I am proud to be a member of our union. Local 34 has provided me with opportunities to make some of the most positive and consequential decisions of my life. When we started organizing Local 34, I decided to trust my organizer and testify in front of the NLRB about my job at the library. I testified because I had to tell the truth and contradict what Yale told the federal government about what I did. After contentious negotiations and a 10-week strike, we won our first contract. 35 years of organizing, subsequent strikes, and fighting alongside strong allies, we have built our union standard to what it is today: great wages, great benefits, and great job security.
As I grew as a leader, I learned it was important for our union to support workers not only at Yale but in the New Haven community as well. I am proud of the changes our union has made in people’s lives through our community / political work. We have raised the standard of living for hundreds of City residents by creating pipelines to our good jobs. But there is still much to do. Yale can do more to invest in New Haven residents and our members. And we must now grow our movement. Just as Locals 35 and 217 supported us to create Local 34, I am proud to support the graduate workers in their campaign for a union.
Ken Suzuki is Secretary-Treasurer of Local 34 and a founding member of our union.