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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Trustees will not yet vote on Union expansion

The Grinnell Board of Trustees announced that they would not vote on partial expansion of the Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers (USGDW) until the completion of a survey of student opinions regarding the union and the collection of other information. Partial expansion, as defined last semester, would allow the USGDW to practice collective bargaining on behalf of certain non-Dining campus jobs.

The Trustees originally decided to hold off on the vote at the end of last semester. They did not set a specific date for the new decision. Via an all-campus email from the Office of Communication, the Trustees sent out a Qualtrics link and an invitation to an in-person listening session to allow students to share their thoughts on the future decision. David Maxwell, chair of the Board of Trustees, wrote in an email to The S&B that “After the various in-person sessions have been held and online intake concludes, President Kington and the Trustees will begin a thorough process of reviewing and assessing all of the input received. Only then will the president and the Board begin the process of thoughtfully deliberating upon what they have heard.”

The S&B also spoke to USGDW President Sam Xu ’20. He said, “It was certainly one of the possibilities we’d considered, but we’re still very disappointed that they delayed voting, again, on a compromise agreement proposed by the College itself. So, it was disappointing and confusing, but we look forward to engaging in the input process, and we hope we can arrive at a just resolution on expansion as soon as possible.”

The email announcing that a vote on potential expansion would not take place this month stated that a decision would be made after all the information collected in the listening session and form responses is evaluated. Asked why the Trustees chose to hold these input opportunities later in the semester, Maxwell wrote, “In order for the Trustees to be able to schedule an in-person meeting with the Faculty Executive Council, a listening session for the Board with UGSDW representatives, and an open listening forum for all students to share their thoughts about student union expansion, we obviously needed to wait until those constituent groups were back on campus. Similarly, it made sense to wait for the start of the new academic year to set up and publicize the Qualtrics online form.”

No date has been announced for the projected commencement of talks regarding expansion. The listening session took place on the evening of Oct. 3, and the Qualtrics form for student input will remain open until Oct. 8. 

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