Statement on Nov. 19 Special Campus Memo
GRINNELL, IOWA — On Monday, Grinnell College administration released yet another Special Campus Memo responding to UGSDW’s continued fight for workers’ rights. The memo, which was mostly comprised of meaningless platitudes, dictated that the College will not only appeal our case to the national NLRB, but file a motion to impede (or “stay”) the upcoming Nov. 27 election. The College also revealed that it has hired Proskauer Rose, an international law firm specializing in union-busting whose clients include missile and weapons contractors and oil and pipeline companies.
UGSDW will continue our fight to keep the scheduled election in place. The election is run by the government and will decide whether or not Grinnell has to bargain with us. If UGSDW wins the election, we will begin bargaining (even as the appeal is pending) over higher wages, fair discipline, and other labor issues our members deem important.
After the election, Grinnell plans to appeal our case to the national board, which is stacked with officials appointed by President Donald Trump. Their willingness to use the Trump administration to their favor is abhorrent, and goes against everything Grinnell College should stand for. On another note, Grinnell College is now under three separate federal investigations into potential labor law violations, including intimidation and threats. These behaviors are not only antithetical to the values of our campus community but illegal under NLRB rules.
Also discussed in the campus memo was the College’s hiring of Proskauer Rose, an international law firm headquartered in New York City. The cost of hiring such a prestigious firm is almost unfathomable. Proskauer Rose has thirteen offices worldwide, employs over 700 lawyers, and has a history of anti-union practice, including action against student workers at Columbia University, Yale University, the University of Chicago, and Cornell University. To think that Grinnell College would associate itself so clearly with this anti-labor juggernaut is unfortunately not much of a surprise anymore. Under Raynard Kington, the administration, and the Board of Trustees, we continue to see our institutional values and beliefs eroded.
UGSDW can and will picket and strike to protest the unfair treatment of workers by the College and protect the rights of hundreds of thousands of other undergraduate and graduate workers around the country. We will fight as hard as we can, but we can only do so much alone—We encourage all Grinnell students, alumni, and community members to join us in our fight for the rights of student workers and make labor rights history in the process. Contact us to get involved in future labor action.
UGSDW remains willing to open a dialogue and discuss compromise with the College. Instead, in defiance of our community’s commitment to civil discourse, administration refuses.
We will fight the College tooth and nail as they seek to destroy not only our rights, but the rights of all undergraduate and graduat student workers nationwide.
We look forward to students demonstrating their power in numbers in our Nov. 27 election.