Sammy Westfall

In the midst of ongoing contract negotiations with the University, members of the Yale University Security Officers Association — Yale’s security union — hosted a demonstration outside the entrance of Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall on Tuesday to demand fair compensation for “the risks [they] face.”

At roughly 3 p.m. on the second day of Yale’s Bulldog Days, University security officers clad in union T-shirts handed out pamphlets to prospective Yalies and their families.

The union, which comprises all 124 of Yale’s security officers, is asking for a “fair and equitable successor collective bargaining agreement” with University officials. According to the pamphlet, the union’s contract expired on Jan. 19 — but both parties have agreed to an extension agreement that runs through April 30.

“Although parties have been negotiating for nearly a year, major issues remain unresolved,” the pamphlet read. “As a result, we respectfully request your support in our quest to achieve a fair and equitable contract settlement.”

The University and union have engaged in productive bargaining since June 2017, University Spokesman Tom Conroy said. According to Conroy, the parties have narrowed the issues up for discussion, and the remaining topics mostly pertain to economic factors. Union President Robert Corso said the union is also pushing for better health care benefits and minimum staffing so that there are enough officers to protect the students. Conroy told the News that the parties have mutually agreed to retain a private mediator.

Conroy said that “despite wages at the top of the market for security guards,” the University has made proposals during the negotiations which include “significant pay increases” for union members.

Corso told the News at the protest that the union is looking to have a wage scale so that every officers’ wage is uniform based on the time they arrive. “ “[Yale will] tell you they put a ton of money on the table, but it doesn’t help if it’s not scaled up the right way,” Corso said.

In October 2018, the Yale Police Union and the University ratified a joint contract agreement after a 28-month-long contract dispute. Throughout those months, the police union held several rallies, similarly handing out pamphlets to prospective students during Bulldog Days last year.

In the pamphlet handed out to the Yale admits and their families on Tuesday, the union noted specific crimes that have occured on Yale’s campus, including an assault of a professor in November 2015, as well as an armed robbery in April 2018. The pamphlet also referenced a shooting of a New Haven pedestrian on Elm and Howe streets that occured on April 1, 2019.

“As parents of Yale students, you can be assured that our Security Officers are committed to protecting your daughters and sons during their time at Yale. Their safety is our highest priority,” the pamphlet read. 

The pamphlet stated that, since 2012, working conditions of the officers have increasingly changed. According to the union, the University has reassigned its security officers from working inside buildings to patrolling streets. The pamphlet added that the officers have been placed in “a more dangerous working environment” on the streets of New Haven without increased compensation for the increased risks involved.

Yale’s police force is separate from the University’s security guard force, and security guards do not perform the work of sworn police officers, according to Conroy. He said that over five years ago, Yale implemented “best practice procedures,” which require security guards to patrol both the interior and immediate exterior of their assigned buildings. He added that during this time, security officers received the annual wage increases they negotiated.

“The negotiating committee, including both union and management members, have been working hard over many months,” Conroy told the News. “The University values the work our security and communications officers perform and looks forward to further productive negotiations and to achieving a successor labor agreement with [the union].”

The Yale Security Department dates back to the 1970s.

Sammy Westfall |