New Haven Superior Court Judge Bernadette Conway dismissed the cases Thursday against six of the seven Yale union supporters who still faced disorderly conduct charges for their actions during a three-week strike against the University which ended Sept. 18.
Charges were dismissed against Local 35 President Bob Proto and six Local 34 members — Donald Frigo, Mary Kilton, Alice Marsh, John-Albert Moseley and Victorine Shepard — leaving Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union President John Wilhelm ’67 as the only union supporter with charges pending. All seven had faced two counts of disorderly conduct.
Pursuant to an agreement the defendants had earlier struck with Supervising Assistant State’s Attorney David Newman, each defendant agreed to perform 15 hours of community service before yesterday’s hearing in exchange for the state agreeing to nolle — or not pursue at that time — the charges against them.
Shepard said she appreciated the chance to perform community service in New Haven because she viewed it as a way to repay city residents for their help during the strike.
“We wouldn’t have a contract without the New Haven community,” Shepard said.
Locals 34 and 35 are Yale’s largest unions, representing 4,000 clerical, technical, service and maintenance workers. HERE is their parent union.
The defendants sat together in Courtroom A of the New Haven Superior Court and waited as the judge read general directions to all of the defendants scheduled to appear before her that day. After a few other cases were heard, Conway called Frigo, Kilton, Marsh and Shepard to stand before her one-by-one. The state nolled each person’s charges and Conway dismissed them.
Proto did not attend the hearing, but charges against him were dismissed.
Conway said she did not dismiss the charge against Wilhelm because the documentation of his service was not filed. Attorney John Keefe, who represented the union members yesterday, said the charges will be dismissed once those documents are provided.
Local 34 President Laura Smith, who had also faced two counts of disorderly conduct and agreed to perform community service, said Thursday that she had completed her service earlier and therefore the charges against her were dismissed Dec. 10.
“To give back is always something we feel positive about doing for the community,” Smith said.
Yale President Richard Levin declined to comment about the dismissed charges.
Moseley, a senior administrative assistant at Walpole Library, and Shepard, the senior administrative assistant in the American Studies Department, said they had both been arrested three times during job actions preceding the current contract. Both said they enjoyed performing service for the community and wanted to continue interacting with New Haven.
Other union supporters, who had been arrested only once, had their charges dismissed in other hearings Oct. 31, Nov. 7, Nov. 13, Nov. 14 and Nov. 20. Around 300 total cases have been dismissed since the job action ended.
While yesterday’s hearing essentially completed that series of hearings, more than 100 students and workers were arrested Dec. 10 for allegedly blocking the intersection of High and Elm streets during a demonstration for expanded childcare and healthcare benefits for women.
“Some have been placed on the firm trial list, others are due for pretrial throughout February,” Keefe said.
Keefe said the pretrial judge will look for a way to resolve the cases that would be agreeable to both sides. He said he did not know yet what sort of resolution would be satisfactory to the defense.
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