Local 34 to vote on Yale contract offer



Local 34 members will hold a secret ballot vote April 30 on the 10-year contract offer Yale made last month, union leaders said.

The 2,800 members of Local 34, the University’s clerical and technical union, will vote on the University’s latest 10-year contract proposal, which union negotiators rejected, next Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in Woolsey Hall. Local 34 President Laura Smith said she is confident members will vote against the University’s proposal.

“We think this is an extremely important vote in terms of sending a message to [Yale President Richard] Levin,” Smith said. “All the indication for us has been that our members are not interested in the contracts that Yale has put on the table.”

Yale spokeswoman Helaine Klasky said in an e-mail that the vote might not be representative of all Local 34 members’ opinions.

“This is not a contract ratification and it is not at all clear that all members of the bargaining unit will vote,” Klasky said.

The vote will take place the same day the Graduate Employees and Students Organization holds its secret ballot vote to gauge support for unionization among teaching and research assistants.

Smith said Local 34 did not coordinate the timing of its vote with GESO’s vote.

Levin declined to comment on the vote but said he believes the contracts can be settled swiftly.

“I remain hopeful that once the unions are willing to become realistic about the parameters of their wage and pension offers, we can settle contracts quickly,” Levin said.

Locals 34 and 35 held a five-day walkout during the first week of March alongside some GESO members and unionized workers at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

University negotiators presented a new 10-year contract offer at negotiations March 24, two weeks after the strike. Yale’s proposal increased wages by 4.5 percent for Local 34 and by 3.25 percent for Local 35 during the second year of the 10-year contract. Wages would rise 4 percent annually for Local 34 and 3 percent for Local 35 during the remaining nine years.

Leaders of locals 34 and 35 criticized the offer, saying it would decrease union presence at Yale by giving the administration the opportunity not to deal with workers for a longer period of time.

The unions responded to the proposal two days later, maintaining their demands for four-year contracts. The unions’ offer reduced salary proposals for Local 34 to 4 percent in the contract’s first year, 7.5 percent in the second year and 8.5 percent in the third and fourth years. In addition, the offer proposed to reduce wages for Local 35 — which represents 1,100 service and maintenance workers — to 3 percent in the first year with retroactivity, 5 percent in the second and third years and 5.5 percent in the fourth year. Yale officials have said the union negotiators’ offers on wages and pensions were economically unrealistic.

Yale and locals 34 and 35 have been negotiating contracts for union members for 14 months. The two sides’ previous contract lasted six years. Since new contracts have not been settled, workers have not received annual pay raises.

Smith said the unions continue to hope that they can settle contracts for the nearly 4,000 members of locals 34 and 35 as soon as possible.

“Our goal is to settle this as quickly as possible,” she said. “But that being said, we’re not willing to accept a substandard contract.”

The two sides will not hold any more bargaining sessions this week but have scheduled one more meeting for next Friday.

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