March 9, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
New Haven, C0 - Graduate assistants at Yale University have voted to form six “microunits” representing different academic departments, according to results released by the National Labor Relations Board Feb. 27.
UNITE HERE Local 33 will represent more than 150 workers in the six departments. “This moment has been decades in the making,” Local 33 chair Aaron Greenberg, a Ph.D. candidate in political science, said a statement from the union. The union adopted the strategy of trying to set up separate departmental bargaining units rather than have one campus-wide vote. It won six of the nine departments it contested—English, geology, history, art history, math, and sociology—but lost narrowly in physics and, after the NLRB ruled on challenged ballots, in political science and East Asian Languages and Literatures. “After months of conversation, we finally got to vote to form a union,” Local 33 Secretary-Treasurer Camille Cole, a graduate teacher in history, said. “Now it’s time for us to sit down at the negotiating table and bargain a contract.” Yale graduate-school dean Lynn Cooley said the university will “will respond more fully in the coming days,” implying that only a small minority of graduate students had supported the union. Read more