The unions must stop using rhetoric that divides Yale from New Haven

To the Editor:

In her letter (“Learning the hard lessons of how Yale treats its workers,” 9/9), Michelle Solomon finds that the problems between Yale and its unions are “ironic” given Yale’s stated commitment to the city’s economic success. This type of union rhetoric attempts to create fictional divisions by failing to recognize that Yale is a part of New Haven and that its unionized employees represent a tiny fraction of the total work force.

Perhaps the irony here is that union leaders, who sometimes do not even live in New Haven, fail to recognize that others might have different opinions about how best to use limited resources for the social and economic advancement of this community. Yale maintains that its current contract offer is very generous: among other things, it would continue to provide amazing benefits for education, health care and housing in the city while increasing salaries for lower-paid workers, of whom many live in New Haven, by more than 40 percent. If Yale or other nonprofits somehow find even more millions of dollars, perhaps they should consider contributing more to projects that would help everyone in the community, such as making the airport a better economic engine, protecting the local environment by leveraging community investment in the city, or any number of other issues.

I support the right to a strike as a legitimate dispute between a nonprofit organization and those chosen to represent some of its employees, but as a resident of New Haven, I have never supported the union leadership’s decision to deliver relentless amounts of harmful rhetoric attempting to widen the issue by dividing Yale from the community. Historically, cities have only been strong when united together around a positive frame of mind.

Mark Abraham ’04

September 9, 2003

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