Organizing Higher Ed in Union Town: Workers at LMU and Occidental College Join SEIU 721


Occidental College student workers voted overwhelmingly to join us in SEIU Local 721. The more than 1,000 undergraduate workers have diverse roles — baristas, resident assistants, graders, tutors, translators, lifeguards, researchers, and many more — and formed two units of wall-to-wall representation. The student workers — who dubbed their unit the Rising Occidental Student Employees (R.O.S.E.) — join thousands of higher education workers who have formed unions with SEIU 721 over the past decade. 

“We showed unwavering solidarity throughout this campaign,” said Crystal Stylc, a junior and resident advisor at Occidental. “I’m so proud to be part of R.O.S.E. and happy that we finally have a voice on the job. With our union, as SEIU 721 members, we can now begin transforming our working conditions. We’ve shown what we can do when we come together and call on all student workers to become active in our union. That’s the only way we’ll continue to win.”

This follows another organizing victory in local academia: Non-tenure track (NTT) faculty in three Loyola Marymount University (LMU) colleges also voted to become members of SEIU Local 721.

The nearly 400 faculty members serve in the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts (BCLA), the College of Communication and Fine Arts (CFA), and the School of Film and Television (SFTV) and teach courses in various fields, including animation, communications, dance, English, ethnic studies, film, history, music, philosophy, political science, screenwriting, theatre arts, urban studies, and many more.

“It’s been wonderful to see LMU NTT faculty come together to unionize with SEIU 721”, said Lauren Cole, senior History lecturer. “ Although we hail from many different disciplines, organizing together revealed our commonalities and collective need for change at LMU. I encourage all LMU NTT faculty to join us in crafting our first union contract. Working together will create a contract with better pay and benefits, job security, and respect.”

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