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In their fourth consecutive contract dispute with Yale University since 1968, local 35 of the AFI-CIO Federation of University Employees went on strike last Friday, demanding higher wages and increased job security.
With jurisdiction over 1400 Yale employees and 360 part-time student workers, local 35 has shut down all of Yale's dining halls with the exception of the Freshman Commons, closed the school's art museum, and curtailed the gymnasium's schedule.
A Clean Sweep
Students will perform the custodial work for their dormitories and supervisory personnel will handle all maintenance work, Albert R. Dobie, director of Yale's university operations, said yesterday.
Yale and the union have been negotiating since last May, but despite the efforts of several mediators, negotiations broke down on July 18, eight days after the contract elapsed.
The parties went back to the bargaining table on September 22.
Vincent J. Sirabella, business agent for local 35, said yesterday his union, which consists of "exclusively blue collar types of workers," is the only one on the Yale campus. It represents all dining hall workers, maintenance men, custodial staff, mechanics and skilled tradesmen. The union is demanding an eight per cent increase for each of three years for all workers, Sirabella said.
Yale offered workers in grades one to five a five cents per hour raise for each of three years. Employees in grades six to eleven were offered 15 cents per hour for each of three years while employees in grades 12 to 17 would receive 20 cents per hour for each of three years.
Sirabella said 67 per cent of all union members are in grades one to five. Approximately half of these employees work part-time and all start at a minimum wage of $4.42 an hour, Stevens said.
As agreed upon in a previous contract, employees would recieve a cost of living raise equal to 40 per cent of the federal government's cost of living standard. Donald M. Stevens, director of employee relations at Yale and spokesman for the bargaining committee said this would fall between 16 and 24 per cent while Sirabella said it would be between 11 and 17 per cent.
Sirabella said about the discrepancy between the two figures, "He tells you one thing, we tell you the truth. Yale lies to everyone."
Sirabella added that if the cost of living averaged above 7 per cent for each of three years, the employees would suffer a loss in purchasing power.
Dobie agreed with Sirabella that Yale's offer is significantly less than 7 to 12 per cent settlements in previous years but said the school pays 20 per cent more than other schools and New Haven businesses for comparable work.
Sirabella said the union wanted an agreement over job security because Yale "is slashing jobs and chopping hours." Stevens said there are the same number of employees in the bargaining unit as in 1974 but admitted there were more students and part-time workers this year.
Sirabella accused Yale of trying to provoke a strike in July when there was little demand for their services but Stevens denied the charge.
Harriet W. Goodman, a Yale junior, said yesterday, "None of us really know what's going on. We really don't feel we have the straight story from either side."
She said students are "getting the bad end" of the strike but most are adjusting to the closed facilities. The 3000 resident sophomores, juniors and seniors are receiving a $5.65 meal rebate to buy their own meals.
Stevens said the union leadership has been encouraged by "being somewhat successful in its other strikes."
Yale is preparing for a protracted strike, Stevens said, adding, "We will not go into arbitration," fact finding or any other conciliatory measure beyond mediation
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