On Monday, January 9th the National Labor Relations Board tallied our votes and we won our union! The vote was 1,860 in favor to 179 against, a victory of 91%. It’s clear—grad workers at Yale want a union. Congratulations to everyone who organized for and participated in this historic election and democratic process!
So, what happens next?
Yale has seven days to file objections. If it doesn’t, the NLRB will then certify Local 33 as our union. Graduate workers at Yale have maintained one of the country’s longest continuous union representation drives against fierce opposition from the Yale Administration, including previous refusal to recognize the results of NLRB elections.
If the Yale administration recognizes the results of this election, teachers and researchers from Yale’s graduate and professional programs will begin the process of negotiating our first union contract.
Stay tuned for updates and ways to be involved in your union!
We’ve filed for an election with the NLRB—and we’re asking Yale to commit to neutrality!
What does filing for an NLRB election mean?
Workers can seek recognition for their union by filing a petition for recognition with the National Labor Relations Board. This petition must be supported by at least thirty percent of the workers, which is usually demonstrated by union cards.
On October 24, we submitted thousands of union cards from graduate researchers and graduate and professional teachers to the regional office of the NLRB. We also submitted the election petition to President Salovey, but no cards have or will be submitted to any representative of the university.
What is the Yale administration’s position on graduate worker unionization? Why are we asking for neutrality?
Since May 2022, we have called on leaders at Yale to publicly commit to being neutral and letting graduate workers decide for ourselves free of employer interference or intimidation whether we want a union. On October 13, we held a rally attended by over 1,000 grad workers and our allies demanding respect for our work and a real commitment to neutrality.
Members of the Yale administration like President Peter Salovey and Dean Lynn Cooley have publicly expressed their opposition to a graduate worker union in the past, and the university has already circulated a misleading “FAQ” on graduate union organization similar to those used by other university administrations attempting to influence the outcome of union elections. This year, Dean Cooley has called for “robust debate” about graduate worker unionization. However, it may be difficult for many grad workers, especially those in our community who are already more marginalized or precarious at the university, to feel confident in exercising their basic legal rights to organize or support a union when people in positions of power at Yale have opposed such efforts. Local 33, along with many of our allies on campus and in New Haven continue to call on university leaders to make a real commitment to neutrality and respecting our voice.
Read more about the steps to winning a union, the NLRB process, and what happens next. If you haven’t already, you also still sign your union card!
We started signing union cards.
Signing a union card is an important and meaningful way to demonstrate your support for a union. In just a matter of weeks, over 3,000 graduate and professional student workers signed a union card.
This past spring and summer, we called on members of the Yale community and alumni to ask President Salovey to do something simple: commit to respecting the rights of graduate workers to democratically decide to unionize without the interference of an anti-union campaign.
We also joined our community organizing partners, New Haven Rising, in city-wide canvassing to raise the standard of living in New Haven through local hiring initiatives, improving wages and benefits across industries and professions, and protecting the rights of workers to organize unions without employer interference.
October 2021–April 2022
In the fall of 2021, we launched our Union Yes! action. We had hundreds of conversations across the Graduate School with our fellow graduate workers about winning a union and what we could achieve in a contract.
In labs, classrooms and libraries, at lunch carts, and on Zoom, we shared with each other our vision for a better university and how a union could improve our lives and working conditions.
We discovered that we shared so many reasons for wanting a union: better dental and vision coverage, more accessible mental health care, guaranteed time off, protections for international grad workers, strong grievance procedures, cost of living adjustments, increased transparency and many more.
On April 27th 2022, we delivered Union Yes! statements from a majority of the graduate workers in GSAS to the President of Yale, Peter Salovey, at a rally attended by 1,000 of us and our allies.
This summer, we have called on members of the Yale community and alumni to ask President Salovey to do something simple.
We think he should commit to respecting the rights of graduate workers to democratically decide to unionize without the interference of an anti-union campaign.
We are also joining our community organizing partners, New Haven Rising, in city-wide canvassing to raise the standard of living in New Haven through local hiring initiatives, improving wages and benefits across industries and professions, and protecting the rights of workers to organize unions without employer interference.