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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Letter to the Editor: A message on selective union expansion from 200+ alums


Dear Board of Trustees and Members of the Grinnell Community:

We are concerned alumni writing to encourage the Board of Trustees to approve a selective voluntary expansion of the student union at its October meeting. This approval would be consistent with both the principles the College articulated in opposing the expansion of the union to all student workers and the principles the College articulated in voluntarily recognizing the dining hall worker’s union. We applaud the cordial, fruitful negotiations between President Kington and the student worker union leaders over several months.

Most of us became aware of the union expansion issue last fall. Many of us have proudly joined unions in our post-Grinnell careers and felt unpersuaded by the College’s argument that a broader student union would harm Grinnell’s culture.

Grinnell College told alumni that it opposed expansion for those student workers whose jobs were closely interrelated to their education. But the College’s petition for review to the National Labor Relations Board, drafted by highly partisan legal counsel, called for restrictions on student worker protections far more draconian than the College’s public pronouncements. It would have eliminated virtually all NLRB protections for both undergraduate and graduate students in all U.S. private colleges and universities. Considering the political nature of the current NLRB, we agreed with the decision of the UGSDW to withdraw its expansion petition.

We were pleased when the College then engaged in dialogue with student union leaders about selective expansion to jobs not core to the educational process. Selective expansion appears consistent with the College’s history of voluntarily recognizing the original dining hall workers’ union.

We were troubled by the decision of the Board of Trustees last spring to postpone voting to approve selective expansion. We are hopeful the delay was merely caused by a desire to fully examine the implications of the selective expansion and not by the College pulling back from its willingness to dialogue with its student worker union.

The last year has been difficult for the Grinnell community as it struggled with these issues. It has diverted attention from many important initiatives at the College. The dialogue has become quite intemperate at times. This is not how the Grinnell community should resolve issues.

We are proud that Grinnell College was the first college where undergraduate students organized, and that the College recognized a union. It is time for the Trustees to accept selective expansion, the compromise reached by President Kington and the students, so that all members of this community can focus on moving forward to make the College an even better place for students, faculty, administration, alumni, and the community at large.



Philip Bertenthal ‘68

Cady Landa ‘75, PhD

Sharyn Obsatz ‘93, Executive Committee Member, Santa Monica College Faculty Association

Naida Tushnet ‘61, PhD

Susan Allyn Carlson ‘68

Alana Smart ‘68, Attended Grinnell on a union scholarship

Vivian Adzaku ‘68

Ron Cogswell ‘68

the Rev. Dr. Judith H. W. Crossett ‘68, MD, PhD

Charles Connerly ‘68, Professor, University of Iowa; Former member, United Faculty of Florida

Kathryn Byrd ‘69

John M. Wylie II’75, Retired class agent after almost a quarter century’s service

Ilene Porper ‘76

Timothy A. Connor ‘79, Psy.D., member SEIU

Mark Resch ‘80

Karl Dukstein ‘81

Wesley Kennedy ‘81, Alumni Association Senior Award, ‘81; Past Chairman, Wall Service Award Committee

Matthew Smith ‘83

Lisa Sergienko ‘84

Lynne Charles ‘85

Christopher Wilde ‘88, Former CWA Union Member

Carol Duling ‘88

Marcia McCormick ‘89, J.D.

David Warwick ‘90, UAW Local 892

Emily Nehus ‘91

Andrew F Eichmann ‘91

Raven Pyle-McCrackyn ‘91, CFP, EA, CFSLA

Daniel Werner ‘91, Recipient of Grinnell College 2017 Honorary Doctor of Laws; 2016 Alumni Award recipient

Peter C. Haney ‘91, AFSCME Local 2412

Kristin Hoffschmidt ‘91, United Legal Workers UAW 2320

Eva-Lise Carlstrom ‘92

Josh Nathan ‘92

Louise Alcorn ‘92, Iowa public librarian.

Amihan Huesmann ‘93, Current member of United Faculty and Academic Staff (AFT 223); Past president and member of Teaching Assistants’ Association (AFT 3220)

Julie Fisher-Rowe ‘93

Scott C Wittstruck ‘93

Talia Loos ‘93

Jonathan Kissam ‘95, UE

Nathan Rickard ‘96

Miles Stern ‘96, Field Representative, Massachusetts Teachers Association

Anna Dudda ‘96

Hollis Pfitsch ‘96

Joshua Trost ‘97, Extinction Rebellion Madison

Leslie Madsen ‘97

Alyssa Popowitch ‘98

Aaron Wagner ‘99

Scott L Hamilton ‘99

Cori Madrid ‘00

Brooke Heaton ‘00

Audrey Hendrickson ‘01, MPH; CCRP

Paul Carlson ‘02

Elise Golden ‘02

Courtney Wyly ‘03

Charles S. Campbell ‘05

Trevor Harran ‘06

Andrew Behrendt ‘06, Member, American Federation of Teachers

Kara Moskowitz’06

Paula Forbes ‘06, Member of the Freelance Solidarity Project, part of the National Writers Union

