Latest News

2020 End of Year Update

January 6, 2021

Recap of 2020 work and election results:

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.

COVID-19 Open Letter to President Kington

April 8, 2020

On Wednesday, April 8th, the UGSDW Executive Board sent an open letter to President Raynard Kington detailing concerns about Grinnell Colleges response to the coronavirus crisis. Read the letter below:


COVID-19 Updates (March 31st, 2020)

March 31, 2020
We are pushing the administration to clarify new student worker policies. We encourage all student workers to fill out our COVID-19 survey, and join us at the online union meeting on April 12th.

Our Next Steps in the Time of COVID-19

March 12, 2020
This is a time when our solidarity and community become so much more important. Know that UGSDW as an organization is here for all of you. In this tumultuous time, we are striving to use every tool in our arsenal to maintain our fight for economic and social justice for all members of the Grinnell community.

Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and the Unist’ot’en house group

March 5, 2020

Student workers stand in solidarity with Indeginous people in their struggle.


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.

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

November 8, 2019
The Board of Trustees refused to release a timeline on partial expansion. 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.
Isaiah Gutman '23 in the UGSDW Office

First Year Student: Why I am Fighting for Union Expansion

October 11, 2019
Although Grinnell has many draws, like its strong academics and the intimate campus, one of the primary reasons I came here was the Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers.
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.

Alumni: It is Time for Trustees to Accept Selective Expansion

September 28, 2019
Ahead of the October Board of Trustees meeting, 200 Grinnell alumni urges trustees to accept partial expansion of union representation to student workers.

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
UGSDW members occupying Nollen House on Dec. 14, 2018

Statement on Feb. 21 Special Campus Memo

February 21, 2019
Fighting for all student workers, UGSDW looks forward to a dialogue with the administration.
Letter sent to Grinnell's Board of Trustees

Our Letter to the Board of Trustees

February 9, 2019
UGSDW President Quinn Ercolani sent a letter to the trustees, explaining the reasons behind our recent disruption of their meeting, and reiterating our request for discussion and dialogue with the college.
UGSDW members sing at a meeting of the Board of Trustees.

Trustees Walk Out as UGSDW Asks for Dialogue

February 8, 2019
On February 8, to reiterate our demand for President Kington to meet with us and discuss our ongoing expansion campaign, 40 UGSDW members peacefully disrupted a meeting of the trustees of the college.
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!

A Case for UGSDW for All

November 23, 2018
UGSDW lays out a compelling case for voting YES on November 27, and explains why the college’s arguments amount to little more than fearmongering.
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.
Joe Rosenfield Center, where Dining Services is located

UGSDW Wins Reinstatement for Student Employees

July 14, 2018
UGSDW won reinstatement of 146 wrongfully fired student dining employees, but much remains to be improved in the employment practices of Grinnell College. UGSDW will fight toward a campus-wide union to address problems across the campus.

A Response to President Kington

April 19, 2018
Today President Kington sent out a Special Campus Memo addressing our ongoing unionization efforts. The memo is full of vague statements, and a few thinly-veiled threats. Notably absent is the recognition we have been fighting for: that student workers are employees and have the right to organize. The administration refuses to treat us as such; instead they advance an argument against unionization that is simply unsupported by the facts.

Grinnell’s Anti-worker Agenda

November 16, 2017

In September, UGSDW announced a campaign to bring union representation to all student workers at Grinnell. We tried to work with the Grinnell administration to reach an agreement that would ensure students had the right to decide for themselves whether to unionize or not, free from interference and intimidation.

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

Financial Report

End-of-Year Financial Report

June 6, 2017

Press Release

Members Unanimously Reject College Proposal

May 17, 2017

In a special meeting UGSDW members unanimously rejected the College’s final proposal for the 2017-2018 contract. The college offered a paltry ten cent raise, but only starting in 2018. The members have communicated to the college that, for now, they will not accept a wage below $9.60, a cost of living adjustment that matched the increase in Grinnell’s comprehensive fee for the 2017-18 academic year. The college has refused to recognize that the wages that we make go directly to paying for food and other amenities that we need to attend Grinnell, which only becomes harder and harder as tuition is increased year over year.

Grinnell’s Final Offer

May 15, 2017

Today administrators with the College presented their final contract offer. While many of the Union’s original proposals, such as increased bonus tiers and better handling of health and safety issues, were included, the College’s proposal does not include any change to the current base wage of $9.25 an hour.

Cleveland Beach

May Day Barbecue

April 27, 2017

Join us at Cleveland Beach from 4:30–6:00 p.m. on Sunday April 30 (rain location: Loose Lounge) for a barbecue to celebrate May Day and International Workers’ Day. Come and enjoy hot dogs and other refreshments. Vegan and gluten-free options will be available.

Ballot box

2017–2018 Officer Elections

April 17, 2017
UGSDW officer elections will be held on Saturday, May 6, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in JRC 209. All four Executive Board positions will be elected to a term of one year.
Equal Wage Protest

Equal Wage Protest a Success!

April 11, 2017
On Monday, April 10, UGSDW members protested Grinnell’s treatment of high school dining workers. The union gathered over 200 signatures, and raised awareness of the college’s outrageous behavior.

Equal Wage Protest

April 8, 2017

On Monday, April 10, UGSDW will be outside the dining hall protesting the College’s treatment of high school workers.


Grinnell, Stop Cheating Your Workers

April 4, 2017
We hear a lot about Grinnell’s commitment to social responsibility. It’s plastered all over the College’s website and the glossy brochures it sends out every fall. But what does that commitment look like in practice?
Summer White

UGSDW Endorses Summer White for SGA President

February 23, 2017

Press Release

Experience Pay Bonuses

December 7, 2016

Don’t miss the opportunity to earn experience pay for the Fall 2016 semester! Our contract requires that you work at least 110 hours this semester in order to qualify for a bonus. Hours worked before the contract went into effect count towards this amount.

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.