Student Dining Workers Ratify New Contract with Grinnell College for Academic Year 2019-2020

Press Release

Higher Wages and Clearer Leave Policy; UGSDW to Build More Anti-Discrimination Resources

Recently, members of the Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers (UGSDW) unanimously voted to ratify a new dining contract for the 2019-2020 academic year. The new contract provides a base wage of $10, a 2.4% increase of the current base wage of $9.76. Notably, most returning student dining workers can earn equal to, or more than, $10.50 an hour under the new experience pay structure. The new contract also contains a clearer leave policy and a more consistent discipline protocol, among other improvements in working conditions.


Although the new contract includes language condemning workplace discrimination and harassment, expanded accessibility accommodations, and mandatory diversity and inclusion training for full-time staff, it does not provide student workers a channel to pursue remedies for workplace discrimination and harassment outside Grinnell College’s internal procedures. Meanwhile, UGSDW is dedicated to building resources that help student workers navigate Grinnell College’s internal anti-discrimination and harassment procedures, especially in the context of student employment.

The contract came after weeks of heated back-and-forth at the bargaining table. Luca Nelson ‘20, bargaining team member who was in charge of anti-discrimination and anti-harassment commented, “We were able to negotiate a strong contract and made major progress for our members. Although we were not able to secure a union-specific path for discrimination and harassment complaints in the contract, we have secured the ability of union representatives to offer support in these processes and are now working on an internal procedure to better support the members as they navigate these difficult situations.”

Membership participation is also indispensable for progress made in the new contract. Sam Xu ‘20, bargaining representative and President-Elect of UGSDW said, “A record number of members responded to our bargaining survey, and I do not think the administration would have reached an agreement with us without all the organizing and actions our members have participated in throughout the academic year.” Sam Xu ‘20 continued, “Not only does this contract bring tangible progress to student dining workers, but also it shows that there is power in a union and positions us well for our continued fight for all student workers.”

The dining contract for the 2019-2020 academic year will be effective as of July 1, 2019 and will terminate on June 30, 2020.

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