Mailroom Workers Organize

Student Workers in Mailroom Demand Improved Covid Protections and Working Conditions

At 6:00 PM on Friday, March 12, student workers in the mailroom sent a list of demands to supervisors and administration regarding inadequate COVID protections. After weeks of neglect from supervisors, these workers organized with UGSDW to demand immediate action.

The safety of mailroom workers has been jeopardized by consistent refusal from supervisors to wear proper masks and adhere to physical distancing protocols. Workers have also been consistently exposed to delivery workers entering the mailroom without any personal protective equipment. Mailroom supervisors should take responsibility to abide by and enforce Grinnell College’s COVID guidelines.

Additionally, mailroom workers receive unequal and insufficient wages compared to other student workers. Especially in a pandemic, it’s crucial that essential workers receive adequate compensation for their invaluable contributions to keep campus running.

On February 2nd, in an email to the student body, Anne Harris wrote “The College takes our public health and our collective responsibility for it seriously, and we will respond accordingly to situations that put the health of our community at risk.” As Grinnell brings more students back to campus for Spring Term 2, it is imperative that the college backs up this rhetoric about the importance of safety.

Workers can’t rely on their bosses to ensure their safety. Through collective action, they can fight for and win real safety on the job. UGSDW fully endorses the demands laid forth by the mailroom workers and reiterates its commitment to support all student workers at Grinnell. We encourage any workers with concerns about safety or unfair conditions to reach out for support organizing their co-workers for collective action.

Read the mailroom workers’ full list of demands here:

  1. All people entering the mail room wear real masks, that cover full mouth and nose area as well as keeping 6 feet of physical distance in between all workers in the mail room unless a mandatory tasks requires otherwise
  2. Supervisors respect physical boundaries and wear cloth masks that create a seal around the nose and mouth.
  3. Grinnell College will supply cloth masks, to be worn at all times, for everyone in the mailroom including supervisors and outside delivery workers if they do not have their own.
  4. College will provide signs about required PPE and physical distancing on every entrance and exit to the mailroom.
  5. Workers will have paid COVID leave, covering their wages if they get sick and must stay in isolation. Mail Service will provide clear information concerning communication between students and supervisors about COVID-19 quarantine protocol.
  6. Mail room workers should be prioritized for student vaccinations due to increased exposure and essential work.
  7. Eating will not be allowed in the mail room to reduce spread. Designate a separate room in JRC for employees and supervisors to eat in isolated space.
  8. All mailroom workers should be paid $10.00 an hour, with no disparity between cashiers/non-cashiers.
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