UGSDW Bargaining: March 6 bargaining update


Evan Hein

UGSDW held an organizing meeting on Sunday, Feb. 26.

Taylor Nunley, Staff Writer

At the collective bargaining session on March 2, the Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers (UGSDW) bargaining team and the College’s bargaining team negotiated a new proposal concerning leaves of absence and revisited issues surrounding health and safety in the workplace. 

During the meeting, the UGSDW bargaining team expressed concerns over the current process of progressive discipline for student workers before being terminated. “Let’s give them [the student workers] a chance to respond … before that action is taken,” said Isaiah Gutman `23, a member of the UGSDW bargaining team. 

Both teams also discussed the right to have a union representative or steward at this disciplinary meeting, to which the College’s bargaining team took no issue. The College proposed including language saying, “Workers have the right to not have a union representative present.” UGSDW said they would have a response to this clause at the next meeting.

The UGSDW bargaining team also reiterated their concern over the Just Cause process; they said they would speak more fully on this in another session. 

UGSDW’s new proposal on leaves of absence yielded several concerns for the College. Similar to their healthcare rebate proposed at last week’s session, the College said the current benefits outlined in UGSDW’s proposal far exceed what non-student workers receive. Currently, UGSDW’s proposal allots 8 hours of paid time off to all student workers for any reason. The College debated the phrase “any reason” and the possibility of students who work little hours being able to take off 8 hours. UGSDW said they would consider a gradation based on hours worked. 

The College also brought up problems with not needing to provide documentation for leaves such as paid time off and bereavement leave. 

The respective bargaining teams also referenced a section in the new UGSDW proposal which outlines leave for municipal obligations, specifically elections. The College said UGSDW’s current language implies that all workers can take a paid day off to vote; the UGSDW bargaining team disagreed and said this would only be necessary if a scheduled shift interfered. 

The last section concerned health and safety. UGSDW brought forth issues with reporting COVID-19 in workplaces; the College said that reporting each case could violate privacy issues in small groups. Anonymous notifications were suggested as a counter. Finally, both teams negotiated workplace protections for disabled workers. The College agreed there is a need to put certain requirements — like how long a worker will be standing or weight lifted — in job descriptions. But they also stressed that students understand the requirements of different on-campus jobs and said many positions already have accommodations in place. The UGSDW bargaining team said the need for these protections in the contract is for students to understand they could utilize them. 

Bargaining will continue on Thursday, March 9 at 4:15 p.m. 

As student workers, all staff members of the S&B will be included in future collective bargaining. The S&B remains an independent newspaper and is committed to maintaining its integrity in reporting.

Correction from last week’s bargaining article: The College’s bargaining team’s proposed change to a base wage of $10.75 would actually only affect Level I jobs, not all jobs on campus. Only 10% of student workers would be paid at Level I wages according to the College’s proposed pay tier system.