To the Editor:

The reason the Yale-New Haven Hospital cancer center has been delayed has nothing to do with who the president of the New Haven Board of Aldermen is, but rather with the refusal of the hospital administration to deal with its neighbors, its workers and its host city as equal partners.

Both Alderman Jorge Perez and Alderman Carl Goldfield, who replaced Perez as president, are on record as strong supporters of a community benefits agreement and the need for hospital workers to have a fair union election, free from intimidation. To suggest that Goldfield doesn’t care about the Hill community just because he doesn’t live there or that Perez only cares because he does in an insult to both men’s integrity and leadership.

It is true that New Haven is a diverse community. More than 50 percent of its citizens are black or Hispanic, and Goldfield and Perez as well as many other alders and elected officials recognize that all residents deserve consideration and respect with regard to development projects undertaken in the city.

If the News wants to see a cancer center built, as we all do, then it should stop scapegoating aldermen and call on Yale-New Haven Hospital to stop dictating and sit down and negotiate a comprehensive benefits agreement.

Robert J. Proto

Laura D. Smith

Jan. 19, 2006

Proto is the president of the Local 35 labor union and Smith is the president of the Local 34 labor union.