Joint Leadership meeting focuses on ways to work together November 29, 2010Posted by Local 34 in Federation.
On November 15, the Executive Boards of Local 34 and Local 35 and the Coordinating Committee of GESO gathered with community organizers from CCNE for a Joint Leadership meeting for all of our UNITE HERE Unions at Yale.
The more than 70 union leaders from departments all over the campus shared reports on the progress of campaigns and fights we’re working on together. Members of all three unions are working together on grievances, discussing shared challenges around changes to our workload and restructuring in our departments, and fighting to eliminate the parking fees at Yale HEALTH. The leadership group also discussed the dramatic success of our political program this year, and our efforts to boost voter turnout and registration.
The leaders then broke into small groups to brainstorm new ways to work together as we all continue to see changes in our work as Yale streamlines and restructures.
C&Ts, graduate teachers share experiences of work changes November 29, 2010Posted by Local 34 in Uncategorized.
On November 9th, graduate teachers and researchers in History and History of Science and Medicine joined with Marcy Kaufman, graduate registrar in the History Department and a member of Local 34’s Executive Board, to discuss recent changes in the department. The discussion began with preliminary results of a survey conducted by the departmental GESO Organizing Committee around issues of teaching, research and academic decision-making.
Participants from all years and fields in the department shared their experience, concerns and questions about the restructuring of teaching and the pressure to complete research work in ever-shrinking time periods. One graduate teacher described losing her job in the department one week into the semester and being assigned instead to teach for a different department on a topic thousands of miles and years outside her specialty. Without the benefit of a grievance procedure, she instead fought with the department’s support and successfully pushed the Graduate School to resolve the issue. Senior teachers described their difficulty in obtaining teaching positions and lack of job security.
In turn, Marcy described the increasing influence of corporate values and centralization of academic decision-making that she has encountered since she began working at Yale. The GESO History Organizing Committee is continuing to survey graduate teachers and researchers in the Department with plans to bring these issues to the administration and mobilize to uphold the quality of graduate education and teaching.
The History Department meeting was followed by a similar gathering of over 70 graduate teachers and researchers and C&Ts from the Languages and Literatures departments to discuss concerns about restructuring of both academic and clerical work.
Honoring the history of the unions at Yale November 29, 2010Posted by Local 34 in Uncategorized.
On November 10, over 100 community members, members of Locals 34 and 35, GESO and Yale undergraduates packed into a classroom lined with union photos and posters to mark the 69th anniversary of the first strike at Yale, in 1941.
History Professor Jennifer Klein described the Yale unions’ long tradition of defying national trends in building our movement because of an openness to including new groups of workers and building alliances in the New Haven community.
Greater New Haven Labor History Association Treasurer Bill Berndtson told stories of his early attempts to organize clerical and technical workers at Yale in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Speakers from Local 34, 35 and GESO, including Local 35 Executive Board member Frank Douglass, and GESO Chair Sarah Egan, combined discussions of the transformative effect of our movement in their own lives with memories of recent mobilizations.
The event was sponsored by the Greater New Haven Labor History Association. More information on their work to document the history of unions at Yale, local textile factories, and the Winchester plant is available on their website: www.laborhistory.org.
Union members petition Yale HEALTH over parking fees, access November 8, 2010Posted by Local 34 in Uncategorized.
On Wednesday November 3, a delegation of Local 34 and Local 35 members delivered a petition signed by over 1200 Yale employees to express their concern about how the parking fees at the new facility threaten access to superior patient care. Last month, after over 100 Yale HEALTH employees signed the same petition, Yale announced that it would increase the free parking from half an hour to one hour.
The petition reads:
We wish to make clear to University officials our extreme displeasure regarding the decision to charge Yale HEALTH patients a parking fee when receiving medical care at our new facility at 55 Lock Street. This is an unfair additional charge to many who already pay high monthly Yale parking fees but most importantly we believe this will bring undue hardship to many of our patients living on a strict budget. Yale HEALTH is a primary car facility utilized only by Yale University staff, students, and faculty, unlike the YPB which is predominantly a specialty facility utilized by anyone needing their special services. At a time when the university wants to encourage staff to join Yale HEALTH, this decision could dissuade many to NOT make that choice.
