Two days after the expiration of their contract, more than 1500 unionized Yale University workers walked off their jobs Monday for three hours.
Negotiations have stagnated between the unions involved--locals 34 and 35 of the Federation of Union Employees--and university officials. Union representatives said yesterday that a strike may be forthcoming.
"The people are very angry and will overwhelmingly endorse a strike if there is no progress in negotiations," said Deborah Chernoff, the union's committee secretary for negotiations."
"The university is taking advantage of the economic climate to use their hard line tactics," Chernoff said.
But Yale officials said that, if negotiations fail, they are ready for a strike which they said would not interrupt life at the university.
"We're trying every opportunity to resolve the conflict," said Peter Vallone, the associate vice president for human resources and a chief university negotiator.
In the event of a strike, Vallone said, "We will still teach. We will still conduct research. The university will still function."
But a student at Yale College who is also a member of the union, said that the school could face "massive disruption" of campus life if a settlement is not reached soon.
The student, senior Arthur Krantz, said that a strike could affect everything from dining hall and custodial services to classes taught by graduate student teaching assistants.
Students at Yale said yesterday that the walk-out--which included all unionized dining hall workers--affected their day only in that they were served boxed lunches for their noontime meal.
But Monday's brief strike could hint at a more serious labor walk-out, one student said.
"The walk-out itself didn't really disrupt anything, but it will raise the awareness of what may come," said Nina Morrison, a Yale senior and a member of a student organization pushing for a quick settlement.
Union members will vote tomorrow on whether to grant union officials the power to call a long term strike, according to Jeff Diamant, a reporter for the Yale Daily News.
In the negotiations, the union is pressing for greater job security, more comprehensive health insurance and standard starting wages, Chernoff said.
Chernoff added the union was asking for "take-backs from the health insurance plans" and Yale recognition of the Graduate Employees and Students' Organization.
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