Endorsement of Livengood distorted facts of cancer center debate

To the Editor:

In her column yesterday (“Dems pick Livengood for Ward 1,” 10/24), Yale College Democrats President Alissa Stollwerk called Nick Shalek a liar for pointing out the fact that Alderwoman Rebecca Livengood has made construction of the Yale-New Haven Cancer Center contingent upon the forcible unionization of the hospital’s workers. Livengood has made herself abundantly clear on this issue, so we ought to just take her own comments at face value.

In its coverage of a debate last spring between Livengood and her then-opponent Dan Weeks, the News reported: “Livengood said that while some requests of the cancer center, such as planning open public space into its construction, were negotiable, others, including obtaining representation in the Service Employees’ International Union for hospital workers, were not.” (“Candidates talk at ward 1 forum,” 3/22). In other words, Livengood has made clear that the hospital must surrender the rights of its workers to a coercive “card-count” neutrality scheme before she even considers voting to approve the cancer center’s construction.

So the issue is in fact quite simple. Nick supports federal law by allowing the hospital workers the right to a secret-ballot election. Livengood supports an extra-legal process that makes a mockery of individual rights and silences one side — the hospital — from making itself heard on the costs and benefits of unionization. In light of this far graver threat, Stollwerk’s unfounded allegations of Shalek’s “blatant disregard for election law” are hypocritical and a pathetic attempt to distract us from the real issues in this race.

Considering the process by which Livengood was chosen, not elected, as our current alderwoman, it is hardly surprising that she and her enablers continue to think democracy is irrelevant for other people as well.

Courtney McNally ’06

Oct. 24, 2005

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