HANOVER — A supermajority of student workers at all Dartmouth Dining Services locations have signed cards expressing their intent to unionize, according to an open letter to Dartmouth College administration last week.
“By recognizing our union voluntarily, the College will greatly increase its reputation as a worker-friendly institution, and will signal to all members of our community that it looks after them, and is willing to hear their united, democratically organized voice,” Dartmouth Dining Services student workers said in the letter Wednesday. “After what we have seen throughout the pandemic, another approach would not be feasible. Union-busting would benefit no one, neither the workers nor the College.”
The dining services student workers said in the letter they intend to organize under the Student Worker Collective at Dartmouth, adding that the lack of worker representation during the ongoing pandemic is affecting the well-being of the college as a whole.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen what a lack of student and worker representation in the decision-making process of our College has led to. Seeking to cut losses, the College has refrained from investing in key resources that would help alleviate the toll the pandemic has taken on its community. A failure to respond effectively to issues such as mental health, rent increases, poverty stipends and insufficient wages has led to a deterioration of the well-being of our College,” student workers said in the letter.
The letter is addressed to the college’s Board of Trustees, President Philip J. Hanlon, Provost David Kotz and “all involved leadership” and includes a plea to collaborate and communicate with the workers on COVID-related decisions.
“We also approach you with key COVID-related issues, namely sick pay during missed shifts and the necessity of collaborative and dynamic communication channels between the administration and workers, that must be addressed as soon as possible,” the letter said.
The student workers said they expect a written response from the administration on both requests, “union recognition and COVID-related demands,” by Jan. 17.
In an email Thursday, Dartmouth College Associate Vice President for Communications Diana Lawrence declined to comment on the matter other than to say, “We have received the letter from the collective and look forward to talking with them.”