About Us

Local 33 is a campaign that is organized and led by graduate student workers. Fundamentally, organizing a union is about talking to and building consensus with your co-workers. If you want to organize your department, get in touch, and a member of the Coordinating Committee will reach out.

Coordinating Committee

Arita Acharya (she/her)

Hi I’m Arita (Ritu). I’m a graduate worker in the Department of Genetics where I try to figure out what genes and mutations cause certain serious medical conditions in young children. My graduate colleagues and I put in a lot of hard work doing the research that Yale is famous for, training its employees, and educating its students. I want Yale to acknowledge that all this work is necessary for scientific advancement, and to give the workers performing it the respect, resources, and dignity we deserve. I’m fighting for a union so that my graduate colleagues and I can have a seat at the table when it comes to deciding the medical coverage, salary, and work conditions we need. It has been a pleasure to fight alongside my colleagues, as well as the broader New Haven community, for the right of every worker, in the academy and elsewhere, to have their material needs met and their hard work respected.

Alicia Badea (they/them)

My name is Alicia, and I’m a second year in Comparative Literature. For me, this movement is a commitment to the present and future of one sphere of intellectual life, and to the workers and students who—from teaching to service to clerical work—make it possible. I want to secure the resources and compensation for the work we currently do, to lay the foundation for even better conditions for our incoming colleagues, and, through our collective power, to envision and create a sustainable future for our labor.

Nicole Boyd (she/her)

I’m a fourth-year PhD student in History of Art, studying Italian Baroque painting and architecture. I’ve been a Teaching Fellow since my second year, and began organizing with Local 33 last spring. Organizing has, more than any seminar, colloquium, or conference, made me feel connected to the community of grad students at Yale and has given me a sense of purpose that transcends my individual research. I want to win a union to build power and agency for my colleagues.

Carson Bryant (he/him)

I’m a sixth-year PhD Candidate in Yale’s MB&B department studying how ribosomes are made. I organize on behalf of Yale graduate workers like myself, who couldn’t access mental healthcare until months after a crisis, or who need equitable vision and dental coverage and the protection of an unbiased third-party grievance procedure. We deserve the stability and respect rendered by a Fair Contract with our employer, and together we will win it!

Chris Camp (any pronouns)

I am a second year PhD student in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program. I joined Local 33 in my first year because my experiences in academia have made it abundantly clear that graduate students need to form strong unions to protect their rights as workers. As  unionized workers, we can win better grievance procedures, protected health benefits, and accountability to our New Haven neighbors. Graduate students deserve worker’s rights and just compensation! 

Dylan Davidson (he/him)

Hi! I’m Dylan, a fourth-year in the departments of English and Film & Media Studies. I’m organizing to build solidarity and shared purpose among grad workers across Yale, so that we can fight together for better working conditions and strengthen the labor movement in New Haven. Together, we’ll demand that Yale do its part and pay its fair share to the city.

Rajeev Erramilli (he/him)

Hi! I’m Rajeev, a fifth-year in physics. As grad workers, we don’t have many protections from abuses of power in our departments. In New Haven, the history of redlining keeps the city segregated to this day. A union is the best way that we as graduate workers can help make Yale and New Haven a better place for all of us. With a union contract, we can set into stone workplace protections for us; and when we’re organized, we can push for further commitments from the university to the people of New Haven.

Abigail Fields (she/her)

My name is Abigail and I am a fifth-year in the French Department. I have worked as a language instructor in the Yale French Language Program. I’ve also been an instructor and TF in French and Comparative Literature. I want a union so that all graduate workers at Yale can have access to guaranteed, reliable, and accessible mental health care. I, like many of my friends and coworkers, have struggled with serious mental health issues in my time at Yale. When I contacted mental health services, I was met with months-long wait times, short lists of providers with no availabilities, and other signs of an over-loaded, under-resourced system. I felt worthless and helpless and I don’t want myself or anyone to feel like that again—that’s why I want a union and a contract that holds Yale accountable to providing real care for workers

Amanda Griffin (she/her)

I’m a sixth year in Religious Studies, and I want a union as one important step in making the university a more democratic place. Grad students desperately need things like cost-of-living raises, but we also need more power to influence university practices that contribute to New Haven’s high living costs for everyone (e.g., Yale’s much-too-modest financial support to the city).

