The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) pre-election hearing on the Kenyon Student Worker Organizing Committee/ United Electric (K-SWOC/UE) has received testimonies from students and staff concerning their work for over the past three months. The hearing began on Oct. 30 after two years of delays. If successful, the result of the NLRB’s hearing would allow K-SWOC/UE to become the first union in the country composed entirely of undergraduate students.
The pre-election hearing is a court-like procedure by the NLRB to determine the validity of a complaining party — in this case, Kenyon College. Student testimony is currently scheduled to continue on an entirely voluntary basis. Most testimonies so far have come from supervisors describing the qualities of students’ jobs, according to Staff Organizer for United Electric (UE) Nathan Geesing ’21. He said that over 90 staff members have been asked to testify, and that each testimony typically lasts for two to three hours.
“Kenyon’s lawyers will generally ask their supervisors questions (like ‘is there an educational component to this job?’ or ‘are students free to schedule their hours around classes?’),” Geesing wrote in an email to the Collegian.
According to Vice President for Communications Janet Marsden, questions such as those are intended to provide as much information regarding student work at Kenyon to the NLRB as possible. “One key purpose of the hearing is to provide the NLRB with information about what Kenyon student workers in various jobs do — how they are hired, what skills are required for their work, what work they perform and under what conditions, how many hours they work, how they are paid, whether and how they are evaluated or disciplined and other similar factual details,” Marsden wrote in an email to the Collegian. “These details are best presented by individuals with direct knowledge of student work.”
Although the NLRB hearing has faced several delays, Marsden emphasized that the length of hearings often varies according to the complexity of the issues. “Kenyon has worked to present this information clearly and efficiently, respectful of everyone’s time — faculty, staff, the union and the NLRB,” she said.
News assistant Tadhg Sahutske ’27 contributed to reporting.