Student workers deserve a say. UGSDW can give them one.
- October 8, 2018: UGSDW has filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board, setting up a campus-wide election in the coming weeks.
Why a union?
Workers deserve a voice. Without student workers, there would be no food, no library, no mentor sessions, no mail delivery. We do vital work for the college. Some students work 20 hours a week. We should have a say in how we work.
Grinnell has always valued self-governance. College president George Gates famously said that “It is 10,000 times better that young people should learn to govern themselves.” Despite this, self-governance is notably absent in the workplace. Wages and hours are set arbitrarily by the administration, and jobs can disappear without notice or discussion.
UGSDW can provide a voice to student workers. Together, we can advocate for our common goals in a way that has not been possible before. We have an opportunity to fundamentally rethink the relationship between student labor and the college. We can make Grinnell the most unionized campus in the country, a place where democracy and fair wages are the rule rather than the exception.
If students choose to be represented by UGSDW, we will begin negotiating a contract with Grinnell. First, we’ll survey our members and hold meetings to decide bargaining priorities. A bargaining comitee comprised of workers from across campus will then sit down with college administrators and negotiate over wages, benefits, rules, and more.
In our discussions with student workers, several key issues have come up again and again. These are issues that will be central to our first contract campaign:
A campus-wide minimum wage of $10.00 an hour. Tuition and fees keep rising, but wages are raised infrequently and arbitrarily. It’s time to bring Grinnell into the 21st century and start paying fair wages.
Explicit non-discrimination provisions and a fair discipline procedure.
Grinnell’s existing discrimination procedures have proved inadequate in addressing workplace issues. Additionally, a lack of a fair and consistent discipline procedure has led to wrongful mass firings.
Leave for illness and other emergencies. While the college has stated that they reserve the right to fire employees for being “too sick,” we believe that leave for medical treatment, family emergencies, and illness is a basic right. Giving employees one paid sick day a semester would discourage them from working while sick and endangering their peers.