In this week’s New Haven Advocate, Paul Bass brings home the irony of Yale’s ONHSA- (Office of New Haven and State Affairs)sponsored picket of the Board of Aldermen against Naclerio’s (triumphant) resolution calling on Yale to pay its share in taxes to the city:
Yale’s managers were fired up. They couldn’t take no more. They sent a message to their compadres at the Chamber of Commerce calling for help. Dozens took to the streets. They brought signs. They massed in front of New Haven’s City Hall last week. And they marched.
What brought them out to protest?
New Haven’s high poverty?
The state of the schools?
A broken criminal justice system?
Nope. The managers and their comrades picketed on the evening of July 7 to protest New Haven government for being unfair to … Yale.
Another highlight of the article:
Last week’s events signaled “a cultural shift” at that office, observes Julio Gonzalez, executive assistant to Mayor John DeStefano and a Yale alum. “This has nothing to do with their mission. This is definitely different from what they’ve done in the past. Now it’s a lobbying arm.”
Bruce Alexander, a Yale vice president who heads the Office of New Haven & State Affairs, responds that the demonstration fits into the office’s mission: “to inform the community, out of a sense of respect for their opinion, of the facts, and not let those who seek to discredit us for their own narrow agenda define us in the community.”
Anyone who wants to check out Yale’s spin on the facts first-hand, visit Yale’s Office of Public Affairs here. Among their latest work: an ad “congratulating a list of employees who’d reached 25, 30, 35, 40, or 45 years of service at Yale and trumpeting Yale’s record as an employer. 47 of the employees honored on the list wrote back to the papers that had printed it:
We are proud to have been honored recently for our many years of service working at Yale University, but we were surprised to see our names in the Yale advertisement published by the Register claiming that Yale provides “strong job security, good wages, and excellent benefits.” We do not believe this to be true.
Throughout our years of working at Yale, we have fought and struggled with Yale’s administration to force them to provide what little they do give us. Nevertheless, our wages are still too low, we still face retirement into poverty, and Yale is still threatening the future security of our jobs.
A constant stream of misleading ads isn’t going to change this. It’s only going to change when Yale decides to treat us, and all its employees, with respect.
The most telling part of Bruce Alexander’s quote, however, would have to be the accusation that the unions have a “narrow agenda” – meaning perhaps that they value their workers’ wages over, say, Bruce Alexander’s. See less than a year ago, President Richard Levin wrote me and the rest of a student body a letter about his fear that the unions had “a broader agenda” – meaning that those thugs not only wanted good wages and benefits, but also wanted their neighbors in Fair Haven to be able to get jobs at Yale, their children to be able to attend adequately-funded schools, and their fellow workers to be able to organize. Maybe the polite thing would be for Yale’s leadership just to dictate to Union leadership at the negotiating table the precise acceptable breadth of their agenda, so as to avoid this Goldilock’s problem we seem to be having. But first they would have to come to the negotiating table…