Grant Woodard ‘06

Peter Leo ‘06

Jason Rathod ‘06

Kate Diedrick ‘07, Researcher, Communications Workers of America

Elizabeth L Yang ‘07

Sarah Smith ‘07

Brendan Mackie ‘07, PhD Candidate, UC Berkeley, UAW Member

Janaki Silva ‘07

Liza Asbury Newman ‘08

John M Pohanka ‘08

Lindsey Taggart ‘08

Tom Baldwin ‘08

Erin Sindewald ‘08

Spencer Green ‘08

Christina Gargiullo-Silva ‘08, Master of Divinity

Grant Custer ‘08

Emily Iwuc ‘08

Kevin Marcou ‘08, AFGE

Vincent Mertes ‘08

Kirby Ramstad ‘08

Jo ‘08

Alec Schierenbeck ‘09

Claire Comstock-Gay ‘09

Jess Issacharoff ‘09

Evan Ferrier ‘09

Molly McArdle ‘09, DC Posse 1

Rex Unger ‘09

Parvoneh Shirgir ‘09

Soleil Ho ‘09, Chronicle Pacific Media Workers Guild

Jaimie Stomberg ‘09

Eric Husted ‘09, Oakland Education Association

Lindsay Robinson ‘09, M.A.T.

Alexandra Conlon ‘09

Erin McBurney ‘09

Emma Silverman ‘09

Timothy Hederman ‘10

Meghan McDoniel ‘10

Lindsey (Wheeler) Lee ‘10, Esq.

Chloe Moryl ‘10

Aimee Tabrizi ‘10, NYC public school teacher-United Federation of Teachers

J. Alex Schechter ‘10

Josh Tetenbaum ‘10, Boston Teachers Union, American Federation of Teachers

Jamie Alper ‘10

Sarah Black ‘10

Graham (Gretel) Carlson ‘10

Eleanor Russell ‘10

Elizabeth Miller ‘10, MPA; AFSCME Local 1

Alexander Brooks ‘10

Stephanie Watanabe ‘10

Davis Hermann ‘11

Christopher Wilson ‘11

Celeste Larkin ‘11

Laura Cesa ‘11, PhD

Julia Gerasimenko ‘12

Katie Moy-Santos ‘12, AFSCME Council 3

Justin Miller ‘12, AFSCME Local 1215

Matthew Corley ‘12

Jackie Blair ‘12

Jackson Menner ‘13

Robert Mulry ‘13

Linnea Dolph ‘14, Current UC Student Workers Union Member

Nate Cancilla ‘14

Lauren ‘14

Emily Mester ‘14

Taylor J Dabney ‘15

Sayles Kasten ‘15

Addison Coley ‘15

Austin McKenney ‘15

Emma Sinai-Yunker ‘15

Christian Noyce ‘15, Michigan GEO

Miriam Clayton ‘15

Eden Marek ‘15

James Marlow ‘16

Meagan McKinstry ‘16

Dan Davis ‘16

Patrick Slough ‘16

Leo Abbe-Schneider ‘16

Madeleine Hardt ‘17

Louise Carhart ‘17

Gargi Magar ‘17

Valerie McGraw’17, UAW 2865

Kyren DiMarzio ‘17

Jenkin Benson ‘17

Adam Hudson ‘17

Corey Alt ‘17

Carly Macdonald ‘17

Austin Jacob Wadle ‘18, SEIU Local 27

Misha Laurence’18

Anna Schierenbeck ‘18

Vincent Benlloch ‘18

Alice Herman ‘18

Ella Williams ‘18

Allison Bartz ‘18, UW-Madison TAA Member

Jin Chang ‘18

Ric Tennenbaum ‘18

Charlie Rosenblum ‘18

Clare Nash ‘18

Henry Bolster ‘18

Kirsten Gillis ‘18

Isaac Mielke ‘18

Nina Galanter ‘18

Emily Porter ‘18

Cory McCartan ‘19, Proud member of HGSU-UAW

Takshil Sachdev ‘19

Jacob Friedman ‘19

Reina Matsuura’19

Lydia James ‘19

Mira Braneck ‘19

Madeline Birchfield ‘19

Allyson Leicht ‘19

Ross Floyd ‘19, Member of Communication Workers of America

Nolan Boggess ‘19

Peter Cipriano ‘19

Alec Doss ‘19

Addison Gould ‘19

Tara Verma ‘19

Lauren Frankel ‘19

Gemma Nash ‘19

Phoebe Schreckinger ‘19

Kaitie Hess ‘19

Zachary John Susag ‘19

Andrea Baumgartel ‘19

Candace Mettle’19

Cole Riley ‘19

Naomi Runder ‘19

Sophie Wynde ‘19

Ashley Alto ‘19

Riley Murphy ‘19

Dylan Welch ‘19

Cait Mohr ‘19

Preksha Bajaj ‘19

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    Andrew DerksenOct 9, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    Add Andrew Derksen, ’00 to the list. I’d have signed the letter had it crossed my desk before submission.