Collective Position 
Press Secretary
[email protected]


The Student Worker Movement is Growing (Jacobin)

Biden endorses UGSDW, possibly helping expansion efforts (Scarlet & Black)

Letter to the Editor: A message on selective union expansion from 200+ alums (Scarlet & Black)

UGSDW and College agree to new contract (Scarlet & Black)

UGSDW Negotiates New Contract with College, CLS Brainstorms Making On-Campus Jobs More Fulfilling (Scarlet & Black)

“Moving On”: Kington Outlines Next Steps for College and UGSDW (Scarlet & Black)

College Addresses Accusations of Racial Discrimination in the Spencer Grill (Scarlet & Black)

Are Universities Political? (Inside Higher Ed)

Students Speak: The Union Decision (Scarlet & Black)

Update on UGSDW (Scarlet & Black)

In Iowa, a union’s report uncovers discrimination at Grinnell College (Worker’s World)

Education Workers on Campuses Around the Country Are Demanding Better Labor Conditions (Teen Vogue)

Top five 2018: Workers in Iowa continue to fight the good fight (Little Village)

Board OKs request by Grinnell students to drop union effort (Associated Press)

Grinnell Student Workers Boost Union Cause by Changing the Narrative (Nonprofit Quarterly)

UGSDW Withdraws Petition to Expand Union, Case Will Not Reach NLRB (Scarlet & Black)

Grinnell Students Drop Union Expansion Bid (Iowa Public Radio)

Students at Iowa college drop union organizing effort (Associated Press)

Iowa students drop union push amid challenge, fearing rollback of Obama-era wins (CNN)

Grinnell student-worker union calls foul as it ends expansion efforts (Des Moines Register)

How a Small Liberal Arts College in Iowa Could Hand Trump a Big Win Against Labor Rights (Mother Jones)

Inside the College Union Beef Exposing Liberal America’s Elite Hypocrisy (VICE)

Iowa College Challenges Vote To Expand Student Workers Union (Here & Now, WBUR)

Grinnell College ‘Invites Trump onto Campus,’ Aiming to Limit Student Collective Bargaining (Progressive)

Iowa College Becomes Battleground For Student Worker Unionization (NPR)

‘Blatant scare tactics’: Iowa university leads crackdown on student unions (Guardian)

Grinnell Files Federal Appeal Over Vote To Expand Students’ Union (Iowa Public Radio)

Grinnell College Risks its Reputation with Labor Dispute (Iowa Starting Line)

Grinnell College student-worker union falls a few votes short of holding proposed strike (Des Moines Register)

Grinnell Union Workers Vote Not To Authorize Strike (Iowa Public Radio)

An Anti-Union (Liberal) College? (Inside Higher Ed)

Grinnell Union Workers Hope To Negotiate, Halt Appeal (Iowa Public Radio)

Grinnell College students willing to negotiate union disagreement (Radio Iowa)

Alumni Speak Out on College’s Decision to Appeal UGSDW (Scarlet & Black)

The S&B Explains the College’s Union Appeal Process (Scarlet & Black)

Letter to the Editor: A Lifelong Grinnellian Speaks Out on Unionization (Scarlet & Black)

Grinnell student union members to vote whether to strike Friday after administrators refuse to meet with them (Des Moines Register)

Grinnell College president: We won’t bargain with student workers union while our appeal is pending (Des Moines Register)

Grinnell alumni: College should not undermine student union vote (Des Moines Register)

UGSDW Leads Protest to Nollen House in Response to Administrations’ Looming NLRB Appeal (Scarlet & Black)

Iowa College Looks to Stop Students’ Unionizing Effort (Associated Press)

Grinnell Students Protest School’s Attempt to Quash Union (Des Moines Register)

UGSDW Wins Election to Expand Union (Scarlet & Black)

Grinnell student workers approve campuswide union; school’s move to quash has national implications (Des Moines Register)

Liberal Arts Students’ Union Bid Threatens Obama-Era Policy (Bloomberg Law)

Ep. 108: The Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers (Future Left)

UGSDW Wins Right to Election (Scarlet & Black)

The College Announces Plan to Appeal NLRB Decision (Scarlet & Black)

In Iowa, Pioneering Undergrad Workers Union Keeps Growing (Labor Notes)

