By Conrad Dahm  

On October 6th, the Union of Grinnell Student Dining Workers (UGSDW) and Grinnell College began negotiating over the first labor contract in American history that applies to all undergraduate workers at a school. The bargaining session was open to the public and held in JRC 101. It was well attended by students, many of whom were sympathetic to UGSDW. During the session, some students got a little overzealous with their clapping, booing, and throwing of rotten tomatoes at anyone perceived as a member of the Grinnell administration. (Unfortunately, that kid who wears a suit to class may have been caught in the crossfire.) As bargaining continued, students continued to heckle the College, which must have been very very hard for the $2.93 billion-endowed institution. 

Coincidentally, for this week’s bargaining session and for the foreseeable future, the College has decided to install a corn maze in front of the JRC, in a move that is completely unrelated to bargaining. The B&S spoke with College administrators, Union leaders, and students about the move and their thoughts on the issues. 

“I applaud the move by the College to install a corn maze in front of the JRC. It will definitely help keep away those pesky student workers,” said John. J Morally-Wrong-Lawyer, who is working as the College’s main attorney for bargaining. Mr. Lawyer is noted for involvement in other cases such as defending the kid who reminded the teacher you had homework in 6th grade. Immediately after this statement, the College had to remind him that it is just a coincidence that the maze was installed.

Other college administrators were very happy with the installation. “Currently we are installing the largest corn maze in Iowa. This is all thanks to the new ‘Grinnell College Corn Maze Committee’, which meets to discuss corn maze-related things,” said Anne Harris, President of Grinnell College. The College hopes the maze will provide a fun activity for students to partake in, but only on Thursdays from 4:30 to 6 PM in front of the JRC.  

Union leaders were not as happy. “We like corn mazes just as much as everyone else, but this is an obvious move to prevent people from seeing bargaining. We will be acting against this,” said one Union member. The Union then filed an Unfair Labor Practice with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The NLRB says the laws regarding “corn mazes and labor laws” are “unclear” but promised a response within 2.5 business years.  

The student body was divided on the issue, with many having mixed responses to the corn maze. “I mean, corn mazes are fun, even though I kind of want to watch bargaining. But who can resist the temptation to get lost in a maze? Better yet, it’s made from corn,” said one student. When asked for further opinions, the B&S could not find the student as they had disappeared into the waving stalks of corn.  

A second student interviewed stated, “I personally think this is a great move. I trust the admin when they say it’s only a coincidence. If students want to watch bargaining, then they should simply just figure their way through.” Right after saying this, the student claimed he had an important interview with Mr. Lawyer’s law firm and could not speak further.  

The final student asked simply responded by saying that they “did not know Grinnell had a Union.”  

Love it or hate it, this new corn maze is here to stay for the time being. As the UGSDW and the College settle the corn maze dispute, Grinnellians are sure to spend their Thursday afternoons doing what all College students love to do: exploring Iowa’s largest corn maze or attending bargaining sessions for the first all-campus labor contract in American history.