UGSDW

A Voice for Everyone.

Student workers deserve a say. That’s why we are joining together at UGSDW.

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. 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.

Together, we can advocate for our common goals in a way that has not been possible before. Student workers in Dining Services have fought for, and won, key improvements in wages and working conditions through UGSDW. Student workers outside Dining Services ought to have the right to do the same.

Expansion announcement

Learn More: Frequently Asked Questions »
Read More: A Case for UGSDW for All »

“Student workers can shape the college that they serve. The fight to increase dining hall wages is an amazing and powerful example of we can do when we combine our voices in the name of student power.”
— Langston Thomas ’20, peer educator and vice-chair of SPARC

Timeline

Partial Expansion

“We will fight to get to partial expansion. We will fight for all student workers, with or without formal union representation, in or out of partial expansion.”
— Sam Xu ’20, President, UGSDW

Ever since we announced our campaign to expand union representation beyond Dining Services, the college administration fought us at every turn, saying that student workers do not deserve any labor rights, lawyering up, and threatening the rights of student workers across the country.

Yet, student workers continued to organize, take direct action, and offer to discuss the administration’s concerns in good faith. In February 2019, UGSDW members made the difficult decision to agree to expand representation to jobs that were not “primarily educational” first. In May 2019, we again made a difficult decision to agree to a partial expansion proposal from the administration that would commit the college not to resist union expansion to 200+ student workers outside Dining, including those in Mail Services and Athletics.

But the trustees continued to deny student workers’ rights, delaying a vote on the deal in May and October, 2019. We will fight to get to partial expansion. We will fight for all student workers, with or without formal union representation, in or out of partial expansion.

Read More: Our Statement before the Trustees on Partial Expansion »

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