Worker Power, Edition #3

We Need Real Recourse for Workplace Discrimination and Harassment!

What is Real Recourse?

A photograph of several student-workers standing on a lawn, raising their fists

Real recourse means an accountable, neutral process for treating cases of discrimination and harassment in the workplace. As part of collective bargaining, we can negotiate that independent process through the union grievance procedure — providing union representation for student workers and a neutral arbitration process for addressing cases of harassment and discrimination. Currently, the College’s process for dealing with these cases is internal with Ben Newhouse as the final decision maker for Title IX complaints involving students. Time and time again, Newhouse has shown he sides with the people who sign his checks, the College. Students have seen their cases ignored, dismissed, or only partially resolved by the College’s Title IX and conduct processes. Without an independent process for addressing instances of sexual harassment, discrimination, and violence, GC will continue to limit its legal liability instead of prioritizing the needs of survivors.

Mailroom workers’ experience in Fall 2021 highlights the need for real recourse. After student workers endured months of racist, sexist, transphobic and ableist comments from their supervisors, including constant misgendering, student workers took action to demand an end to their hostile work environment. Hundreds of students showed up to support these student workers – only then did the College decide to go through with a Title IX investigation into the supervisors. During the investigation, the College placed the supervisors on paid leave – and reinstated them with few consequences less than four months later. Student workers deserve better! We are tired of the College telling us they care and turning around to sweep complaints under the rug. Only a neutral, independent process for addressing workplace harassment and discrimination can begin to ensure safety for student workers on the job. We can win that process in a strong contract covering all student workers by taking action together – to demand real recourse alongside higher wages and job protections!

Worker Power is by the workers, for the workers. Read your copy front to back and contact us for submissions!

Lu Johnston, Class of 2024, Math Tutor and Special Collections and Archives Worker

“By Fall 2021 my coworkers and I had brought two separate complaints to the College about transphobic behavior from mailroom supervisors. The College did nothing. They only took action to protect their own image after we returned in protest — backed by 250+ rallying students. Instead of a real solution, I was subjected to a grueling Title IX procedure that reduced me to tears multiple times. Without a grievance procedure in place and options for real recourse, I felt like I had no choice but to quit. We need a strong grievance procedure and real recourse so that we can ensure that when student-workers are not treated fairly, conditions actually change.”

Hundreds of students and student-workers gather outside the Joe Rosenfield Center rallying in support of mailroom student workers

We’re fed up with the College’s inaction with Title IX complaints! We need actual action and recourse in response to discrimination and harassment! Enough is enough!

Crash Course: Collective Bargaining

Collective Bargaining is just around the corner! Here’s what you need to know: Collective Bargaining is the formal process where a union and an employer sit down and negotiate to come to an agreement about wages and workplace conditions. When we won our election in April 2022 in a 327 to 6 vote, we became certified as the legal collective bargaining representative for all student workers on campus. This guaranteed that the College has a legal obligation to sit down with us and negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), aka a union contract. In just a few weeks, we will begin negotiations with the College where we will present our contract proposals. As negotiations go, College representatives will have the chance to respond with counter proposalsand make their own arguments. Proposals presented by the Bargaining Team are a direct product of conversations with student workers about the changes we need to see in our workplaces. How to get involved as a Union Member: 1) Give Feedback/Vote on Proposals: We will host regular Proposal Feedback Meetings where we will welcome input on proposals. The first Feedback Meeting will be held on Tuesday Sept. 27 at 7pm in HSSC S3325. A General Meeting will then be hosted on October 1 at 2pm in Main Quad to vote on finalized proposals. 2) Workplace specific issues: Attend workplace meetings and let us know what you want us to fight for in the contract! Reach out to your workplace Steward for info on workplace meetings, or become one yourself! 3) Stay up to date on Bargaining: Spectating for bargaining sessions is open to ALL in-person or via Zoom. Come see for yourself what the College has to say about our proposals! 4) Get involved in union actions: The College will NOT agree to our proposals if they believe we have weak mobilization and support. When we stand together, we as workers are far more powerful than the College and can pressure them to agree to our demands!

UGSDW Meetings

All are welcome!

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