Grinnell College, Running Scared… to Trump
College Requests Review of Labor Board Decision
GRINNELL, IOWA — On Friday, December 7, at 4:59 p.m. Eastern time—the last possible minute of the business day—Grinnell College filed a request for review with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, D.C. If the NLRB grants the college’s request, it could undo UGSDW’s certification after its democratic election victory, and overturn the critical legal precedent which gives student workers in the U.S. the right to unionize.
We are disgusted and saddened by Grinnell’s decision to appeal. They are fully aware of how their actions could strip basic rights from hundreds of thousands of student workers across the country. At every step of the process, we’ve offered to come to the table and discuss a framework for bargaining which would address the concerns the college has raised—flexibility in hiring, student privacy, and wages. And every time we offer to talk, they’ve slammed the door in our faces. Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, and others have all reached compromises with their unions which preserve the universities’ key priorities while allowing their workers to bargain. Grinnell refuses to even entertain this possibility.
Thousands of businesses across the country deal with unions every day, and are stronger for it. Grinnell thinks that its “elite” educational status somehow exempts it from following labor laws that have been around for eighty years. Grinnell’s president, Raynard Kington, who makes a cool $600,000 a year, is hoping that Trump’s NLRB appointees will save him from having to address the economic struggles his middle-class and low-income students face. It’s childish and appalling.
UGSDW will not be scared off by Grinnell’s illegal threats, and the shady tactics of its union-busting lawyers. The union plans to file an opposition brief with the NLRB shortly, arguing against the granting of review in this case. And we will continue to agitate and organize to convince the Grinnell administration to respect students’ democratic decision and come to the bargaining table.