GESO yesterday decided not to participate in a proposed Graduate Student Assembly-sponsored town meeting on graduate student unionization that would have included representatives of both the Yale administration and GESO.
The refusal comes after the assembly, the official representative body of Yale graduate students, worked most of the semester to organize the event and indefinitely derails plans for the public forum. The Graduate Employees and Students Organization has long said it wants to discuss graduate student concerns with the administration, but GESO chair J.T. Way GRD ’05 said the proposed structure, which did not include representatives of local unions affiliated with GESO, was unacceptable.
The GESO coordinating committee voted not to participate in the April 10 meeting, which was proposed by the assembly Wednesday. This proposal was the second from the Graduate Student Assembly and came after original plans for a Feb. 21 meeting failed to produce an accord among all prospective participants.
“We’re not going to participate in this proposed meeting, which is disappointing,” Way said. “We feel that we should have some say — not the final say, certainly — but at least the ability to negotiate [over the structure of the meeting].”
Graduate Student Assembly chair Tyler Radniecki GRD ’05 could not be reached for comment late last night. Wednesday, he had spoken optimistically about the possibility of an accord based on the proposed structure of the meeting.
“We feel we’ve worked hard to make a very fair and just format,” Radniecki said. “We’ve done some compromising, we’ve made some adjustments.”
Way said he thought there was a possibility some kind of town meeting still could happen this spring, although he was less confident that any meeting would be held under the auspices of the GSA.
In addition to Way’s general frustration with what he called GESO’s inability to negotiate about the format, Way expressed frustration that a representative of Local 34 or 35 or the union seeking to organize Yale-New Haven Hospital workers, all of which are allied with GESO through the Federation of Hospital and University Employees, was not included among the proposed panelists for the event.
“A town meeting on unionization should include the town and should include the union,” Way said. “Graduate students who join GESO are joining a number of alliances.”
He added that he feels the problem is not between GESO and the Graduate Student Assembly.
“This is not about GESO vs. the GSA,” Way said. “This is about how do you envision the community.”
The new proposal came after a previous attempt fell through when all parties could not agree on the structure of the meeting or the make-up of the panel.
The GSA’s new proposal called for the speakers to include a GESO representative, an anti-GESO graduate student, pro-GESO professor Michael Denning, anti-GESO professor Peter Salovey, administration representative Provost Alison Richard, and a representative from a union at a university where teaching assistants already are in a collective bargaining relationship.
So far only Denning officially had accepted the invitation.
“I am pleased to receive an invitation and I will be back in touch promptly,” Richard had said earlier yesterday.