Read the following case study and answer the questions found in the section below.
West University is a large college located in Phoenix, Arizona. Since its inception, the university experienced
tremendous growth. The campus is located on 1,200 acres with more than 20,000 students providing on-campus
housing to more than 11,000 students. Residential Life, a department within Housing Services, provides support for
all aspects of the student's experience in the residence halls. There were 30 residence halls supervised by area
directors (ADs), 23 resident directors (RDs) supervising the staff and office operations, and 32 graduate student
assistant resident directors (ARDs) who reported to and assisted the RDs and co-supervised 300 RAs . Resident
assistants (RAs) are undergraduate students who live on a floor in a residence hall.
The major responsibilities and duties of RAs can be broken into eight areas:
1. University Community building.
Resource and referral agent.
Crisis intervention and management.
Staff meetings and schedule coverage.
General 0olicy management.
RAs hired were required to sign a job description and a resident assistant Memo of Understanding (MOU). The
MOU outlined the terms and conditions of the position including compensation, work hours, GPA standards and
several other requirements. An RA who worked a minimum of two semesters, was enrolled in the university with at
least a 2.5 GPA, and not received formal punishment from the university could be considered for a community
development assistant (CDA) position. The CDA was a mentor to RAs and assisted with problems. CDA
compensation and other work-related requirements were identical to those of RAs.
Human Resource Policies for RAs and CDAs
RAs and CDAs had mandatory requirements to arrive on campus three days before each semester begins for
mandatory training and building preparation. There was a 20-hour-per-week time commitment that included a
stipend of $1,820 for the academic year with deductions for federal and state income taxes. RDs are their direct
supervisors, conducted their performance reviews, and maintained their personnel files. RAs and CDAs who violated
disciplinary guidelines were subject to a progressive disciplinary procedure.
Collective Bargaining on the West University Campus
Public employees were granted the right to join unions, present proposals to public employers but there were no
obligations for these employers to engage in bargaining with these public employee unions. A few unions were
active at the West University. Collective bargaining rights were granted to most of the public employees by passage
of the state's general law allowing them to form, join or participate in unions. The law also granted bargaining
collectively over terms and conditions of employment.
West University recognized the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO), an affiliate of the United Auto Workers, as
the collective bargaining representative for a variety of graduate student positions including teaching assistants,
research assistants and ARDs. The West University now had a workforce that was predominantly unionized and a
climate where unionization and collective bargaining were common aspects of university life.
The RAs are challenged with disciplining residents, dealing with the retaliation and disgruntled residents. There was
a 55 percent RA turnover rate. RAs were fired and some felt this was questionable and unwarranted when a resident
doing the same thing was given a written warning. Grievance committees were formed and many meeting occurred
but to no avail. There were also concerns with compensation. Some RAs approached the GEO to discuss the
opportunity to form an RA union. The GEO agreed the concerns and complaints were similar to other workers. A
committee was organized to gather enough signatures to declare representation by the United Auto Workers for
collective bargaining. The majority of the RAs and CDAs signed and the request was sent to the University for
voluntary recognition and it was denied because undergraduates are students. Those RAs/CDAs who opposed the
union representation thought the others were over reacting. During the last hiring, twice as many applicants applied
than positions available. As for firing, 12 out of 600 RAs were terminated over the last two years.
The University contacted the state labor relations commission (LRC) to dismiss the petition because the law did not
require collective bargaining for those who perform services as students. The commission determined that the RAs
and CDAs could legally organize and engage in collective bargaining. A secret ballot election was to be held to
determine the preference of the employees.
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