UGSDW and Grinnell College collective bargaining proposals, side-by-side


Owen Barbato

The Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers held a rally before the Nov. 10 collective bargaining session in support of Just Cause for academic workers and keeping negotiations open to an in-person audience.

Ellianna Cierpiot, Staff Writer

The following is a summary of each UGSDW and College written proposal presented at collective bargaining up to this point. It does not reflect all changes made or agreements reached during the Nov. 17 collective bargaining session nor does it include every aspect of all the UGSDW or College proposals.


Coverage and Jurisdiction 

UGSDW is the sole bargaining representative of all undergraduate student workers employed by the College. This excludes students whose sole employment relationship with the college is an internship, Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) or an equivalent relationship.

Just Cause Employment 

UGSDW’s Just Cause proposal states that employees shall not be disciplined or discharged without just cause and invokes seven tests of just cause to determine if a firing or disciplinary action was just. 

It also establishes a course of progressive discipline before termination. The proposal also states that violations of workplace rules would not carry over between jobs or semesters, and each rule has its own separate progression for violations. 

An employee cannot receive multiple warnings for violation of the same rule within a single shift. An employee can be placed on paid investigatory leave. If a termination is found to be without just cause, the employee will be reinstated and receive back pay plus 50%. 

UGSDW must be provided with a written record of disciplinary action taken against protected student employees within two days for the action to be valid.

Including academic workers (graders, research assistants and lab assistants) under the provisions of Just Cause and the Grievance process is a hard-line stance for UGSDW. 

Grievance Procedures 

Within UGSDW’s proposals, a grievance would apply to the interpretation, application or claims of violation of a term of the contract. It also applies to any dispute over corrective action taken against a student employee.

UGSDW’s proposals would require the employee or UGSDW representative to notify the College within 30 days of the grievance occurring. 

If the matter is still not resolved after going through the grievance process, the grievance will be submitted to arbitration. The arbitration process would involve arbitrators chosen by both the College and UGSDW to conduct a hearing and settle the dispute. 

Information to the UGSDW

UGSDW’s proposals require information about workplaces, hirings, firings and discipline to be sent to the union each week.

Since this information is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), UGSDW has proposed that the College should place this information under the category of directory information, which could be shared without an opt-in waiver. Under FERPA, individual colleges can decide what is and is not directory information as long as they publicly notify students. 

UGSDW has also stated that they would be willing to consider a waiver if the College requires student employees to undergo a paid union orientation before they begin working.

Workplace Health and Safety

UGSDW’s workplace safety proposal would establish a two-hour paid workplace training, which would cover general employee and workplace-specific skills as well as health and safety information. It also proposes COVID-19 precautions. 

The proposal would also allow employees to wear noise-canceling headphones or earphones, provide chairs for workplaces that have extended-standing and allow students with medical conditions to take breaks for medical needs. 


UGSDW has not yet released a proposal that responds to the College’s wages proposal. 

Union Security & Dues 

This proposal would allow for employees to authorize a dues check-off, which will deduct dues from the employee’s paycheck.

Grinnell College

Coverage and Jurisdiction 

The College and UGSDW have reached a tentative agreement on who the UGSDW represents. 

Just Cause Employment 

The College’s proposals also include Just Cause provisions, stating that employees will not be terminated without just cause. It outlines a progressive discipline procedure that would provide a student worker two written warnings before imposing discipline or job separation. 

The College’s proposal states that student workers cannot be disciplined or discharged without just cause. However, it also includes a clause for immediate termination should a student employee falsify their employment application, time card or other College records; cause injury to property, person or public relations as a result of carelessness or lack of attention; commit any criminal act; harass others; violate the College’s Title IX, non-discrimination, or confidentiality policies; or refuse to perform assigned duties.

Academic workers are excluded from Just Cause and Grievance Procedures under what the College calls the fundamentals of academic freedom.

Grievance Procedures 

The College defines a grievance as a dispute, claim or complaint that arises under the contract terms. 

The grievance must be filed within three calendar days of the grievance occurring. 

The College proposal for the Grievance Procedure includes an arbitration process which can be requested by either UGSDW or the College. 

Information to the UGSDW

The College has proposed a waiver for student workers to sign that would 

allow them to opt-in to share employment information (such as hirings, firings and discipline) with the union. 

Since this information is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), students need to sign the proposed waiver to allow this information to be released, according to the College. 

Workplace Health and Safety

The College has not yet released a proposal that responds to UGSDW’s health and safety proposal. 


The College has proposed a two-level system for base wages. Level 1 workers would receive $10.75/hr while Level 2 workers would receive $12.50. The pay level would depend on the workplace of the student employee and their work expectations. This wage would rise 2% per year for the first four years to reach $11.41/hr and 13.27/hr. 

Union Security & Dues 

The College has not yet released a proposal that responds to UGSDW’s Union Security and Dues proposal.