Joint Statement of Yale University and Locals 34 and 35 of HERE January 14, 2002
As a result of joint discussions this summer designed to improve labor/management relations, Yale University and Locals 34 and 35 of HERE mutually agreed to hire a consultant to assess the past and current labor-management environment, and to suggest ways to change the relationship that both labor and management know is less than effective. After jointly interviewing consultants, we agreed to retain Restructuring Associates Inc. (RAI) of Washington, D.C. RAI conducted 120 interviews of labor and management representatives during the past few months. On January 14, 2002, RAI shared the results of those interviews with the interviewees.
The RAI report reaffirmed much of what the parties already knew and uncovered new areas to be further addressed. In the opinion of many of those interviewed, the labor-management relationship and the collective bargaining process for decades have been typically adversarial, unproductive, noisy and not terribly helpful to the University, the Unions, or the entire community. Issues about worker performance and productivity, problem-solving in the workplace, perceived anti-union animus, and the security of the unions’ membership, and the need for some understanding of how current organizing efforts will be conducted were all identified. Staff expressed their desires to contribute effectively to the mission of the University, but many feel they lack recognition, respect, a voice in the workplace, and necessary training to get the job done effectively.
The views of the interviewees are sobering and are cause for great concern to both labor and management. They present an array of challenges that will require great effort, creativity, and mutual trust in order to resolve. Nevertheless, those challenges form a foundation for both sides to go forward in a positive and mutually supportive way. As a next step, we have mutually agreed to engage RAI further and to participate in “interest-based bargaining” training on February 4 and 5, with a joint evaluation of that training on February 6. Additional dates have been set aside for bargaining after that training.
The leadership of the University and Locals 34 and 35 are committed to make this new process succeed, but it will take patience, understanding, and the support of our entire community. Because the continuation of an archaic and adversarial labor-management environment can only adversely affect the University, the unions, the staff, and the important contributions we all make on a daily basis, this effort is overdue and essential.