Union backs bid by Hamilton College student admission workers

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CLINTON — The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local One filed a petition of recognition on behalf of Hamilton College student admission workers to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the organization stated Monday. The NLRB confirmed receipt of the petition on Wednesday morning. 

About half of the proposed bargaining unit, which includes tour guides and senior admission fellows, signed authorization cards calling for a union election, according to the announcement by the UFCW.

Workers have also reported discontentment with Admission management, the union added.

“We are calling for higher wages, a uniform disciplinary process, and greater respect,” said Eric Kopp, a senior admissions fellow and member of the organizing committee.

“Hamilton wants its students to think critically, so that’s what we’re doing,” Kopp said.

The filing is the first time that any undergraduate admission workers have sought union recognition in the country, officials said. This comes in the wake of the NLRB withdrawing a Trump-era rule against student employees. It also marks the first time that Hamilton students have sought to form a union. 

“Every worker has a right to form a union,” stated Samantha DeRiso, political director for UFCW Local One, based in Oriskany, and main organizer of the union campaign. “These students know that they deserve better. UFCW Local one will give our unconditional support to their cause.”

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