Worker Power, Edition #6
Second Bargaining Session October 13, 4:30 PM in JRC 101 and on WebEx
Recap: First Session of Bargaining
Thank you to everyone who came to our first bargaining session on Oct. 6 and to those who wore buttons to support student workers as we continue our fight for a fair contract! Your solidarity shows the College our collective strength — and we know that it did not go unnoticed.
In UGSDW’s opening statement, we reiterated our commitment to fighting for a fair contract that gives student workers a $15+/hr wage, strong job security and protections, and real recourse against workplace discrimination and harassment. We also reaffirmed that the fight for workers’ rights does not start or end with us, nor with this contract — and that we are committed to fighting racism, patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia and the ways in which they are wrapped up in the exploitation of workers. You can read our full statement here.
The College responded with their opening statement, outlining 17 bargaining interests including their desire “to steward our financial resources, including the endowment, in a way that is fiscally responsible and supports intergenerational equity,” and to “provide fiscal education and promote transparency regarding the financial operations.” The UGSDW Bargaining Team went on to present our first three contract proposals, as voted on by our membership: Our Just Cause proposal would implement a transparent, equal, and fair progressive disciplinary system that will ensure union representation in disciplinary meetings and provide unjustly disciplined/fired workers with 1.5x backpay. Our Neutrality and Card Check proposal would require the College to remain neutral throughout union organizing drives taken up by any of the College’s workers. The Union rights proposal included the rights of the union to freely organize and securely communicate without intervention on the part of the College. When asked whether the College surveils student communications via Outlook, Frank Harty, the College’s lawyer, responded, “I can’t answer that.” Harty noted the College would provide a concrete response at a later time. Beyond their few questions for the UGSDW Bargaining Team on the proposals put forth, the College had no proposals or counteroffers of their own to present. College representatives expressed concerns that UGSDW’s proposals would undermine the agency and privacy of student workers. Read our response in a later section.
Our next bargaining session is scheduled for Thursday, 10/13, at 4:30 PM, in JRC 101. Be there, wearing a button, to show the College that we’re still watching and ready to take action!
On The Agenda:
All UGSDW meetings are public to all — come make your voice heard!
Proposal Development Meeting: Tuesday, Oct. 11, 7pm, S3325
We will be brainstorming contract proposals for (1) a new grievance procedure for dealing with issues on the job, (2) making GC a sanctuary campus, (3) what information the College is mandated to provide to the Union, and more!
Next Organizing Meeting: Sunday, Oct. 23, 6pm, JRC 209
Workers came out in full force to the first session of bargaining on Oct. 6 wearing UGSDW Fair Contract Now! buttons to show solidarity and support for a fair and strong contract!
Now, it’s more important than ever that student workers, students, faculty, and community members continue to come to negotiations to prove to the College that we are watching and ready to take action to win what we deserve!
How We Represent Student Workers:
Our goal in collective bargaining is to win a strong contract that improves the lives of student workers at Grinnell. Once we win that contract, we will need to enforce it. Under the law, unions have an obligation to represent every single worker in the union equally. Our union is independent and run by student workers, for student workers. Without question, we are the union; there is no third-party between the College and student workers — UGSDW is student workers.
Unfortunately, the College is trying to make it impossible for us to represent every student worker. They claim that UGSDW is a third-party, and that each student worker needs to consent to our data being released… to ourselves. Now, after 6 years of giving UGSDW information like job titles, disciplinary information, and lists of who works where, the College has seemingly changed its mind and refuses to give us our own information. We are legally entitled to this information and need it to properly represent every student worker. In our 6 years of existence, we have used this information to represent student workers more effectively — winning back hundreds of student workers’ jobs in Dining Services after they were unjustly fired, representing workers in disciplinary meetings, and hosting meetings and rallies where we stood up for what we need in our workplaces.
What changed? The College is scared — scared of the collective power student workers hold when we stand together. By denying us our own information, the College is trying to make it harder for us to organize — citing FERPA and “student privacy” as a justification. At the first bargaining session, they made it clear their arguments against our proposals to improve student work will rest on “student privacy.” We value student privacy, which is why any sensitive information we receive is protected by NDAs. The College devalues student privacy by using it as an excuse to fight our organizing. At our Proposal Development meeting on Tue. 10/11, we’ll be talking about language we can present to the College to deal with this. Come through!
Student Workers: Do you have feedback about our organizing, bargaining, newsletter, etc? Fill out our anonymous survey!