The Yale University Police Department has put the university on notice that police officers will soon strike if Yale presses forward with a plan to end premium-free health insurance for retirees and slash premium reimbursement for retirees 65 and older.
“Not the perfect moment to happen,” said Yale junior Fatih Clikbas.
“I think having a campus police force is really important,” sophomore Yale student Caleb Rhodes said.
The Yale Police Benevolent Association met for hours Tuesday with university labor leaders, yet by late evening YPBA President Richie Simons said the two sides failed to reach an agreement. Yale cops have been working without a contract for more than two years. The lack of consensus surrounding health benefits for retirees prompted union bosses to issue a dire warning in a letter to members obtained by News 8’s Mario Boone. It reads in part, “This is a strike issue for us. We cannot and will not cede these retirement benefits…”
Talk of a police strike rattled students, especially after last April’s dorm invasion armed robbery inside Timothy Dwight College residence hall. “Obviously, without a police force and without knowing what’s happening in the community from a crime perspective, that would make me feel less safe,” Rhodes told us.
Yale’s police union has railed against stalled contract talks before. In fact, News 8 was on campus in April when cops passed out leaflets blasting the impasse.
For its part, Yale refused to say how it will keep students safe if cops strike. But a Bale spokesman, Thomas Conroy, did tell us in part, “Yale police officers are among the highest paid in the state, with excellent benefits and retirement plans. We have made attractive contract proposals to the union. We remain hopeful that the officers’ union will continue to work with Yale to reach a settlement.”
Said Clikbas, “From a student’s perspective and the security concerns, of course I would like the situation to be resolved as soon as possible.”
Contract negotiations are expected to resume Friday, Sept. 7.