Our Next Steps in the Time of COVID-19

Updated March 15th, 2020

Dear UGSDW members:

It’s been a really crazy few days. Basically all of us are going through a major emotional and social change, and some of us are dealing with much more difficult and scary stuff. This is a time when our solidarity and community become so much more important. Know that UGSDW as an organization is here for all of you. In this tumultuous time, we are striving to use every tool in our arsenal to maintain our fight for economic and social justice for all members of the Grinnell community. Here are our next steps in the immediate future:

Online Union Meeting

Members run our union. We need to figure out how we can continue to make decisions in a democratic way while most of us are off campus. To talk about this and to open up a community space of love and solidarity, we’ll hold an online union meeting soon.

Student Employees of Dining Services

Our current union contract is still in effect for all student employees of Grinnell College Dining Services (Marketplace Dining Hall, Spencer Grill, Catering). However, Grinnell College may adopt a series of policy changes with regard to student dining workers. While our contract allows for certain unilateral work rule changes by the administration, the administration has a legal obligation to bargain with UGSDW over other policy changes. We are actively monitoring any policy changes at Dining Services, and ask student dining workers to contact us (union@ugsdw.org) about any questions or concerns they have about employment policies of Dining Services.

UGSDW will service all grievances. If you feel that Grinnell College has violated the current union contract, you can still file grievances to defend your rights. We are confident that we can handle all grievances remotely, and hope to ensure in-person access to UGSDW representatives on campus. Please contact our grievance team (cgo@ugsdw.org), if you have any questions or concerns, or wish to file a grievance under the current union contract.

Collective bargaining for Academic Year 2020-21: The current union contract expires on June 30th, 2020. Right now we don’t know how we’ll bargain the next contract while many of us are off-campus, but we will discuss this issue at the soon-to-be-held online union meeting


Support for All Student Workers and Community Members

Grinnell College has announced new student employment policies around work-study, need-based financial aid, remote work, and work grants. At this time, we do not have information on the details of these policies, but we are actively monitoring the situation, and administrators have suggested speaking to the Office of Financial Aid if you have specific questions. We will be an advocate and resource for all student workers and community members in navigating these policies to the best of our capacity. Please contact us (union@ugsdw.org) if you have any questions or concerns, need any assistance, or just want someone to help you work through the bureaucracy to get what you need.

Also, the Grinnell community has been using this spreadsheet to coordinate information and resources including housing, storage, and other needs. Please use it if you need to, and consider what you have to give to others who are in more need.

Above all, remember that even though we have to isolate from each other physically, we will get through this so much better if we come together as a community. If you need help, ask, and if you have some capacity to help, be ready to step up. Take care of each other.

In love and solidarity,

UGSDW Executive Board

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