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UGSDW withdraws petition to expand union, case will not reach NLRB

Student+protesters+gather+outside+Mears+Cottage+awaiting+orders+to+march+to+Nollen+House.+Photo+by+Jackson+Schulte.
Student protesters gather outside Mears Cottage awaiting orders to march to Nollen House. Photo by Jackson Schulte.
Student protesters gather outside Mears Cottage awaiting orders to march to Nollen House. Photo by Jackson Schulte.

The Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers (UGSDW) withdrew their petition to expand membership campus-wide.

Regarding the withdrawal, the College wrote in an official statement to The S&B, “The College has not, and will not, oppose the union’s request to withdraw its petition. The College’s concern has always been about how the expansion of the student union could affect Grinnell’s distinctive culture and diminish educational opportunities for our students. We believe the actions we took to preserve our educational mission were in the best interests of the Grinnell College community.”

The College says that this will end any possibility for the case to go to the NLRB. “We anticipate when the NLRB accepts the union’s withdrawal our appeal will be moot,” wrote Debra Lukehart, vice president for communications, in a later email to The S&B.

In response to the union having to withdraw due to the College’s decision to appeal, students marched from Main Quad to Nollen House today at 4 p.m. Nate Williams ‘20, union member and one of the organizers of the march, said, “If we are threatened with conduct violations, we will leave.”

Students occupied most of the first floor and the staircases of Nollen House. College President Raynard Kington did not appear at the protest, but other College administrators did.

Later in the day, the College publicly stated it “has not, and will not, oppose the union’s request to withdraw its petition,” revising their earlier statement that they would continue their case to the NLRB and reject the union’s withdrawal. A successful appeal could end unions on college campuses across the U.S.

Before the protest, advisor to the union Cory McCartan ’19 said, “The College is now saying that they don’t intend to oppose, but that is a lie because the lawyers called this morning to oppose the petition. So, despite their misleading public statements, the College is trying to strip student workers of their rights nationwide.” McCartan represented the union in the Oct. 17 and 18 election expansion hearing.

Again, as of now, the College is stating that they are not anticipating the case to go to the NLRB anymore.

The S&B will keep the campus community updated as it unfolds.

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