Kenyon College Hires Jones Day Union-busting Lawyer - LaborLab

Kenyon College Hires Jones Day Union-busting Lawyer

Kenyon College Hires Jones Day Union-busting Lawyer

As of October 20, 2021, both the College and K-SWOC/UE have been notified that our petition for a union certification election has been received and processed by the NLRB. [K-SWOC/UE's] case number is 08-RC-284759.

This report was originally posted on K-SWOC/UE's website.

The NLRB's website also notes that the College has retained Jones Day, one of the largest and most notorious union-busting law firms in the country, which brought in $2 billion in revenue last year. [K-SWOC/UE is] disappointed that the College would choose to retain an outside law firm, instead of their traditional legal counsel from Columbus, with previous clients that include Donald Trump's 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, Fox News, McDonald's, Vladimir Putin's inner circle, General Motors, and the National Rifle Association. The lawyer retained by the College is based in New York City and participated in the strikebreaking efforts in the 2016 Verizon strike and the 2021 Teamsters strike at Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx ( Despite this prior experience, conversations with graduate student unions around the country and union-side legal counsel have assured [K-SWOC/UE] that NLRB precedent and case law supports [K-SWOC/UE's] right to organize a union. No lawyer can take that away. By hiring Jones Day, the College may only be trying to wait [K-SWOC/UE] out and delay [K-SWOC/UE's] ability to vote freely and fairly to form a union.

According to 2018 data from Reuters, the average billing partner at Jones Day makes $950/hour, which would be $7,600/day and $38,000/week. ( Consider the College's allocation of resources using the following comparisons to student worker wages:

  • In one day, Jones Day will be paid more by the College than if all MLL ATs were moved from Tier II (10.03/hour) to Tier III (11.30/hour) this semester (likely overestimating AT hours/week).

  • 2 hours paying Jones Day costs more than giving a raise from Tier II to Tier III to all Helpliners for the entire semester.

  • 3 weeks of paying Jones Day will cost the College more than paying the entire CA staff this semester.

  • 6 weeks of paying Jones Day = an entire semester of raising ALL student workers to $15/hour.

LBIS workers, ATs, and others have consistently made the case to the College for fairer wages, in particular asking for workers to be paid Tier III when their job description matches the College's very own Tier III description (

The College has repeatedly refused these demands, often citing vague financial difficulties. Their decision to hire an expensive anti-union lawyer demonstrates the College's priorities: a few hours of an outside party's advice to beat back student workers organizing is more valuable to them than the countless hours of labor their own students provide to our community.

[K-SWOC/UE is] profoundly disappointed that the Kenyon administration has chosen to spend funds that could have gone towards improving the lives of students on fighting student workers. [K-SWOC/UE] again [calls] on the Kenyon administration to not stand in the way of student workers seeking to democratically determine whether or not to form a union. Kenyon student workers deserve a free and fair election without delay.


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