With a campuswide strike set to start Monday morning, Yale students are preparing for what looms ahead — closed dining halls, limited maintenance service and relocated classes.
As the strike nears, some of Yale’s residential college councils have hosted forums throughout the past week for students who are not sure what to expect in terms of classes, meals and day-to-day University operations. At a Thursday evening forum in Pierson College, students gathered in the dining hall to discuss the ensuing strike, review the logistics for next week, and learn the specifics — what each side, Yale and locals 34 and 35, brings to the negotiating table.
“The strike, which was a threat, suddenly has become a reality,” Pierson College Council President Dan Bernstein ’05 told fellow students.
He reassured them that Yale is doing its best to make sure the strike does not disrupt life on campus.
“Just because they’re on strike doesn’t mean we can’t use [the dining hall],” Bernstein said. “[The unions] don’t want their actions to interfere with our lives.”
But Lindsey Stradley ’03, a member of the Undergraduate Organizing Committee, said the strikers’ goal is to disturb life on campus.
“The point of the strike is for life at Yale not to be life as usual,” Stradley said. “Students are not being punished for the way the negotiations have played out over the last 14 months, but the point is to disrupt life at Yale.”
She said everything students do next week, whether they mean to or not, will have political significance. Stradley said simply going to class makes a major statement. She encouraged students to weigh the issue and become informed so they can make rational decisions.
“I think that the forum was a good start at opening up both sides’ perspectives,” Stradley said. “It’s really important to think about the issues.”
Students at the talk said they were worried about the decision to cross picket lines in order to attend classes. PCC leaders said most workers will picket on Cross Campus, Old Campus, Science Hill and on the grounds of the Yale-New Haven Hospital. They reassured students that the workers will not be picketing in the residential colleges.
PCC Secretary Emily Isaak ’04 told students that respecting the strike was a subjective choice. She urged students to respect the opinions of their friends because many people on campus will have strong opinions about the strike.
“You shouldn’t feel like anybody is forcing you to do anything next week,” Isaak said.
Bernstein said it is up to students to decide individually what to do during the strike.
“But we’re all hoping it will be resolved before we come back from spring break,” Bernstein said.