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Union plans to represent all student workers

Students+gathered+outside+of+Nollen+House+to+listen+to+the+Unions+announcement.+Contributed+photo.+
Gregory Garcia
Students gathered outside of Nollen House to listen to the Union’s announcement. Contributed photo.

On the lawn of Nollen House on Wednesday, Sept. 20, the Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers (UGSDW) announced their plan to unionize all student workers on campus. Until now, UGSDW has only included student dining workers.

“We want to advocate for the rights of everyone on campus. We want to go beyond that and be more inclusive,” said UGSDW Vice President Quinn Ercolani ’20.

To stand for all student workers, a majority of student workers must sign agreement cards that permit UGSDW to represent them.

“We think elections are kind of unrepresentative, you’re not able to make it to the voting place, you weren’t told about it, just a majority of people who voted. So we think the better thing is getting a full majority of all workers,” added UGSDW President Cory McCartan ’20. 

UGSDW also sent President Kington a letter that explained their efforts and contained a neutrality agreement that UGSDW challenged him to sign. The neutrality agreement is essentially a promise that the College will not interfere with the unionization process or engage in policies that pose a threat to unionization. The other component of this neutrality agreement asks the College recognize the representation of all student workers if UGSDW collects a majority of signed cards. 

UGSDW wants to be transparent to all student workers during this campaign. In an effort to facilitate these conversations and answer questions, UGSDW has planned three town hall meetings. These townhalls are scheduled from 8 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27, and from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30 and Sunday, Oct. 1.

Card signing began immediately after the announcement. UGSDW will collect cards until they hold a majority of cards from student workers. This process will extend beyond the fall if needed; the action will last as long as it takes to gather a majority of signed cards. After a majority is accumulated, the cards will be sent to a third party for a card check. This way students who signed the cards will remain confidential and the number of cards will be verified by someone who is not affiliated with either the College or UGSDW. 

“Hopefully this campaign is a success and we can represent all the student worker voices on campus,” Ercolani said. 

UGSDW does not not plan to interfere with the relationship between student workers and supervisors, but to simply act as a voice if it is needed. “Plenty of jobs that’s enough, you have a problem and you can talk to your supervisor and it’s resolved. Sometimes there’s deeper or structural broad problems where one person alone can’t fix it, and we can really be that [solution],”  McCartan said. 

If a majority of students sign on, UGSDW plans to create both an organizing committee and contract committee to represent students from every major department. Collective issues, such as the wage tiers, could be addressed by these committees. Department-specific issues would be left for those students to address. 

  

  

  

  

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