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University of Oregon undergraduate workers apply to form union

a group of college students standing outside, some holding signs
Carolyn Roderique
UO undergraduate workers campaigning for a union.

Undergraduate student workers at the University of Oregon have filed to become the largest student worker union in the country. If their efforts are successful, it would force the school to pull up a chair at the bargaining table.

Carolyn Roderique is an organizer with UO Student Workers. As an RA, she said she remembers how student workers were thrown into disarray amidst the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once talk of a union emerged last fall, she said the administration did their best to keep student workers in the dark.

“The university has not been transparent," Roderique says. "So it’s really exciting that despite a lot of uncertainty, we really just pushed through that.”

UO spokesperson Kay Jarvis said that consistent with state law, the university does not take a position on unionization efforts.

"The University of Oregon values the contributions made by all employees," said Jarvis in a written statement. "We strive to provide a positive employee experience for all, including our student workers, and make a concerted effort to address employee needs through collaboration and creative problem solving by identifying solutions that serve both the employee and the university."

The student workers expect to hear the ruling regarding their union from the federal government in late May.

Jasmine Lewin was a freelance reporter in 2022 and 2023. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Lewin wrote for the University of Oregon quarterly magazine Ethos before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
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