On Nov. 9, 78 residential advisors and fellows at Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., joined UFCW Local 1459 for a voice in the workplace. Residential advisors and fellows are responsible for administering residential life services within the dormitory halls on the Mt. Holyoke College campus.
This unit, which is made up entirely of college-age women and non-binary people, some of whom are international students, joined our union family because they wanted to increase their stipends, reduce housing costs, and improve communication with college administrators. The organizing campaign, which began in May, included Zoom and in-person meetings.
“Organizing with my fellow residential advisors and residential fellows has been really, really powerful,” said Delaney Burkhard, who is a residential advisor. “There’s a certain camaraderie that comes from experiencing the same things and working with one another to change them. Having this huge union win means so much to residential advisors and residential fellows across the board – international students, first gen/low-income students, and everyone else who heavily relies on this job. This union will give us, above all, a peace of mind that we are no longer voiceless and powerless, and that we will be listened to and protected.”