Issued May 22, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C.—SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry issued the following statement in support of Yale University graduate workers’ demand that administrators negotiate in good faith with their union:
“When working people join together in unions, they can have a strong voice to take on an economic and political system where the rules are rigged against us by politicians who put greedy corporations' profits over the needs of working families. This is especially true in higher education where more families can’t afford to send their children to college and yet many campuses refuse to recognize hardworking graduate students as employees.
“In the last four years, 30,000 faculty, graduate student workers and other employees at more than 60 campuses have chosen to join together in SEIU, and as a result many have dramatically improved their pay, job security and won a voice to advocate for the future of higher education. At these campuses, including competitive institutions such as the University of Chicago, Tufts University, Boston University and Georgetown University, administrations have followed the law and negotiated in good faith with employees. However, Yale University President Salovey has put Yale’s reputation at risk, setting it apart from peer institutions by not recognizing workers’ rights to bargain collectively.
“Not only is Yale’s obstruction unlawful, it is grossly unethical and contrary to Yale's stated mission. While President Trump may seek to disregard our nation's long cherished values and constitutional framework, Yale should not hasten the process of eroding our cherished rights. Courageous, committed and determined Yale graduate student employees have sought for two and a half decades to engage in free association, to have a union, on their campus. Now, eight graduate teachers are putting their lives on the line to fight for their constitutional right to belong to their union.
“The Service Employees International Union supports Yale's graduate student employees and calls on President Salovey and Yale University Trustees to honor the rights of these workers by recognizing the union and engaging constructively and respectfully with its workers.”