To the Editor:
Thursday’s labor rally in Beinecke Plaza left me with more questions and concerns than answers. Don’t get me wrong. I am definitely a proponent of worker’s rights. I believe very strongly that employees not only have the ability to organize, but that they have a certain responsibility to do so in order to guarantee that their rights are not infringed by their employer. However, I would like to point out that there are several problems with the current movement and impending strike that I have trouble ignoring as I attempt to support the labor movement.
First, I fail to understand the association of GESO and locals 34 and 35. While it may be argued that the unification of the two groups lends them more power, they seem to be working on totally different issues. There are people who support locals 34 and 35 who are either uninterested in GESO’s “troubles” or actively opposed to its agenda. Furthermore, to equate the economic and political questions faced by Yale’s graduate students to the economic plight of a dining hall worker is somewhat degrading. No offense to graduate students, but you will most likely be off teaching somewhere in a few years. Yale is the reality and the future of our workers. It is only your present.
Another issue I had with the rally was its condemnation of certain practices by the Yale Corporation. The Corporation was attacked both for not revealing its investments and for not being more democratic. Whether or not one believes that Yale has a responsibility to disclose its financial information to its students, this topic had nothing to do with locals 34 and 35 or GESO. An attack on the corporation’s undemocratic decision making is irrelevant to labor relations. This was the wrong place to bring it up.
And I would just like to say a few words about the “anti-protest” that took place as well. Concerning your opposition to locals 34 and 35, I would just like to ask if you have ever faced any kind of economic hardship in your lives. I highly doubt it. My advice to you is to imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes. If you worked in a Yale dining hall, would you be happy with the way in which you were treated right now? If you answered yes, you failed to imagine yourself really in the other person’s position.
Matthew Daly ’06
February 21, 2003