Trustees Delay on Expansion Again; UGSDW Announces Next Phase of Organizing.

On November 7, 2019, Dr. David Maxwell ’66, Chair of Grinnell College Board of Trustees, claimed in a letter to UGSDW that the Board does not have a deadline for a decision on partial expansion. This claim directly contradicts the Campus Update sent to the campus community on September 27, 2019, in which Chair Maxwell stated that the Board would “determine the process and timeline for a final decision.”

This regrettable development is consistent with the pattern of delay and denial that characterizes the Board’s approach to partial expansion, a compromise proposed by no other than the current administration of Grinnell College. During the past year, the Board has twice resolved not to make a decision on partial expansion, and now refuses to even release a timeline for its decision.

UGSDW remains committed to productive dialogue with the College administration as well as the Board, and recognizes the Board’s deliberation and information gathering process. However, we will not sit idly by as the Board continues to drag its feet. Today, we proudly announce our next phase of organizing with three closely interconnected themes.

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Form an energetic base: Our union is only as strong as our members. This fight requires the collective effort from everyone. We will focus on forming meaningful relationships among student workers from diverse backgrounds and across campus workplaces. We will win if all student workers are well-informed; if all student workers are putting up posters; if all student workers are knocking on doors; if all student workers are organizing each other; if all student workers are taking direct action; and if all student workers are on the picket line.

Understand concrete economic issues: It is our mission to improve the material conditions of all student workers. We will leverage our broad membership from diverse backgrounds and campus workplaces to study the concrete economic challenges students face, the common struggles across backgrounds and workplaces, as well as the struggles unique to specific communities and workplaces. These concrete issues will be the basis and rallying points of our struggle.

Build intergenerational momentum: It has become clear that this struggle is a long-term one. We will defeat any and all stalling tactics by harnessing energy from all Grinnellians across generations through sustainable engagement of new and prospective student workers and the alumni community. We are in it for the long haul.

“Time and time again, we see that workers rights advance not through court and bureaucracy, not through permission from employers, but through the collective power of working people.”

Time and time again, we see that workers rights advance not through court and bureaucracy, not through permission from employers, but through the collective power of working people. We demand that the Board of Trustees immediately release its timeline for a decision on partial expansion, and swiftly approve partial expansion. Whether or not the Board approves partial expansion, whether or not the Board makes a decision at all, we will fight for fair wages and working conditions for all student workers of Grinnell College with every tool in our arsenal, to the fullest extent of our power.

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