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The College announces plan to appeal NLRB decision

On Monday, Nov. 5, The National Labor Review Board (NLRB) granted the Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers (UGSDW) the right to hold an election that expands union coverage to all student workers. In response, the Grinnell College administration sent out a special campus memo on Tuesday, Nov. 6, announcing their plans to appeal the verdict.

The memo justified the College’s appeal efforts by reiterating their main arguments from the Oct. 18-19 NLRB hearing that preceded the ruling.

First, the memo claimed that students who work at the College do not attend the institution for the primary purpose of employment; second, that except for dining services, a single union could not adequately represent the interests of students working a variety of different on-campus jobs.

The memo also asserted that there has been “misinformation and misrepresentation of the College’s position relative to unions.”

“The College has supported the interest of both staff and students to unionize and the College has active unions on campus … It is important that the implications of all student workers being represented by a union is fully understood by all parties,” stated the memo.

“In continuing to fight us on this, in appealing this decision, in making undergraduates argue against union busting lawyers, the College can’t claim to be pro-Union,” said Paige Oamek ’20, a UGSDW member.

At the end of the memo, the administration alluded to a potentially fractious relationship with UGSDW if either UGSDW initiated a strike or the College initiated a lockout. A lockout is a temporary labor stoppage imposed by the management of a company during a dispute.

It is unclear whether the College would initiate a lockout if UGSDW proceeds in their expansion, a measure that would cause the many students employed at the College to lose their primary sources of income.

“It’s ironic that this memo was sent out today, Nov. 6, when the people of Grinnell and of Iowa and of this Country are voting in many places to decide whether there will be pro-union or anti-union members of their legislature,” said Nate Williams, also a UGSDW member. “When you’re fighting a union on a day like this, you’re siding with the politicians that hold corporations above everyday people.”

UGSDW endorsed Deidre DeJear for secretary of state and Abby Finkenauer for Congress, both pro-union candidates.

The Union will issue a response to the Memo and discuss their upcoming plans at a meeting tomorrow, Nov. 7 at 9 p.m. in Main Quad Dining.

The S&B reached out to the president of the College, Raynard Kington, and the College administration for comment and will update this article in the event of their response.

Update: As of Nov. 7, Kington has declined to comment at this time.


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