Local 33 has sent President Peter Salovey eight letters inviting him to eight separate meetings on April 12 to begin collective bargaining over union contracts with teaching fellows in eight academic departments. Yale respectfully notes that this request is premature because the legal questions raised by Local 33’s unprecedented “micro-unit” strategy remain unanswered. Just last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) scheduled a hearing for the week of April 24 to address some of the issues, and the NLRB has not yet ruled on others. Yale respects the legal process in which it and Local 33 are jointly engaged.
On Feb. 23, graduate student union elections were held, in which only 313 graduate student teaching fellows were declared eligible to vote in nine separate departmental micro-unit elections. As a result of Local 33’s micro-unit strategy, approximately 90% of the 2,600 doctoral students in the Graduate School were not permitted to vote. On April 6, the university received eight letters from Local 33-UNITE HERE Chair Aaron Greenberg requesting that the university begin collective bargaining on April 12 with the six micro-units of graduate student teaching fellows that were certified by the NLRB following the elections, as well as the two additional micro-units which were not certified because the vote was too close to call.
Given that Yale’s request for review is pending before the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C., Local 33’s demand to begin collective bargaining is premature. Moreover, units have not been certified in the Departments of Political Science and East Asian Languages and Literatures, and a hearing with respect to the challenged ballots in those elections has been scheduled for the week of April 24.
Yale is still engaged with Local 33 before the NLRB. The university respects the legal process for resolving labor issues while this case continues to move forward.