President Schmidt: Recognize the RPI RA Union!
Send an email to RPI President Martin A. Schmidt to show your support for RPI Resident Assistants union!
Resident Assistants at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the nation's oldest technological research university, are working to form a union in partnership with OPEIU Local 153. A petition signed by more than 75% of RA's is now in the hands of RPI President Martin Schmidt.
Students are paid 80–90% less than RA's at similar sized institutions, yet required to work well over 20 hours a week overseeing up to 80 students. Further, students claim RPI policies—such as a policy requiring them to call campus police rather than 911—are putting them and their fellow students in dangerous, life threatening situations.
“RAs are told to specifically and solely call Public Safety (who can take upwards of 8 minutes to even respond across the street) and then the Dean on Duty for ALL Medical emergencies and indirectly scolded for mentioning 911. This game of telephone with the lives of students on this campus is outrageous and we must not stand for it.”
Dianna Stuzhuk, EMT, RPI Resident Assistant since Summer 2021
Union leaders say that abuse from students has gone unaddressed by the university leading some RAs to fear for their safety. Students complain that poor communication from the administration makes their jobs more difficult and less safe. There is a rally scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 10, 2023 at Beman Park in Troy where RAs and student leaders will speak about their treatment and the unionization process.
“To deal with issues like this, we are paid thirty dollars every two weeks, and the students receive no consequences as a result of their actions. RAs deserve basic and assured safety, respect, and support from the administration.”
Nikolas Pepmeyer, Alumni RPI Resident Assistant
Office & Professional Employees International Union Local 153 supports around 10,000 workers throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut to make the changes they want to see in their workplaces and their communities. Our members are employed in a range of fields, including social services, legal aid, higher education, healthcare, hotels, credit unions, and sports facilities. We are the first union ever to have a union contract for Resident Assistants at a private university in the US.