Local 217 COVID-19 Hardship Fund

This is serious, and I hope you read it to the end. Our sisters and brothers in Local 217–UNITE HERE need our help. I’m donating $600 of my coronavirus stimulus check to Local 217 hospitality workers and I urge you to do the same.

The support we got from Local 217, dating all the way back to 1980, was critical to the success of our union, Local 34. Today, Local 217 needs us. Many of their workplaces are closed and more than two-thirds of them have been laid off. Some have lost health insurance when they need it most, and many more face losing coverage in the coming weeks and months.

Local 217 supported us from the beginning. They played a huge role in helping us get the great contracts we’ve won. The same contracts that have allowed us to continue to work and get paid during this national crisis, as essential employees on campus or as non-essential employees working from home. I am donating because we came from Local 217. They are a part of us, we cannot stand by while they are in need.

Organizing Local 34 was a daunting task. We were a group of clerical and technical workers up against a formidable opponent, Yale University, one of the most powerful & wealthy institutions in the world. We needed a large group of skilled organizers with experience & vision to help us build Local 34. And so, here’s the thing you may or may not know—in the beginning most of the Local 34 staff organizers were Local 217 paid staff organizers on loan to us from Local 217. Their dues money (as well as dues money from Local 35 and funds from our International Union UNITE HERE) paid for our original staff organizers and the extensive campaign we needed to mount in order to succeed.

And succeed we did. We could not have won our many victories throughout the years without them. The donation of many Local 217 organizers was a crucial step. They strategized for us. They trained us. They shared their organizing skills and negotiating experience with us. They helped us build the large Organizing Committee that was necessary to win both our union election in 1983 and our first contract back in 1985. I guess what I’m saying is Local 217 is family.

One more time, I need you to donate now, click here. Below I’m sharing some text from Local 217 leadership, and a couple stories from workers underlining just how important this is.

In Solidarity,
Aldo Cupo, Executive Board, Local 34–UNITE HERE!

Union History 10 Week Strike

Did you know?

Just over 30 years ago, Clerical and Technical employees at Yale didn’t have a union, which means we didn’t have pay equality for women and men, we didn’t have our incredible health benefits, and our pension left us in poverty. Everything changed in 1984 when we won our union and fought for our first contract.

Interested in learning more? Contact your union representative to set up a Union History presentation in your area.

Key Leaders Organizing Retreat

In September Key Leaders from across campus gathered for an organizing retreat to discuss how to build the committee to enforce our contract. Coming off of our contract fight, we know that we need to get back to basics!

We discussed how far we’ve come over the last decades, and how we are going to tackle our next contract. Look out for the Key Leader from your area, soon we’ll be coming by to talk about what you can do to ensure that we enforce the great contract we just won.

The Key Leaders from the Medical School,  Central, and Science Areas

supporting our sisters and brothers in puerto rico

Our UNITE HERE sister union Local 610 represents 2,000 workers in four hotels in Puerto Rico, two of which have been shut down permanently after Hurricane Maria. In the wake of this devastation, our international has negotiated with the hotels to house displaced workers and their families while they rebuild.

UNITE HERE has raised over $1.25 million and have worked out an arrangement with Banco Popular so that each member can have receive a relief check of $1,000 and cash it immediately to access the basic supplies their families need. Going forward, locals across North America are pushing their employers to open their doors and hire members of Local 610 who are looking to relocate.

We’re proud that the Local 34 Executive Board voted to contribute funds to aid our UNITE HERE union sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico as they rebuild.

If you would like to contribute to the relief efforts, you can donate online here: https://www.gofundme.com/new-haven-for-puerto-rico or make a contribution to UNITE HERE’s relief efforts by clicking here: unitehere.org/relief.

You can also add to Local 34’s contribution by contacting your organizer or bringing your donation to the union office at 425 College Street.

Another YNHH to C&T Conversion!

Nearly four years ago, Local 34 filed the first grievance in our fight to stop our jobs from becoming non-union Hospital jobs. Local 34 work was being posted as Yale-New Haven Hospital work, and we were losing positions.

Karen Salinas (pictured left) was one of those workers.

Her path to Yale was similar to many others before her. She was temping as a Yale University employee, but when she was offered a permanent position it was through YNHH.

Laura Koutsopolos (pictured right), a longtime Local 34 leader, knew this position belonged in Local 34, and set out to get Karen’s job back in the union.

We know what a difference our contract makes, and we’re so happy to announce that Karen’s position as an Admin Assistant in the Department of Cardiology is now a Local 34 job! This was a hard-won victory and a testament to the strength of our union and how hard we will fight for each other to protect our jobs.

Five YNHH Employees are now UnivERSITY WORKERS IN LOCAL 34!

Our latest contract made it clear to the University that we will not allow our jobs to slip away to the Hospital. As Yale grows its clinical practices, we must grow alongside it. As part of our negotiations, we looked for positions that had gone to the Hospital and worked to move them back to the University.

We identified five positions in the Yale Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation that were filled with non-union Hospital workers. These positions are ours, and needed to transition back to University, Local 34 jobs.

We are happy to announce that we have five new union members! These workers, Medical Assistants and Cast Technicians, just completed their transition to Yale University jobs. As their department has expanded over the last year, it has also added another ten new Local 34 positions!

Anthony Iannucci, Jaime Nemec, Jill Sciuto, and Mia Rodriguez (not pictured: Corey Reddington)

“I am so thankful for the work of all the Local 34 members fighting for my job,” said Mia Rodriguez, a Medical Assistant. “Now that I’m a University employee, I’m making more money every year and I no longer have to pay for expensive health insurance. I’m about to have a baby, so this couldn’t have come at a better time. Plus, I signed up for the AFLAC coverage and get to use the tuition reimbursement, which is going to be so great for my maternity leave and as I wrap up nursing school!”

Updates from the Fast Against Slow

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Tuesday marked three weeks of Local 33’s Fast Against Slow. That’s three weeks of Yale continuing to be on the wrong side of history. We’re sending along an update from our friends in Local 33—please take a few minutes to read the amazing press coverage of their campaign!

Join us today, at 333 Cedar Street for a noontime picket. Let’s show Yale that we won’t stand for their union-busting ways!

In solidarity,

Laurie Kennington, President & Ken Suzuki, Secretary–Treasurer

Dear friends,

We’d like to take a moment to catch you up on some highlights from week three of the fast.

We marked two weeks with a powerful action asking Yale: How much longer?

We know that Yale likes to do things on their own timeline. Together with our allies, we took to Cross Campus to make our own time—in the form of a giant, moving human clock . . .  

We made national headlines including this excellent piece by Professor Jennifer Klein in the New York Times!

And The Washington Post published our member Julia Powers’ op-ed exposing Yale’s culture of sexual harassment.

Faster who took arrest in Washington Post

Undergraduates delivered more than 1,000 petition signatures in support of us to the President’s Office . . .

Senator Elizabeth Warren pledged her support . . .

As did Congressman and Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee Keith Ellison (D-MN) who called on Yale to negotiate . . .

We’ve made an indelible mark on Yale University . . .

And on Tuesday, temporarily, on Beineke Plaza . . .

Click to watch coverage of Tuesday night’s action on Channel 8.

Thanks for all of your support, we’ll see you soon!

Aaron Greenberg
Political Science
Robin Canavan
Geology & Geophysics
Camille Cole