Unions and civil disobedience – Nicholas Degani

Today’s civil disobedience, what some might call breaking the law, is a definite step for Yale-union negotiations. Brave students and union organizers will offer themselves up for arrest, sacrificing themselves to fight the tyranny of New Haven’s greatest benefactor: Yale University.

I can only applaud the unions for such criminal activities.

Today’s action is a culmination of the unions’ well-thought-out strategy to focus on negotiations and not get tied up in side issues. As the unions well know, Yale University brought slavery to the New World, impoverished its graduate students, and waged a war against the poor children of New Haven schools. Such issues are central to negotiations, and union leaders are right to ignore Yale’s so-called offers until the administration admits its war crimes.

I have faith that Bob Proto, Laura Smith, Anita Seth GRD ’05 and Jerry Brown will be the most disobedient of all. They will surely show true dedication to the unions. But I ask, will jaywalking send a strong enough message? I ask my esteemed colleagues to take that final step, and rush as blindly at the cars of unwitting drivers as they have thrown themselves into their cause.

I also hope that Alderman Ben Healey ’04 will recognize the grave concerns of his constituents. Antiquated traffic laws have plagued our citizens for far too long. I can only hope that he will work to ban cars from the pristine streets of New Haven.

As Healey knows, the unions are fighting for a fundamental human right: the right to jaywalk. Though Yale students have ignored jaywalking laws for years while crossing Elm Street, union members have been denied these rights. Today, they will stand in the path of oncoming traffic, demanding higher wages and more recognition. The connection between blocking traffic and contract negotiations could not be clearer.

Finally, today’s action should encourage all Yale students. The unions have shown that they will sacrifice everything for their cause. When their current contract ends, I can only hope union leaders will sacrifice our oh-so-delicious dining hall food by going on strike. Only then will all students truly be able to participate in the unions’ quest for more money.



Nicholas Degani is a senior in Calhoun College.

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