Yale grad teachers still on hunger strike over union negotiations

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)–It’s been one week since four men and four women graduate student teachers began a hunger strike at Yale University. Tuesday, surrounded by supporters, they showed they are weak in body but strong in mind.

“We want a voice over our pay which gets cut and becomes irregular and we have no say. And, we want a voice over our working conditions which Yale changes without consulting us,” said Julia Powers, one of the fasters.

Tuesday night, in front of University President Peter Salovey’s house, the fasters were joined by dozens of supporters in a candlelight vigil. They say they will not eat until Yale enters into collective bargaining discussions with them about the newly formed Local 33 of Unite Here, which aims to unionize students in several departments of the graduate school.

“Everyday we sit at 33 Wall Street at Beineike Plaza and we see President Salovey walk by. Although he says he’s concerned for us, he hasn’t said a single word to us and he won’t even look our way,” said Powers.

University leaders have declined to enter into negotiations saying the way in which the student teachers conducted elections is unprecedented. The school has asked the National Labor Relations Board to review the voting process.

The eight fasters, and everyone who supports them, say it’s time for the University to step up.

“As members of Yale’s faculty, we call on President Salovey and his administration to begin collective bargaining negotiations immediately with Local 33,” said Professor Hazel Carby.

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