Statement by Yale University and UNITE HERE Locals 34 and & 35
After years of effort by Yale University and UNITE HERE Locals 34 and 35 to build a more positive and collaborative working relationship, we have reached a historic labor relations milestone.
Today, more than nine months before the expiration of current labor contracts, we announce tentative agreements on new three-year contracts for the more than 4,500 members of UNITE HERE Locals 34 and 35. We believe these new contracts enhance Yale’s capacity to fulfill its role as one of the world’s leading research universities and allow the unions to grow as the University grows. The new contracts build upon the wage and benefit standards achieved in previous contractsand will assist the economic stability of New Haven and the broader region.
In 2003, when the last labor contracts were concluded, we committed to a structured and cooperative process to enable the University and its major unions to have open and meaningful discussions about the challenges faced in day-to-day work at Yale. In the past, our labor contracts had typically only been settled after disruptive strikes that left an aftermath of acrimony and distrust.This cycle has been broken thanks to the leadership of the Labor-Management Policy Board which currently consists of Bruce Alexander (Vice President, New Haven and State Affairs & Campus Development), Shauna King (Vice President, Finance and Business Operations), Mike Peel (Vice President, Human Resources and Administration), Bob Proto (President, Local 35), Laura Smith (President, Local 34), and Cathy Meyerson (Staff Director, Local 34).
The Labor-Management Policy Board was created five years ago to jointly address workplace problems and projects. Through this effort, and the Best Practices work it guided, working relationships were improved and a joint commitment was made to forge a different labor-relations future together. This joint problem solving work evolved into a committed effort to reach an early and peaceful agreement on new contracts to succeed those scheduled to expire in January 2010.
The elements of our tentative new agreements address a variety of interests and concerns important to both sides. The agreements address union desires to grow with the University, to provide employment security and enhanced development opportunities for members, and to continue to make economic progress. The agreements also address the University’s interest in containing the growth of fringe benefit costs, to provide wage growth appropriate to the market, and to increase workplace productivity.
Improving the historically troubled relationship between labor and management, and arriving at these tentative new labor contracts, has required hard work, dedication, and persistence by all. We hope that union members will ratify these agreements later today and that we all will return to campus tomorrow with renewed energy and cooperative spirit to conduct the important work of the University.
Helaine Klasky at Yale: 203-432-1345
Evan Cobb at UNITE HERE: 203-624-5161