Historic Unionization Hearing Concludes, with NLRB Ruling Pending (Scarlet & Black)

College and Union Convene Historic Hearing on Expanded Unionization Efforts (Scarlet & Black)

UGSDW Aims to Expand (Scarlet & Black)

College Community Debates Expanding Union (Scarlet & Black)

Student Workers Demand Union, College Responds “No” (Scarlet & Black)

Grinnell College attempts to become most unionized campus in America (Daily Tar Heel)

Students seek title of “most unionized campus in the country” (Campus Reform)

These Iowa Students Want Their College to be the “Most Unionized Campus in the Country” (Des Moines Register)

Grinnell Dining Workers Launch Campaign to Represent All Student Campus Workers (Workers Independent News)

Union Plans to Represent All Student Workers (Scarlet & Black)

Grinnell Students Looking to Expand Union (WOI-TV)

Grinnell College Student Workers Seek to Expand Their Union   (Iowa Public Radio)

UGSDW Negotiates 2.7 Percent Pay Raise   (Scarlet & Black)

Student Union Pushes for Wage   (Scarlet & Black)

Undergraduates Are Workers, Too   (Jacobin magazine)

Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers Advocates for High School Students’ Wages   (Scarlet & Black)

Undergraduate Unions: The Next Frontier?   (Dissent magazine)

Student Dining Worker Union Ratifies Contract, Raises Pay   (Grinnell Magazine)

Union of Students Approves Contract with College   (Scarlet & Black)

Grinnell student employees approve union contract   (Des Moines Register)

Only Independent Undergraduate Labor Union in U.S. Wins Wage Increases   (OurGrinnell)

Bring your Bargaining Chips to the Bargaining Team Meetings   (Scarlet & Black)

Press Releases

A photograph of several Grinnell students standing in a circle, two holding signs reading "UGSDW on strike"

Grinnell College Refuses to Bargain Due to Strike; UGSDW Files Unfair Labor Practice Charge as Strike Continues

May 11, 2023

The college unilaterally declared impasse after falsely declaring student workers’ strike “unlawful”

A photograph of several student workers standing. One holds a sign reading "UGSDW on strike"

Grinnell College Student Workers Strike for Campus-Wide Contract as College Circulates False Claims about Legality

May 11, 2023

Student Workers begin strike amid threats, intimidation from Grinnell College

General Meeting

One Big Union: Grinnell College Student Workers File for Campus-Wide Union; College Agrees to Respect Election Results

March 4, 2022
The Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers (UGSDW) held its first general meeting of the fall 2021 semester on Saturday, November 6. At the meeting, attended by more than 40 student workers, the Union announced its next campaign: demanding a starting wage of $15 an hour for all workers in Dining Services.
Student Workers at the "Meet the Dining Director" event

Grinnell College Illegally Threatens UGSDW

December 10, 2021

Press Release


At General Meeting, UGSDW Announces Campaign for $15 an Hour, Students Share Experiences with Understaffing

November 8, 2021
The Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers (UGSDW) held its first general meeting of the fall 2021 semester on Saturday, November 6. At the meeting, attended by more than 40 student workers, the Union announced its next campaign: demanding a starting wage of $15 an hour for all workers in Dining Services.
mailroom poster.JPG

Mailroom Workers’ Fight for Demands Continues with Poster Action

November 3, 2021
This morning, mailroom supervisors came into a workplace covered in posters demanding immediate action on demands put forth by mailroom workers last month. Mailroom workers took action to reiterate their demands after the College opened an investigation into the hostile work environment in the mailroom.
Rally Outside JRC

Mailroom Workers Demand End to Toxic Work Environment

October 7, 2021
On Thursday, October 7, at 11:15 a.m., mailroom workers organizing with UGSDW delivered a set of demands to supervisors Kim Hegg and Payton Ronfeldt. They are demanding the supervisors cease making racist comments and misgendering workers, which has created a hostile work environment with few protections for workers. They are also demanding a wage increase to $10 an hour, a point system to prevent unjustified firing, and more changes that would protect mailroom workers and improve conditions at the workplace.
grinnell works because we do.jpg

UGSDW Approves New Dining Contract

July 22, 2021
The new dining contract includes a significant base wage increase, an improved point system, and more. The contract will remain in effect until July 2023.

