It’s time for us to make it clear to Yale that we know our value, and if we have to, we’ll fight to defend it

When I get a call at the ITS Help Desk, one of the first questions people often ask me is: “Are you in New Haven?” They want to know whether they’re talking to someone out-of-state, or someone like me, who is part of the Yale community and has experience and familiarity with the university. I know that my work makes Yale work, which is why I am calling on the University to protect my job.

Like many of us in IT, I started at the University as a subcontractor, based out of New Haven.  During that time, I was working multiple jobs and had no health insurance. I was lucky to be hired at the Help Desk within six months—I was in the right place at the right time.  But the subcontractors I work alongside are not guaranteed a Yale job, or even the opportunity to apply.  I’ve seen this uncertainty lead talented workers to take jobs elsewhere.  When they leave Yale, our community loses the skills and experience they’ve accrued.

Information technology is fundamental to our university’s educational mission. When problems don’t get solved, it means frustration, wasted hours, and lost opportunities for faculty, staff, and students.  We need to retain the employees we spend months training, and we need to maintain enough full-time staff to keep the HelpDesk running smoothly.

Our union jobs provide us with the decent wages and benefits that are getting scarcer and scarcer in our country.  In turn, we invest in the university and commit to providing great service to the Yale community. We build relationships with the people in our departments and care about their success. By denying subcontractors the same union standard, Yale is making it clear to us what they think we’re really worth. And when the university outsources work out of state, it means fewer good jobs are available to our community here in Connecticut.  It’s time for us to make it clear to Yale that we know our value, and if we have to, we’ll fight to defend it.

Will you join me in sharing your story? Send a letter here to tell President Salovey, to respect our work, protect our jobs, and ensure that good union jobs grow as Yale grows.

Andrew Gilkes

ITS Help Desk, 2 Years at Yale