Just days before the first legally binding graduate student union election in Yale’s history, graduate student teachers received an unexpected note in the mail — from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I–Vermont.
In the letter, which was dated Feb. 14 but began circulating on Facebook on Tuesday evening, Sanders expressed support for the graduate student union movement at Yale, wishing students “the very best in your efforts to create a democratic workplace where your voice can really be heard.”
“Having a union ends the arrangement where the employer makes all the decisions unilaterally, and institutes a legal process where your union organization collectively bargains with the employer regarding the issues you have identified as needing improvement,” Sanders wrote.
On Thursday, students who are currently teaching in nine of Yale’s academic departments will vote on whether to join graduate student union Local 33 and collectively bargain with the University.
The nine elections will take place in the Dwight Hall common room and Founders Hall on Prospect Street from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Students in East Asian Languages and Literatures, English, History, History of Art, Political Science and Sociology will vote in Dwight Hall. Students in Mathematics, Physics and Geology and Geophysics will vote in Founders Hall.