We are asking you for an immediate re-evaluation of this decision and to remove this barrier to the delivery of the timely and superior patient care we can provide at Yale HEALTH.
Union members at Yale HEALTH have been very excited about the new building as an opportunity to improve access to great health care. Parking fees should not stand in the way of making Yale HEALTH the best care provider it can be.
Connecticut Labor boosts voter turnout November 8, 2010Posted by Local 34 in Uncategorized.
We are pleased to report that on Election Day, UNITE HERE’s endorsed candidates for state and federal office in Connecticut won, including the election of Richard Blumenthal to the U.S. Senate, and the election of Dan Malloy as the first Democratic governor of Connecticut in 24 years.
Our union played a major part in these victories through our participation in the AFL-CIO’s Labor 2010 program. UNITE HERE Political Director Gwen Mills spent the past six months coordinating the statewide effort.
Political action is important for our union because state and federal law have an enormous impact on the workplace. Health insurance regulation, pension security, workplace safety, and even collective bargaining itself are all issues where we need strong allies in both Hartford and Washington. Throughout our history, in all our contract negotiations, we have benefitted greatly from the public support of elected officials who share our union’s values and believe that our work deserves respect.
Six Local 34 members did member-to-member outreach to register and inform voters about the election, and another four Local 34 members participated twice a week in Labor 2010 walks and phonebanks, visiting union members in New Haven and other nearby towns. They were joined in these efforts by our brothers and sisters from Local 35 and GESO.
Our members were a critical and visible part of the grassroots get-out-the-vote operation that propelled Dan Malloy and Richard Blumenthal to victory, with Dan Malloy receiving over 5,000 more votes in New Haven than our previous Democratic candidate for governor in 2006.
In addition to the statewide races, former Local 34 member Jessica Holmes ran for the open aldermanic seat in Ward 9. Her campaign, endorsed by the Executive Boards of Locals 34 and 35, generated enormous interest and excitement in the ward. She received 622 votes, just shy of a win. The spirited race between Holmes and Matt Smith (who also has family who are members of Local 34) drove voter turnout in Ward 9 to record highs, as both campaigns registered hundreds of new voters.
Local 34 thanks every member who voted, as well as those who devoted time to all of these efforts. Together, we proved our union can make the difference in close elections and elect candidates who stand with working families.
Library Employees share health and safety concerns November 8, 2010Posted by Local 34 in Federation.
Over the past few months, custodians and library workers have expressed their concerns about the cleanliness of Sterling Memorial Library and a new computer metric system called BREEZE that assigns workload by square footage.
The largest library on Yale’s campus, with more than 4 million books and hundreds of students and faculty researching and studying there everyday, it takes lots of work to keep it all clean. In years past, over 20 custodians dusted the books, mopped the floors, and swept away the litter leftover from late-night study sessions. Now, only nine custodians are trying to do the same amount of work, and under the BREEZE system they are forced to clean more space and faster.
On Friday, October 29, several members of Local 34 and Local 35 delivered a letter signed by almost 100 library employees to Frank Turner, University Librarian, and John Bollier, Associate Vice-President for Facilities. The letter requested an employee participation meeting to discuss how Yale’s decision to reduce staff by attrition, increase workload, and change assignments according to the BREEZE metrics system is creating health and safety issues throughout the library.
The employees say that Yale should provide the staff, resources and schedules for the library to be a clean and safe place to work and study for all members of Yale’s community.
“We are hopeful that management in the library and facilities will address our concerns with the seriousness that they deserve,” said Maureen Jones, Vice-President of Local 34. “The health and welfare of all staff, students, and faculty who work in and use the library is dependent on the custodians’ ability to perform their jobs. So to that end, Local 34 and Local 35 members’ foremost desire is to alleviate the workflow and scheduling problems, and protect the library’s staff, the readers, and Yale’s material and cultural history.”
“I take pride in what I do and want to do my job to the best of my ability,” says Laticia Hyman from Local 35. “In my 20 years at Yale I’ve never experienced anything like BREEZE. It’s frustrating for me and hurtful for the people I service to not have the time and equipment to do a good job.”