Unionization vote for student dining workers passes unanimously

Less than three months after announcing the creation of the union, the Student Worker Collective at Dartmouth will be officially recognized by the College.

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 3/30/22 10:46pm

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by Naina Bhalla / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

The Student Worker Collective at Dartmouth will become a recognized union following a unanimous vote among student workers today, almost three months after they formally announced their intention to unionize. The SWCD was only required to meet a 50 percent support threshold from student worker voters to be successful. This vote will make SWCD the fifth recognized undergraduate union in the country, according to their Twitter account. 

52 student workers voted in the election — approximately 30 percent of the total number eligible. In order to be eligible to vote, student-workers must have worked at least four and a half hours between Oct. 13, 2021 and Feb. 5, 2022.

The SWCD, formed in January by student workers at Dartmouth Dining, was motivated by rising dissatisfaction among workers from factors including increased exposure to COVID-19, intense work shifts due to the on-campus labor shortage and pay stagnation. On Jan. 28, College President Phil Hanlon rejected the SWCD’s request for voluntary recognition of the union, instead referring the election process to the National Labor Relations Board, an independent agency of the U.S. federal government that oversees elections for labor union representation.

In the same letter, Hanlon wrote that if the SWCD achieved majority support in an election, the College would collaborate with and support unionized employees on campus.

In a statement on the unionization of SWCD, the College wrote that their neutrality on the vote reflected “Dartmouth’s position that the decision rested with the students.”

“​​Dartmouth believes this election was fair and took place under a framework that allowed for participation by students from as many terms as possible,” vice president of campus services and institutional projects Joshua Keniston said in a statement from the College. “We respect the students’ choice and look forward to developing a strong relationship with the collective, as we have with the members of SEIU Local 560.”

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