Richard Habeeb (he/him)

My name is Richard and I build fun things in the Computer Science department. I’m a fifth-year PhD candidate and I’ve been a Teaching Fellow for three years now. For me a Union could fight for much needed benefits like included healthcare for spouses and partners, or included dental care, vision care, or speech therapy. As a teacher of a challenging required course in one of the fastest growing majors, a union would help recognize and compensate me for all of the time and effort I spend designing, scaling, and running the classroom on and offline.

Cecelia Harold (she/her)

Hi, my name is Cecelia! I’m a fifth-year in Genetics. A part of why I organize with Local 33 is to increase protections for myself and other workers who use hazardous materials to do research and are at risk of serious injury. This extends out to all graduate workers who need to take medical leave for any reason and have limited to no healthcare or stipend during that time. I want a union contract to ensure that workers who go on medical leave don’t have to worry about how they’ll take care of themselves or their families.

Rachel Heuer (she/her)

I’m Rachel, a second-year PhD student in the Genetics Department, where I study germ cells and human genetic inheritance. I love the work that I do, but passion for the job isn’t enough to create a stable and healthy working environment. With teaching responsibilities on the horizon, it’s important to me to ensure that my colleagues and I are fairly compensated for the effort we put in working in both the classroom and the lab. The more we can take care of ourselves and each other – with good salaries, reliable health care, and safe working conditions – the more we can help the whole community thrive.

Daniel Judt (he/him)

I’m Daniel, a second-year in the history department. Before coming to Yale, I spent a year organizing with UNITE HERE Local 11 in Arizona and California. Fighting alongside longtime union members changed my understanding of what it means to build a powerful community. I joined Local 33 because I want all graduate workers to have a say in our working conditions. Together, we can make this university better, fairer, and more just.

Alex Kim (he/him)

I’m Alex, a second year PhD student-worker in the Architecture department. As a PhD program affiliated with a professional school, the teaching requirements in our department have little oversight, and our responsibilities often far exceed the norm, especially when we are brought on to teach studios. Along with this also comes a very stressful university experience, and I have seen many friends struggle with mental health—especially those of marginalized backgrounds—yet care that can speak to the queer, trans, or BIPOC experience is limited and stretched thin. With the collective power of a union, we can win fair compensation for the essential work we do for the school and a more expanded healthcare program to make sure we stay healthy during our time here, both physically and mentally!

Noah Yann Lee (he/him)

My name is Noah Yann Lee, a 3rd year in the Computational Biology and Bioinformatics PhD program here at Yale. My work is centered around immunology, where we saw a host of communications breakdowns and leadership failures globally during the pandemic. We learned a lot of lessons about accountability and preventative measures, and it’s time to use those insights here at Yale. When there’s a loophole letting students fall through the cracks, promises not kept, or a lapse in clear messaging, it’s time to stop passing the buck back and forth between committees, faculty, and students until the clock runs out and the next batch of students is here. I’m here to organize, stand up for my peers, and ensure the accountability of a contract is in place to help Yale foster real growth and live up to its missions and pledges as a university and member of the New Haven community.

Ridge Liu (he/him) — Co President

Hi all! I’m a fifth-year physicist from Houston, studying neutrino physics. I organize because I’ve experienced firsthand just how precarious our positions are and just how poorly we are set up to succeed. On the way, I’ve seen that we can achieve really amazing things when we act together, so I’m looking forward to winning this union with you!

Camila Marcone (she/her)

Hello! My name is Camila and I’m a graduate worker at Yale in the Program for Medieval Studies. My research focuses on the environment of late Medieval Spain and Early Modern Latin America. I need a union because I hope to become a parent during my time at Yale. After doing research into the cost of daycare, I learned that in Connecticut the average cost of daycare for a single child is $12,000 a year. This is about one-third of my salary, and not sustainable. My partner and I have had to make tough decisions about his career to offset this major expense. I am the daughter of immigrants from Peru, and I know firsthand how the healthcare benefits and job security of their union jobs helped them grab a foothold in a new country. I am motivated by a recent win at the alma mater for my Master’s, Fordham University, where graduate workers won their union in a landslide in February of 2022. For me, organizing is a powerful way to push back against the precarity of the job market. At this time, over 70% of college instructor jobs in the US are contingent or off the tenure track with low salaries and no benefits. We need to organize and win better lives for ourselves now!

Buğra Mirsat Şahin (he/him)

I am a third year in the Chemical and Environmental Engineering department. I am passionate about L33 because my job is a big part of my life, and all of our lives. We spend almost half of our waking hours there. Just like everywhere else, I believe our workplace should be a democracy too. A union would be a huge step towards achieving that by giving us a voice in decision-making.

