Yale’s unions have hired a media coordinator to supplement existing communications staff as the University’s labor groups continue to prepare for upcoming contract negotiations.
David DeRosa, the new public relations specialist, joined the Federation of Hospital and University Employees — the alliance among Yale’s recognized and prospective unions — this week. He is working alongside communications director Antony Dugdale, who will now spend additional time conducting research for the federation.
DeRosa’s arrival comes as locals 34 and 35, which represent clerical and technical workers and service and maintenance employees, respectively, have begun to step up their public presence. Their contracts with the University expire Jan. 20, 2002.
In the past several months, the federation has held rallies and invited several pro-union guest speakers to campus. Two weeks ago, the groups held their first joint meeting since the last contract negotiation period in 1996, when both unions went on strike.
Locals 34 and 35 are joined in the federation by the Graduate and Student Employees Organization and Service Employees International Union District 1199. GESO, a group of Yale graduate students seeking to form a union, has sought recognition since 1991. District 1199 began organizing 1,800 Yale-New Haven Hospital service and maintenance workers early last year, although they have not yet been recognized.
Union officials have said GESO’s fate and the plight of hospital workers would be a key factor in the progress of locals 34 and 35’s upcoming negotiations with Yale, but how they will actually affect the progress of contract negotiation for locals 34 and 35 remains unclear.
DeRosa, who is on the Service Employees International Union payroll, is new to the Yale union scene. He had previously worked for various non-profit organizations, including labor unions and environmental groups such as Greenpeace.
DeRosa said his job currently consists largely of meeting with the federation’s steering committees, listening to their message and then promoting their ideas.
DeRosa’s future counterpart in spinning the union negotiations is also a recent arrival.
Yale recently appointed Helaine Klasky, formerly of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, to be the new director of the University’s Office of Public Affairs in late March. She will assume her post at Yale early next month.
The next major union event will be next Friday, following former president George Bush’s speech in Woosley Hall for the Tercentennial Weekend. Two separate groups of employees will march — one beginning on Hillhouse Avenue and the other at Yale-New Haven Hospital — and join on the New Haven Green for a rally.