The least we can do is move classes to avoid crossing picket lines

To the Editor:

The claim by Justin Zaremby ’03 that “The struggle over negotiations exists separately from the realm of student affairs”(“You’re a Yalie, they’re unions: Stay out of it,” 2/18) is false. Until now, it has been quite possible for students to remain either oblivious to or unmoved by the hardships of Yale workers. Though this has been possible, however, does not mean this situation is desirable. Civic-minded Yalies have a right and a responsibility to express their dismay at the administration’s failure to negotiate in good faith.

Once the workers strike, students will no longer able to be oblivious or unmoved by the struggle of Yale workers. For example, students will have to make choices whether to cross picket lines to attend classes — unless these classes are moved off campus.

The union’s plans to form picket lines outside classroom buildings is not a conspiracy intended to harm our educations; rather, it is exercising their right to voice their demands in unison and stop business at usual at Yale. Students’ requests to move classes off campus is an attempt to reconcile our desire to continue our education during a strike with a recognition, in solidarity with Yale workers, that business is not usual at Yale. This may be an inconvenience for Yale students but walking the extra block to the church or professor’s home is the least we as students can do for the dining hall workers, maintenance staff and administrative assistants who do so much for us.

If the workers decide that a strike is the only viable means for a just labor contract, then I support their decision and hope my professors and my fellow Yalies will as well.

Kevin Abels ’05

February 19, 2003

The writer is the Dwight Hall Social Justice Network Liaison and a member of the Undergraduate Organizing Committee.

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