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Undergrads Are Now Trying to Unionize College Workforces Across the Country

Undergrads Are Now Trying to Unionize College Workforces Across the Country

“I’m handling some of the biggest investments the college owns, yet I’m being paid minimum wage to do that”

This push began with grad students several years ago and we can now see the results. Grad students are on strike at one school or another all the time. Now undergrads are following them down this road.

CBS News reports:

Undergraduates across the country are unionizing college workforces

The push to unionize Amazon, Starbucks and other major U.S. companies is spreading to another employment sector that historically has resisted worker efforts to organize: America’s colleges.

Students employed as residential advisers, assistant instructors and in campus dining halls are uniting to demand better pay and working conditions, as well as pushing more broadly for a seat at the table in setting policies that affect their lives.

“We’re definitely seeing a huge change in the way labor is functioning nationwide right now,” Katherine Crawford, a 22-year-old senior at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, told CBS MoneyWatch. “Student work is real work, despite the fact that we’re full-time students and part-time workers,” said Crawford, who has held as many as three concurrent campus jobs while attending Kenyon.

“I’m handling some of the biggest investments the college owns, yet I’m being paid minimum wage to do that,” Crawford said of her job moving around costly pieces of art at Kenyon’s Gund Gallery. “People deserve to be paid more than $9.30 an hour,” she added of Ohio’s minimum wage.

Kenyon pays student workers between $9.30 and $11.94 an hour.

Colleges and universities across the U.S. have long employed undergraduates to keep campus dining halls and dorms running, but until recently attempts to organize have been few and far between.


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healthguyfsu | April 15, 2022 at 3:33 pm

Moving a painting = “handling investments”

Boy, have these kids quickly learned the art of embellishment from some of the academy’s finest in short order.

Most undergraduate workers are paid out of federal work study funds. Although there may be flexibility in classifying work and hourly rates associated with tasks, I question how much total flexibility there is in the wage pool of funds.

College administrations are all in for unionization….until it starts happening in their own bailiwicks. Guess they haven’t figured out that what goes around comes around.

Louis K. Bonham | April 15, 2022 at 11:00 pm

This reminds me of the famous scene from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (original BBC version) where the philosphers threaten to go on strike unless megacomputer Deep Thought is turned off:

We’ll go on strike!

That’s right. You’ll have a national philosopher’s strike on your hands.

Who will that inconvenience?

Never you mind who it’ll inconvenience you box of black legging binary bits! It’ll hurt, buster! It’ll hurt!

SeekingRationalThought | April 16, 2022 at 11:43 am

Unionization wasn’t the reason I reduced contributions to Grinnell College to a nominal level and removed it from my will. That due to it breach of its fiduciary duty by making a $50,000 gift to BLM. The fact that they didn’t recognize the breach after the fact was even worse as it implied either a lack of intellect or a lack of honesty. The unionization of its student work force made this decision even easier. I wasn’t about to allow a “union” to have influence over how my hard-earned funds are spent after I’m gone.

If I open a business advising people on the best way to move their expensive stuff can I call myself an investment counselor? I mean, I AM counseling them on what to do with something they invested in…