Solidarity with K-SWOC

May 5, 2021
UGSDW Stands in Solidarity with the Kenyon Student Worker Organizing Committee and Strike Participants
UGSDW President Ryland Rich Speaks at May Day Event

UGSDW Considers Multi-Union Affiliation

May 1, 2021
At Event Celebrating International Workers Day, UGSDW Officially Began Consideration of Joining Student Workers Across the Country in Affiliation with a National Union

Update on Mailroom Safety Campaign

March 19, 2021
Safety changes were only implemented by the college after mail services student workers organized together to demand changes in their workplace. New policies represent a necessary but insufficient response.

Mailroom Workers Organize

March 12, 2021

Student Workers in Mailroom Demand Improved Covid Protections and Working Conditions

Statement on College Loan Announcement

November 22, 2020

Press Release

Haverford Solidarity Statement

November 18, 2020

Dear Haverford Student Strike Organizers and Participants:

Dining Unit Members Reject College’s Final Offer

October 15, 2020

UGSDW members who work for Dining services voted overwhelmingly to reject Grinnell College’s final offer. The union and the college have been bargaining for months, and while the bargaining process has led to significant wins, including paid leave for student workers who are required to isolate under the college’s public health policy, discussions have now reached an impasse. The key issue that remains in dispute is wages. Union members have expressed significant need for a raise that reflects difficult economic circumstances, the real risk of working in-person during a pandemic, the ever-increasing cost of attending Grinnell, as well as the essential nature of dining work. In spite of these facts, and despite Grinnell’s continued claims that they can afford to give a raise of any size, the college refused the proposed raise to $11 an hour and also refused to offer any compromise. This can only be taken as a refusal to recognize the true value of student labor in Dining services.


Black Lives Matter

June 17, 2020

In this moment, we as the union’s Executive Board want to clearly affirm our belief that Black lives matter. We know that the fights we’re in on campus can’t be separated from racism, and that labor justice we care about and fight for cannot be separated from racial justice. We support all our members who are protesting and fighting for justice across the country right now, and we’re proud to stand in solidarity with you.

Work Study Transparency Petition Delivered!

May 5, 2020

On Monday, May 4th, UGSDW delivered our petition for Work Study Transparency to Grinnell College President Raynard Kington.


A New Beginning in Our Fight

February 8, 2020
We appreciate the Board of Trustees’ enthusiasm for improving worker conditions, but we continue to believe deeply that positive change must be driven by student workers themselves, and that only workers have the right to decide if they should have a union.
Union vote

UGSDW Members Elect 2020 Executive Board

December 13, 2019
Members voted in Decemeber to elect 2020 Executive Board. The newly elected officers will assume office on January 1, 2020.
Student worker speaking at the Enough Waiting rally

Trustees: No Decision on Expansion in 2019; Student Workers Rally Against Delays

December 2, 2019
Outside Nollen House, student workers and community supporters packed the lawn,sharing stories, and singing labor songs. In so doing, we sent a message loud and clear-we have had enough waiting.
Student workers protested against the Board's delay in May.

Statement on Board of Trustees Delay of Vote on Partial Expansion

September 28, 2019
Trustees delayed decision on partial expansion at the last minute again. UGSDW members are deeply disappointed.

Student Dining Workers Ratify New Contract with Grinnell College for Academic Year 2019-2020

June 10, 2019

Press Release

UGSDW Members Protesting to Demand Conversation on Expansion

Moving Backward: Statement on May 7 Student Campus Memo

May 8, 2019
Trustees suspended discussion on partial expansion at the last minute. UGSDW members are shocked, disappointed, and concerned.
Union vote

Members Elect Fall 2019 Executive Board

May 6, 2019
UGSDW voted on May 4, 2019 to elect officers of the Executive Board. The newly elected officers will assume office on July 1, 2019
Image of the Spencer Grill

UGSDW Unearths Evidence of Racial Discrimination at the Spencer Grill

January 21, 2019
New UGSDW Report Details Grinnell’s Consistent Bias in Discipline and Termination Decisions
Image of fireworks

UGSDW’s New Year Resolution

January 1, 2019
UGSDW revisits a historic year of labor organizing, and envisions the fight to build a powerful union for all working students in 2019.
Union members occupy Grinnell's administrative building.

