Yale graduate teachers begin fast to push for union contract negotiations

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Eight Yale University graduate teachers say they are taking turns not eating to try to pressure school officials to negotiate with them. They have voted to unionize, but they say Yale will not negotiate.

Graduate teachers have set up a temporary structure they call 33 Wall Street near the university president’s office.

“It will continue until we sit down to negotiate with the university,” said Aaron Greenberg, a graduate teacher and chair of Local 33-UNITE HERE, the graduate teachers’ union.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Yale and New Haven communities held a demonstration of support for Yale graduate teachers at 33 Wall Street.

“It gives me a lot of strength to see the community behind us, to see so many of my colleagues out in support, faculty out in support,” said Charles Decker, a Yale graduate teacher.

Decker is getting his strength from support, not from food. He has not eaten in more than a day. He is one of the graduate teachers taking part in an indefinite fast they’re calling the Fast Against Slow. They want union contract negotiations.

“They tell me to wait and I’m tired of waiting,” Decker said. “If I need to wait a little bit longer so be it, but I’m waiting without eating.”

Graduate teachers voted in favor of unionization in February, in elections administered by the National Labor Relations Board. Local 33-UNITE HERE says the Yale administration refuses to begin contract negotiations.

“This would mean a seat at the table. This would mean a more democratic Yale,” said Greenberg. “This would mean graduate teachers actually being able to negotiate over the terms of their work.”

The graduate teachers are hoping the indefinite fast would make that happen. The university said in a statement that the action is unwarranted by the circumstances and the school strongly urges students not to put their health at risk. But graduate teachers say they had no choice.

“I hope Yale will do the right thing,” said Julia Powers, a Yale graduate teacher. “They’ve taken long enough and so I hope they will agree to negotiate with the unions.”

In a statement to News 8 Yale said, “the University and UNITE HERE-Local 33 are jointly engaged with the National Labor Relations Board to resolve remaining issues concerning the unionization effort. Yale will continue to respect this legal process, and accordingly has advised Local 33 that its request for collective bargaining is premature.”

Graduate teachers held other demonstrations in New Haven earlier Wednesday. More than a dozen graduate teachers were detained and charged after one of them.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

New Haven

CIAC hopes new rules will reduce concussions, make football safer for high school athletes

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "CIAC hopes new rules will reduce concussions, make football safer for high school athletes"

Conflict in Syria leaving local refugees concerned about the future of their homeland

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "Conflict in Syria leaving local refugees concerned about the future of their homeland"

Lanternfly spotted in Southbury

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "Lanternfly spotted in Southbury"

Congresswoman DeLauro endorses Elicker for New Haven mayor

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "Congresswoman DeLauro endorses Elicker for New Haven mayor"

East Haven to hold mayoral debate Tuesday night

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "East Haven to hold mayoral debate Tuesday night"

Police: Milford man calls 911 a dozen times, chest-bumps an officer

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "Police: Milford man calls 911 a dozen times, chest-bumps an officer"
More New Haven

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss