From the Harvard Crimson:

At the core of the workers’ grievance are demands for higher wages and pension benefits, the same issues that led workers to strike for five days in March. The picket lines—manned by workers ranging from secretaries to custodians to dietary workers—began on the day Yale’s dormitories opened to upperclass students. Jackson rallied workers and met with Yale President Richard C. Levin the following afternoon. “It was a very productive meeting,” Jackson said, adding that Levin “felt the workers at the bottom deserved a better deal than they had.” But the meeting did not lead to an agreement…

Tom Conroy, a Yale spokesperson, said the proportion of unionized workers who showed up for work indicates that the university’s offer “is a good offer.” According to Conroy, 59 percent of Local 34 workers showed up for work, although he added that a larger percentage of Local 35 members had not crossed picket lines.

Josh R. Eidelson, a Yale sophomore who is a spokesperson for the Undergraduate Organizing Committee, said the university has underestimated the number of workers out on strike. “Essentially, they made 500 workers disappear,” Eidelson said of Yale’s tally…

Dorie Baker, from Yale’s Office of Public Affairs, said the first day of pickets blocked incoming first-year students’ entrance through Phelps Gate, a major entryway to the university’s Old Campus.

Conroy said he did not expect the pickets to disrupt campus activity significantly. “We’ve done a lot of contingency planning for the strike,” he said. “We’re going to meet students’ needs inside and outside the classroom.” Conroy also said he did not think many students would be deterred from crossing picket lines to enter buildings, and that the pickets were not much of a deviation from Yale’s normal atmosphere. “It’s always kind of chaotic,” he said.

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. has stepped into the role of mediator in the ongoing negotiations…

Local 34 workers stayed out on strike for 10-and-a-half weeks in 1984, and Local 35 remained on strike for 13 weeks in 1977. Those two strikes were the longest in the unions’ histories.


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