Grinnell College Sent Backpedaling After Successful Student Demonstration

December 14, 2018
After a student occupation of Grinnell’s administrative building, President Kington said that the college would no longer oppose UGSDW’s request to withdraw its petition.
UGSDW march, December 7. Photo by Winnie Commers.

UGSDW Withdraws Petition, Seeks to Preserve Rights of Student Workers; Grinnell Opposes

December 14, 2018
To preserve student workers’ rights nationwide, UGSDW has requested to withdraw its position. Grinnell College is hypocritically opposing it.
UGSDW members march to protest Grinnell's actions

Grinnell College, Running Scared… to Trump

December 11, 2018
On Friday, Grinnell filed a request for review with the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C. If the NLRB grants the college’s request, it could undo our democratic election victory, and strip student workers in the U.S. of their right to unionize. We are disgusted and saddened by Grinnell’s decision to appeal.
Screenshot of framework agreement

Grinnell College Deals Fatal Blow to Civil Discourse… Again.

December 5, 2018
On Wednesday, President Kington officially ran out of excuses for its refusal to speak with Union leadership, instead resorting to blatant lies. This is yet another chapter in a long series of mistruths peddled by the College.
Student protesters marching

Grinnell College Threatens Union Members in Latest Blow to Civil Discourse

November 30, 2018
On Friday, after a successful labor action by UGSDW activists, Grinnell College made more baseless claims that jeopardize our campus’s essential freedoms.
Final tally of ballots

Student Workers: We’re Stickin’ with the Union

November 27, 2018
On Tuesday, ballots were cast and counted in the National Labor Relations Board’s secret ballot election determining whether student workers across campus want to be represented by UGSDW. We are excited to announce that we won the election by a five-to-one margin!
Proskauer Rose's headquarters in New York

Statement on Nov. 19 Special Campus Memo

November 19, 2018
Grinnell College has filed a motion to stay the union election and prevent student workers from voting. UGSDW is fighting tooth and nail to keep the election on track.

Statement on Nov. 12 Special Campus Memo

November 12, 2018
On Monday, Grinnell College administration released yet another Special Campus Memo responding to UGSDW’s continued fight for worker’s rights. They are grasping at straws.
NLRB Hearing, October 18, 2018

Student Workers Prevail as NLRB Directs Union Election

November 5, 2018
On Monday, November 5, the Regional Director of the NLRB in Minneapolis published a decision about our pending unionization case, directing an election for November 27.
Authorizations from Student Workers

UGSDW Files for Election, Paving the Way for Campus-wide Union

October 8, 2018
UGSDW filed a petition on Monday with the federal National Labor Relations Board, a first step towards a union election which would allow UGSDW to represent all student workers at Grinnell College. If more than 50% of the votes at the election are for the union, it will be certified, and the college will be required to start bargaining over wages, benefits, and workplace conditions.
Langston Thomas, speaking

The Most Unionized Campus in America

September 20, 2017
UGSDW announced Wednesday a new effort to unionize all student workers at Grinnell College. If successful, the union would triple the size of its bargaining unit and make Grinnell the only educational institution in the country to have every undergraduate worker represented by a union.
Workers at Grinnell's dining hall

Student Dining Workers Ratify New Contract with Grinnell College

September 9, 2017
UGSDW members voted unanimously Saturday to ratify a new two-year contract with Grinnell College, ending a months-long dispute over cost-of-living adjustments for dining hall employees. Beginning next week, wages will increase to $9.50 per hour from $9.25 per hour. Starting in July 2018, wages will increase again, in proportion to the raise received by other support staff at the college.

Members Reject Grinnell’s Final Offer — Again

August 27, 2017

Press Release

Bob's Underground Cafe

Statement on the Closing of Bob’s Underground Cafe and Lyle’s Pub

August 26, 2017

Press Release

Summer White

UGSDW Endorses Summer White for SGA President

February 23, 2017

Press Release

Spencer Grill

UGSDW Begins Unionization of the Spencer Grill

November 27, 2016

Press Release


First Contract Ratified!

September 27, 2016
Union members today approved their first contract with Grinnell College, and the first in the nation between a private college or university and an undergraduate labor union.
Bargaining Team

Tentative Agreement Reached

September 25, 2016
The Contract Bargaining Team today unanimously recommended the tentative collective bargaining agreement reached with Grinnell College.


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