Matt Mitchell (he/him)

Hi, I’m Matt, a third year PhD student in physics. I’m a part of Local 33 because I believe Yale needs to commit more of its massive resources to supporting research and the people who do it. That means better funding, better health care, and a better process for dealing with harassment.

Farrah Mohammed (she/her)

Hello, my name is Farrah and I am a biomedical engineer! I am passionate about neural engineering and investigating solutions for treating brain injuries using nanotechnology. A union is important to me because I want to make sure that all of our health needs are met. For those of us with rare chronic illnesses, finding appropriate treatment is a journey and having only some specialties covered is financially straining. Also, we need a formal grievance procedure. Too many times now I have heard of valid complaints left unresolved. My hope is that with a union, we can be given the resources that allow us to place more focus on our research and teaching without worry.

Jane Nichols (she/her)

Hi! I’m Jane, a third-year in Religious Studies. To me, being a part of Local 33 means taking seriously the work that I and those around me do, as well as the struggles that keep us from doing that work to our full potential. In my case, those struggles started before I even arrived, in trying to navigate New Haven’s rental market on a delivery driver’s paycheck. I want a union contract because low-income student workers will not be truly respected here at Yale until we are guaranteed the resources necessary to find and secure housing.

Javier Porras Madero (he/him)

I am a third-year in the history department. While universities like Yale accumulate extreme wealth, program sizes shrink and job opportunities grow increasingly precarious every year. I’m involved in Local 33 because I believe that this situation will not be fixed in favor of workers until we have a strong academic labor movement. As a low-income, first-generation student, the uncertainty of a collapsing job market and limited health coverage (and even more limited dental and eye care) has made my time at Yale one marked more by financial stress than by learning. I believe that with a union we can build collective power to change that.

Madison Rackear (they/she)

Hey y’all! I’m Madi, a fourth year in the genetics department. I got involved with L33 because a version of Yale that is just and respectful – both toward its workers and the New Haven community – includes proper recognition and compensation of graduate student workers. For me, this includes better mental health care, fair grievance procedures, and clear teaching responsibilities.

Naila Razzaq (she/her)

Naila Razzaq

Hi! I’m a fifth year in Religious Studies and work on the Late Antique Mediterranean and Levant. I organize because I think it’s imperative that Yale provide adequate teaching support
and health care for the graduate workers who maintain the university’s standards through their research and mentorship of undergrads. I’ve taught as a TF and an Instructor of Record for several years now and I’m passionate about teaching and mentoring, but I’ve often been expected to work well beyond the weekly hourly limit with little support or resources. Graduate school is also where many people experience various life transitions and uncertainties (physical, mental, emotional, etc.) and it’s essential that the university prioritize health care along with teaching/research support so we can do our best work.

Gabriel Rivera Cotto (he/him)

My name is Gabriel, and I am a second-year at the History Dept. During my first year at the university, I have noticed that Grad workers do more than just teach and do research. We write grants and help edit manuscripts. We coordinate academic events and help build Yale’s reputation and wealth. I want a union and a contract to establish clear job descriptions and fair compensation for grad workers.

Paul Seltzer (he/him) — Co President

I am a sixth-year PhD candidate in the History Department, I am a sixth-year PhD candidate in the History Department, studying 20th-century U.S. labor history and writing a dissertation about workers at the Atlanta Airport. Before coming to Yale, I organized as a rank-and-file union leader and steward at that same airport (though my heart will always be in my home state of NJ). I organize for a lot of reasons, but especially so that graduate workers can have more accessible mental health care.

Serena Strecker (she/her)

I’m a third-year PhD student in the History Department I’m a third-year PhD student in the History Department specializing in medieval and early modern Europe. I‘m passionate about winning a union at Yale because I want to see my colleagues working and thriving with the security of a fair contract. I want to be sure that our health insurance won‘t go away if we take a medical leave of absence. I want a third-party grievance procedure to ensure that allegations of harassment will be fairly heard and not swept under the rug. And I love that organizing together makes me more aware of the needs and struggles of my colleagues across the graduate school and of people in the broader New Haven community.

Adam Waters (he/him)

I am a fifth-year in the History Department, and my research focuses on the history of left religious activism in the Americas in the 1970s and 1980s. I am fighting for a union at Yale because I know that unionizing can and will deliver material benefits to graduate workers, from improved pay and benefits to safer and more secure working conditions. I particularly want to win a contract that includes easy and affordable access to physical and mental healthcare for queer folks.