RAs to unionize after resounding victory in election

Organizers in McShain Lounge following the successful unionization vote. Photo by Connor Martin

Georgetown’s Resident Assistants (RAs) voted overwhelmingly in favor of forming a union in an election on Tuesday, one of the fastest RA unionization efforts in the country pending certification, organizers said.

79 voted in favor and 3 against, for 96% in favor, according to results announced by Matthew Nagy of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Tuesday evening in McShain Lounge at the conclusion of the election. 

“It’s a great sign of change and things to come, and I think that our count symbolizes the kind of momentum that we have going and that RAs are behind us,” Sam Lovell (CAS’ 25), an organizer with the Georgetown Resident Assistants Coalition (GRAC), said. “We’re really excited to work for all RAs and negotiate a better contract this fall.”

RAs were allowed to vote in McShain from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and again from 5 to 7 p.m., after which point NLRB representatives tallied the votes. The total 82 votes cast in the union election meant that nearly 80% of all RAs voted in the election, according to the NLRB. 

The election was not without incident: two ballots were challenged, both under the premise that the student was not a current RA. The first challenge was resolved, and the student’s vote was counted, but the second challenge was not, Nagy announced along with the results. However, given the decisive margin, the challenged ballots did not impact the outcome of the elections. 

Both parties have seven days from the vote count to file objections to the vote to the Regional NLRB director if they wish. If no objections are filed, the RAs will officially be unionized. Following the certification, union representatives will be able to begin the process of negotiating a contract with the university, which will likely happen in the fall, according to organizers. 

“We appreciate the participation of all RAs who cast ballots in this election, and we respect the result. We are encouraged that many RAs made their voices heard,” Vice President for Student Affairs Eleanor Daugherty wrote to RAs after the election results were announced. “When the NLRB’s certification is finalized, we will assemble the appropriate team to work in good faith with OPEIU to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.”

The RAs got the issue to a vote on one of the fastest timelines in the country, according to Scott Williams, an organizer with OPEIU Local 153, which has helped 11 other groups of RAs unionize. Elise Merchant (CAS ’25) said that the RAs first met with Williams in early March. 

“A month and then some, and we have a union. For it to be real and physical and for us to have voted is crazy,” she said.

This is the first time an RA union has successfully voted to unionize at Georgetown. RAs began the process of organizing a union in 2019, but the effort lost momentum after Residential Living announced an improved housing and meal plan for RAs, which was one of the group’s primary demands.

“This is the first undergraduate union at Georgetown, the first RA union in Washington, D.C.,” Ulises Olea Tapia (SFS ’25) said. “Today, the RAs of Georgetown made history and that just has everyone extremely, extremely happy.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include a comment from a university administrator.

Franziska Wild
Franzi Wild is a junior in the SFS and the news executive editor. She likes the natural world, Arabic verb forms, and kindness. She dislikes institutions and administrations.

Connor Martin
Connor (he/him) is a junior in the college and the managing editor. He is also a member of the editorial board, a collector of snowglobes, and he can't wait to make you pasta after studying for three months in Florence, Italy. Ping Connor at

More: , , , ,

Read More

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments