident Advisors at UPenn successfully won the right to unionize through OPEIU last September, despite university opposition.

“Unionization allows RA’s to better support students who live in the residence halls. Having the Drexel community stand in solidarity with us would mean the world,” said RA Izzy Curtin. “Help us by reading our instagram posts, having conversations with your RA friends, and engaging with content that unpacks what unions mean!”

The full press release can be found on OPEIU Local 153’ website. For further updates, follow along on the union’s Instagram @duraunion.