Collective bargaining yields first tentative agreement


Owen Barbato

Members of the College’s team just before the Nov. 10 collective bargaining session. From left: Clark Lindgren, Marc Reed, Germaine Gross, Jana Grimes, Brad Lindberg and Frank Harty.

Ellianna Cierpiot, Staff Writer

At the collective bargaining session on Thursday, Nov. 17, teams from the Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers (UGSDW) and Grinnell College continued discussions about Just Cause and the Grievance Procedure as well as reached a tentative agreement on UGSDW’s inclusion of grant-funded positions into the bargaining unit. Overnight stay coordinators would also now be included under the unit per the tentative agreement. 

The majority of this session was spent negotiating the Just Cause proposals from both UGSDW and the College, specifically the inclusion or exclusion of academic workers from the provisions on filing grievances and Just Cause. The teams discussed the timeline of both UGSDW’s grievance and Just Cause proposals, and the College expressed concerns that the timeline for progressive discipline was too lengthy and would create problems for academic workers due to the short semesters. 

Since academic workers are generally not fired and instead reassigned, the progressive discipline process could take too long, according to Brad Lindberg, a member of the College’s bargaining team. The teams discussed writing a separate Just Cause provision for academic workers or reducing the number of written warnings to streamline this process, but an agreement has not yet been reached. 

UGSDW considers including academic workers under Just Cause and Grievance Procedure provisions to be a hard-line stance. 

For the first time, the UGSDW and College bargaining teams were able to reach a tentative agreement on who is included within UGSDW’s bargaining unit. At the previous session, UGSDW’s bargaining team brought up the inclusion of grant-funded positions into the bargaining unit. Although the College’s team expressed concerns about this, they agreed to remove the exclusion of grant-funded positions from the unit. Both groups planned to meet in small groups to discuss which positions would be considered employees to be included in the unit on a case-by-case basis. 

UGSDW also introduced new proposals on health and safety and union security and dues.

In a short discussion on the union’s Past Practices clause, the College’s bargaining team questioned the limitations this clause would place upon them in closing workplaces in between academic years and semesters. The UGSDW team brought up what they called an assumption of rehiring, where student workers would expect to be rehired to jobs that only hire on a semester basis. As a result, UGSDW’s proposed contract would require the College to bargain closing or modifying these workplaces in between semesters. They provided the example of the College no longer hiring students as All Campus Events Student Safety (ACESS) staff this semester and instead relying on student volunteers. 

The next bargaining session will take place on Dec. 1. An additional session may be scheduled before then, but that has yet to be determined as of Nov. 17. 

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.