Local 33: New Name, Same Story.
Updates In Response to the Current Hunger Strike and Elections:
1) We wholeheartedly disagree with the current 'symbolic hunger strike' by the eight members of Local 33 as well as their self-comparisons with Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi and absurd claims that their fight with Yale is one against 'Trump's agenda'. This strike was organized without consulting their 'constituents' in the departments that voted for unionization or the rest of the graduate school. Local 33s real opponents are not Yale's administration: they are most of the graduate school. We are not surprised however to see another disturbing, inappropriate tactic accompanied by self-aggrandizement used by the leaders of Local 33. As written by a student who voted for the union in a YDN op-ed:
'The micro-unit strategy was already an admission of defeat, appearing to many as a tacit acknowledgment of the lack of broad support among graduate students. [...]
The hunger strike becomes a technique of shameless self-promotion and marks the final defeat of the union’s own political strategy.'
2) The elections organized by Local 33 have shown once again that they does not have the support they claim they do: Local 33 lost Physics which would have been 1/4 of the potential unionized students despite their claims that they would win with over 70% of the votes. It stands to reason that it's unlikely Local 33 would be able to win any other department that they didn't even try to hold a vote in. If the current departments are allowed to unionize, Local 33 would have a total of about 220 students in a graduate school of 2800, hardly an achievement.
In response to many email inquiries we've added an FAQ section. Thank you for contacting us.
We are a community of graduate students opposed to Local 33 (but not necessarily opposed to a graduate student union).
We are concerned for our fellow graduate students who have suffered extensive harassment. We are concerned with Local 33's tactics and political affiliations. We are concerned with paying union dues (a value of $600-$900/year based on what other unions charge) that will ultimately fund whatever UNITE HERE leadership decides. As per Connecticut law, there is no opting out and if you do not comply with Local 33, you risk expulsion from Yale.
Local 33 will not serve the best interests of graduate students, but only the best interests of their leadership at the cost of graduate students. Therefore, we call on Local 33 to:
- Stop harassing graduate students and respect that no means no
- Declare independence from external organizations to better support graduate student interests
Welcome to the Community
Local 33 has harassed students in their labs, offices, and homes for years. Their systematic refusal to take 'no' for an answer and violation of privacy has been compared to sexual harassment.
Local 33 is part of UNITE HERE, a larger union in the US and Canada with a lot at stake in New Haven politics and no experience organizing graduate students. Local 33 members have been pressured to canvas for local politicians that they did not support. If Local 33 wins, refusal to pay union dues (which would fund union staff and political campaigns) or refusal to strike when ordered could lead to expulsion, making us ideal pawns in local political fights.
Local 33 claims to have majority support, but its micro-unit bargaining tactic is evidence that it lacks the broad support needed to win a general election. The micro-units would affect all graduate students without giving them the opportunity to vote. This shows Local 33's lack of respect for democratic values.
Local 33 False Claims
Local 33 has repeatedly claimed the successes of GSA and GPSS as its own. These claims are not only false, but they also reflect Local 33's lack of understanding of how to implement change. In some cases, such as the construction of additional graduate student housing, Local 33 and UNITE HERE leadership have actually been antagonistic to the best interest of graduate students.