Four union members arrested while distributing leaflets at Yale-New Haven Hospital early this month received continuances on their cases during court appearances Friday morning.
The four workers, who were charged with second-degree criminal trespass, were arrested by hospital police after refusing to leave hospital property while distributing leaflets about unionization. The cases were continued until Sept. 27.
During negotiations last week, union leaders used the arrests as examples of what they called a “negative climate toward workers.” Locals 34 and 35, which represent nearly 4,000 Yale workers, have been negotiating contracts with the University for seven months and are considering holding a three-day walkout next month.
Yale officials said they had no part in the arrests because the hospital is a separate institution with a separate police force. Hospital officials said in a written statement that the workers had been asked to move because they were blocking an entrance and an ambulance.
Union leaders said prior to the court appearance that they planned to contest the charges using maps and diagrams of the area.
A major dispute between Yale and union leaders in recent years has been the relationship between the University and Yale-New Haven Hospital. Union leaders have contented that Yale controls the hospital and is responsible for the arrests, while University leaders have said the hospital is a separate institution and that they had no role in the arrests.
Union leaders also criticized Yale for four other arrests at the hospital last week. Last Tuesday, two Local 34 members and two members of the Graduate Employees and Students Organization were arrested while distributing leaflets outside the Hunter entrance to the Yale Cancer Center on Cedar Street.
–Arielle Levin Becker