Neutrality Agreement Signed by College and UGSDW

March 04, 2022

Dear Grinnellians,

I write today to share news that the College and Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers (UGSDW) have successfully reached a neutrality agreement to govern a possible election related to expanding the student union. Our agreement follows the UGSDW’s stated intention to file a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold such an election. With the approval of the Grinnell Board of Trustees and the membership of the UGSDW, this pivotal agreement establishes terms for an election among eligible students and was signed by both parties at 8:30 a.m. this morning (Friday, March 4).

Please see below for links to the documents, which are available for public review and discussion. Faculty and staff are reminded their discussions should adhere to Faculty and Staff Union Discussion guidelines established by the NLRB.

Summary information below speaks to 1) what the agreement covers, and 2) a series of voluntary public forums being planned to discuss the union election. I want to acknowledge the importance of this neutrality agreement having been developed through a series of negotiations between College and Union leaders that were carried out in sustained and researched deliberations.

Neutrality Agreement

The neutrality agreement outlines formal election procedures, voter eligibility guidelines, and a dispute-resolution mechanism to help guide an election and includes sections covering:

  • General Principles of Communication
  • Pre-election Procedures
  • Election Procedures
  • Open Discussion and Access to Information
  • Student Conduct
  • Academic Values
  • Bargaining Obligation
  • Notice to Parties
  • No Strike
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Duration
  • Superseding Events

Contained within the pages of this agreement are many principles that can stand us in good stead for potential future collective bargaining processes. You can read the complete text of the neutrality agreement online. Also on that site, you can read a brief, joint letter from the Union and College about the agreement as well as the consent election agreement.

Public Forums

We are working to schedule a series of three public forums — one each for students, faculty, and staff — next week. During these forums, College and Union representatives will present information and respond to questions and comments. Students, faculty, and staff will receive follow-up email communications with meeting details and instructions on how to submit questions in advance.

Thank You

I want to conclude by expressing my sincere gratitude to Board of Trustees Chair Michael Kahn ’74 for his partnership in the meetings between Union and College leadership that led to this historic neutrality agreement. As he has many times in the past, Michael generously shared his time and expertise during this process and I and our campus community once again have benefitted greatly from his willing engagement. He joins me in our appreciation for the engagement of the representatives of the UGSDW in this process.

All the best,


Anne F. Harris

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