Invest in our Yale jobs and community. Our futures depend on it.
I got laid off last year, but because of our union, I didn’t lose it all. When I started working at Sterling Library, first as a casual worker and then as a durational Local 34 member, my life was transformed. I had been working in food service since I was 16, living paycheck to paycheck. When the pandemic hit, my job was eliminated, but thanks to the IEP and the Job Search Team, I’ve been hired into a full-time position. As a New Haven resident, the local hiring agreement that Local 34 fought for helped me get my job. But its success depends not only on hiring New Haven residents, but on protecting our job security, so that these jobs continue to bring revenue and stability to my home, New Haven.
During the two years I’ve spent at Yale as a casual, as a durational, and finally as a permanent employee, I’ve seen the transformative impact of our union benefits, but I’ve also experienced the instability of casual jobs, especially for workers who came from New Haven Works like I did. In 2019, I attended a Board of Alders hearing where a Yale representative presented a map of neighborhoods where New Haven residents had recently been hired, including a dot where I lived. I wondered whether that dot represented me: at that point, I was a durational employee, with no guarantee of a permanent position, and though I didn’t know it, I was a few months away from being laid off.
When I was laid-off from the library, I had JUST made it to the one-year mark that guaranteed me six months of IEP time instead of one month. This meant I continued bringing home a paycheck while I searched for a permanent Yale job. Even so, I struggled with the anxiety and uncertainty of being laid off at the very moment Yale was implementing a hiring freeze. Three weeks after my IEP time expired, I was finally hired into a full-time position.
I am proud to be building a future for myself and my family in New Haven. For the first time in my life, I have health care through my job, and I’m putting away money to someday buy a house in the city. I’m calling on the University to give us the job security protections we need, so we can continue to invest in our Yale jobs and community. Our futures depend on it.