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So much for Yale liberalism

Please pass this along and take some action where you can folks...Sousan
Thu, 22 Feb 1996 14:38:37 -0600
To: Multiple recipients of list <telecommies@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Here's an update on the Yale situation for those who might be interested.
The TAA (Teaching Assistant Association) is sending a representative to
Yale later this month to participate
in a big pr event and to demonstrate our union's support.  There will
likely be a forum on this situation next month addressing some of the
widespread implications of the Yale strike for grad workers all over.


>To Friends of the Yale Unions:
>I am writing to ask for your financial help in supporting the current strike
>by Yale clerical workers.  If you already know about the strike, I'll cut to
>the chase and give you the details for donations: checks should be made to
>FUE Strike Fund and sent to Federation of University Employees, 425 College
>St., New Haven CT 06511.  Otherwise, here's the basic story on what's going
>on here:
>As you may know, Local 34, representing 2,600 secretaries, lab technicians
>and librarians, went out on strike on February 7 after three months' of
>attempting to reach an agreement with Yale negotiators.  Local 35,
>representing 1,200 custodians, dining hall workers and physical plant staff,
>is continuing to work, providing moral and financial support for Local 34,
>and reserving the right to strike later in the semester.  This strike is not
>over any increases demanded by these workers.  All the strike issues revolve
>around Yale's demands for deep cuts in wages, benefits and job security.
>The nastiness of Yale's response to the TA grade strike is equally evident
>now.  Early in the strike, a local bakery offered to donate its day-old break
>to union headquarters, so we could make sandwiches for strikers.  Within 24
>hours, Yale had informed the bakery that the university would cancel all
>future contracts with it, and got the bakery to back off, agreeing to throw
>out its old bread rather than give it to striking secretaries.  Similarly,
>Yale has sought to keep striking workers feeling the cold.  It's been the
>snowiest winter on record in Connecticut, and with picket lines starting at 6
>am, it's often bitter cold for those walking the line in front of Yale
>buildings.  Last week, after volunteers brought oil-drums and firewood to set
>up fire barrels at a few locations, Yale complained of smoke violations and
>called the Fire Department to extinguish all picket-line fires.  It took the
>Mayor of New Haven's intervention to establish the right of strikers to warm
>themselves by a picket-line fire.
>Who are Local 34 and Local 35?
>Local 34 -- composed of 80% women workers -- won its first contract here
>after a bitter 10-week strike in 1984.  In that campaign, clerical staff had
>to challenge all Yale's stereotypes about women workers -- that they weren't
>"real" workers, that their salaries were "pin money" or unneeded second
>incomes, and that "the girls" didn't have what it takes to fight for a union.
> In the past decade, Yale has never hid its desire to turn the clock back to
>a time when women workers had no collective power and had to rely on
>individual appeals to the good will of supervisors.
>Local 35 is the largest union of African-American workers in New Haven, and
>Yale's harshest proposals are reserved for the dining hall and custodial
>staff which draw most heavily from the city's poorest neighborhoods.  In
>1970, one-third of this union was on welfare even when they were employed;
>Yale's current proposal for dining hall workers is to roll back the past 25
>years of progress and take us back to the conditions of 1970.
>What is Yale Demanding?
>*** Cutting wages of new dining hall staff by nearly $4/hr, and forcing these
>workers to be laid off for 20 weeks out of every year.  Together, these
>changes will cut the average wage from $23,000 to $10,000 per year.
>*** Cutting the value of retiree benefits by nearly 40%.  For New Haven
>retirees, this means getting by on roughly $350/month after 25 years at Yale.
>*** Forcing more of the University's staff to take low-wage, no-benefit,
>"casual" or "permanent temp" jobs.
>*** Eliminating job security: the unlimited right to fill any openings with
>outside subcontractors.  This would cut the number of the unionized workers
>by 40% over the next decade, and seems to be the first phase of making Yale
>into a completely non-union workplace.
>Why Does This Matter?
>If Yale gets away with its proposals, it will have a devastating effect on
>the people who work here and on New Haven as a whole.  Yale is the biggest
>employer in the city; if it becomes impossible to earn a minimally decent
>living at Yale, there are few alternative opportunities for local residents.
> Like other rich schools in poor cities, Yale talks a lot about its
>commitment to helping the community.  But the terms of this contract will
>overshadow anything else in town-gown relations for a long time to come.
>For other universities, cutbacks at Yale will encourage administrations
>across the country to do likewise with union and non-union employees from
>faculty to lab technicians.  Finally, the prospect of TA or faculty
>unionization at Yale will be greatly affected by the outcome of this strike
>-- the TA drive has drawn tremendouse strength from the support of Local 34
>and 35, and if academics are isolated on campus, the odds of victory will be
>considerably set back.
>What Can You Do?
>For all these reasons, we need whatever help you can offer.  Yale has spent
>millions of dollars on union-busting law firms, high-priced p.r. firms, slick
>advertising, and campus-wide security and surveillance staff in order to
>force workers to accept these cutbacks.  We are determined not to let Yale
>force its demands on us, but we are in desperate need of help to enable
>striking workers to meet the costs of going without a paycheck.  We have no
>strike fund except what our own members contribute and what we receive from
>outside supporters.  Please contribute whatever you can -- if possible,
>consider donating one week's strike benefits ($100) for a Yale workers.  In
>addition, please forward this appeal to any colleagues you think might be
>supportive.  And if you or anyone you know has questions about this or wants
>more information, please feel free to contact this account.
>Again, checks are payable to FUE Strike Fund, FUE, 425 College St., New
>Haven, CT 06511.  We will keep you updated on developments here, including
>notices of major demonstrations in New Haven or other cities around the
>country.  Thanks in advance for whatever you can offer.
>Gordon Lafer, Reserach Director, Federation of University Employees at Yale

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