UMass peer mentors vote to join Resident Assistant Union

By Marie MacCune

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University of Massachusetts peer mentors voted to join RAU-UAW 2322, the union that represents resident assistants on campus. The vote follows an announcement from the Massachusetts Department of Labor in February of a ruling permitting the peer mentors to hold the election.

Over the summer, the Department of Labor held a hearing regarding the right of the peer mentors to unionize with resident assistants. The department’s announcement held that there was a sufficient community of interest between peer mentors and resident assistants and, therefore, they could vote on whether or not to unionize with them. During the hearing, UMass administration formally objected their unionization.

According to a press release from United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2322, peer mentors now not only have the right to union representation but also to collective bargaining. The release said there was an “overwhelming” vote in favor of joining RAU-UAW 2322.

“I am so proud of the Peer Mentors for standing up for their right to organize,” Jocelyn Silverlight, president of UAW 2322, said in the release.

Jenna Grady, a UMass peer mentor who led the organizing effort, also said in the release that, “After two years of organizing, we are thrilled to have voiced our collective support for unionization through this election.”

She called the peer mentors’ success a victory for all undergraduate student workers on campus.

Marie MacCune can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MarieMacCune.