Security union vote passes

Yale Security is officially unionized.

The National Labor Relations Board alerted the Yale Administration on Tuesday that the vote for unionization passed, University spokesman Tom Conroy said. The Oct. 14 vote came out 66-62 in favor of unionizing, but there were an additional 4 ballots whose eligibility was contested, Conroy said. These four votes caused the delay in an official announcement, but after one of these was ruled ineligible, Conroy added, the outcome became certain in favor of unionization.

Now that Yale Security has voted to unionize, the next step is for the International Union of Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America, the new union for the Yale Security officers, to contact the University administration, Conroy said.

He added that, as of Tuesday night, there has been no contact between the union and the University.

John Cotter, deputy director for the NLRB’s office in Hartford, said the day after the vote that the labor relations agent administering the poll challenged the four ballots, over questions of eligibility: the four voters were not on a list earlier supplied to the NLRB, so their ballots were separated from the others pending investigation.

Cotter said the eligibility of these voters depended on if they were mistakenly left off the list or if they, in fact, do not satisfy voting requirements such as date of hiring or job classification.

“This situation is uncommon, but not exceptional,” Cotter said, adding that the Connecticut department faces similar problems a few times a year.

The vote to unionize marks the culmination of a series of major changes to Yale Security in the past year.

The University announced lay-offs in December 2009 for 13 officers. The layoffs ignited unionization talk, which before was almost non-existent, said one former high-ranking Security officer, who requested anonymity to avoid retaliation in future employment.

The former officer and one current officer, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid adverse impact on employment, said the lay-offs and subsequent rearranging of University Security led to confusion and organizational problems. These included shift mismanagement and training interruptions, the former employee said.

The problems, compounded with concerns for job security, three campus security sources said, led some employees to look for a way to organize a union and establish a contract with the administration.

In response to these concerns, Conroy said in an October e-mail that, “Yale values [its employees’] expertise and dedication and provides a productive and respectful working environment with excellent salaries and benefits that allow us to attract and retain the best employees.”

He added that the University would not speculate why some Security employees wanted to unionize.

With the addition of contract negotiations with the SPFPA, the University will be in discussions with all of the parties responsible for ensuring campus safety; negotiations for contract renewal with the Yale Police Department union began in February.

Earlier attempts at contacting the union headquarters in Michigan were denied pending the NLRB confirmation of the vote.

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