RA and Proctor Unionization Effort (March 8, 2024)

To the campus community,

A labor organization (OPEIU, Local 153) filed a petition with the Boston office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Monday to become the exclusive bargaining representative for our RAs and proctors. 

In its communication with the College, the OPEIU, Local 153 asked that we voluntarily recognize this union. Instead, we will work with the NLRB to schedule a secret-ballot election in a timely manner where these student workers can determine for themselves whether to be represented by the union. We will not oppose the formation of a union if RAs and proctors believe it is the right choice for them and all future RAs and proctors.

Because we have received some questions about the context for this petition, we want to clarify that the notice from the union arrived without prior communication from RAs or proctors to the College or residential life professional staff with the reasons that would prompt them to seek union representation.

Bowdoin is a community. As such, the College believes it is better for our students to maintain their current direct working relationship with residential life staff rather than potentially having these relationships shifted to an external organization. We have developed a list of frequently asked questions to assist our RAs and proctors as they consider their options between now and the election.

We encourage our RAs and proctors to meet with residential life staff to help them make an informed choice concerning current and future student employment. As always, these staff members are available for conversations with our students.

We are working collaboratively with the NLRB to schedule a secret-ballot election. Federal law provides a new expedited process for union elections, and we expect the NLRB to quickly approve an election date for early April. The union proposed April 8 in its petition. Earlier today, we proposed April 3 to the NLRB in an effort to expedite the election. We will have more information soon on the NLRB’s decision and will share it with all of you.

Bowdoin is proud of our RAs and proctors and appreciates the work they do in partnership with our professional residential life staff to build community and assist their fellow students. If, after careful consideration, they decide to establish a union, the College will respect their decision and work in good faith with the union to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.


Matt Orlando