GESO files NLRB charges against 5 faculty



Leaders of the Graduate Employees and Students Organization said they planned to file unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board against the Yale administration this morning.

The charges, based on four alleged incidents involving five professors, accuse the faculty members of engaging in activity “interfering, restraining and coercing” graduate teaching assistants.

The complaint comes as GESO leaders prepare for a strike during the first week of March alongside Yale’s two recognized unions, locals 34 and 35, and unionized workers at Yale-New Haven Hospital. During the strike, GESO members have said they will not hold sections, attend classes, conduct research or enter any Yale facilities.

The charges allege that faculty members ordered GESO members not to talk to prospective graduate students, conducted surveillance of union-related conversations, threatened that they would not write recommendations for graduate students who go on strike and interrogated TAs without assuring that they could refuse to respond without reprisal.

GESO filed NLRB charges against the University Dec. 10, alleging that faculty members “harassed” GESO members who were talking about unionization issues.

GESO chairwoman Anita Seth GRD ’05 said she believes the University administration has continued to “throw faculty in the middle” of the ongoing debate over graduate student unionization.

“The administration should be instructing faculty to stay out of it,” she said. “Instead, they’re trying to draw them in.”

Yale President Richard Levin declined to comment because he said he had not seen the charges.

GESO has been trying to organize graduate teaching and research assistants for over a decade but has not requested a formal election. University administrators have opposed unionization, maintaining that graduate students are not employees.

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