Students at Grinnell College are looking to expand the reach of the nation’s only independent undergraduate student workers union. They want the labor organization representing dining hall workers to cover all student workers on campus.
The Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers has negotiated contracts for undergraduate dining hall workers since the spring of 2015. In that time, it says wages have increased 12 percent. A spokesman for the union, Carter Howe, says now is the time to represent all student workers on Grinnell’s campus.
“We just believe it’s better for everybody because it leads to more productive work and it’s a more democratic presence on campus,” he says.
Howe, says he’s confident students will see the benefits of a union despite the labor movement suffering setbacks in recent years.
“Young people are a lot more receptive and we’ve already seen results," he says. "I think this is the next big thing for unions in this country.”
Howe expects the results from the campus-wide vote to expand the Grinnell student workers union to be known in four-to-five weeks.