The Resident Assistants in the dorms at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are, they say, unique in the country — they’re the only RA’s in the country who are represented by a union.

The Resident Assisants union at U Mass Amherst dates back to 2002, when an RA was fired for missing a single staff meeting, but there have been bumps in the road since then. Most recently Residential Life, the administrative department that oversees the RAs, eliminated 19 Apartment Living Assistant positions and attempted to cut the jobs of another 54 peer mentors.

Right now the Amherst RAs are in the middle of contract negotiations with the university, seeking minimum wage pay and protection against termination without just cause. Those negotiations have been ongoing for more than a year, and last week week fifty Amherst students marched on the contract negotiations, lining the halls outside the meeting room for four hours in support of the RAs’ union representatives.

More on this story as it develops.

December 6 Update | I’ll have more details in a later post, but I’ve just learned that the RAs approved the new contract last night. It provides for a 30% pay increase, and was ratified in an overwhelming vote.