Yale welcomed prospective students and their parents Tuesday with a speech from the president — and flyers from picketing union members about a scary crime in the dorms.
University President Peter Salovey delivered the 1 p.m. “Bulldog Days” “welcome address” inside Woolsey Hall with the aim of convincing students admitted to the undergraduate Class of 2022 to pick Yale over other schools.
Outside Woolsey, members of Yale’s 71-member police union picketed to protest the lack of progress in negotiations over a new contract. The cops have been working without a contract since June 30, 2016.
The picketers handed students and parents headed in to Salvey’s speech “Welcome Prospective Students” pamphlets with an inserted “Breaking News Alert” flyer headlined: “HOME INVASION—ROBBERY INSIDE YALE’S TIMOTHY DWIGHT COLLEGE.” The flyer recounted in extensive detail how two Yale students entering a Timothy Dwight College dorm room at 1:30 a.m. Monday encountered an intruder who pointed a handgun at them, then fled. It turned out the man had broken into numerous dorm rooms.
Students and parents politely took the pamphlets, then continued into Woolsey for the speech.
The reactions of students and parents interviewed on their way into Tuesday’s speech suggested that Yale needn’t worry about losing top students because of the protests. Not one expressed any new concern about enrolling here.
In fact, the union protest made Yale more attractive in the eyes of Katherine Du (pictured), an accepted student from Virginia.
“It’s really nice to see,” she said of the pickets. “There’s a lot of social activism on colleges campuses,” which she welcomes.
Du had already heard that New Haven has “security issues.” That doesn’t bother her, she said: You find the same problems pretty much everywhere. “It’s really nice to see” the police union protest, she said.
Raul Madrid and Paloma Diaz took a flyer on their way into Woolsey from Beinecke Plaza. It reminded Madrid, Yale Class of 1985, of the big strike by (now-UNITE HERE) Local 34 to win a first contract while he was a student here. The fact that unions are taking on Yale would in no way discourage him from sending his daughter here, he said. “Every campus has its problems,” agreed Diaz. The campus where she and her husband work, for instance, the University of Texas at Austin, is battling a state legislative mandate to maintain an “open carry” gun policy.
“I hope they get a [contract] soon,” said Steve Chun of Orange County, California, whose daughter has been accepted to Yale. “There’s always been contract negotiations. They need to protest.”
“I’m in a union too. I’m kind of sympathetic with these guys. We’re negotiating a contract too,” said Joyce Gibson, on her way in to Woolsey with husband Chuck. She’s a member of the California Nurses Association. The Gibsons said the protest had no impact on their decision whether to send their daughter to New Haven.
Yale Police Benevolent Association President Richard Simons (at right in photo) said the university and the union had had 54 negotiating sessions on the new contract, but only two since Jan. 1. He said the outstanding issues include:
• Life insurance: the union wants members to receive $50,000 worth, above the current $25,000. The union says the current level is the lowest in the Ivy League. • Retiree health insurance: Yale wants newly hired cops to start paying premiums the way other university employees do. “If we’re going to give that up, we want something back,” he said. • Caps on how long after an incident occurs that people have to file civilian complaints against cops. No such limit now exists. The union is asking for 60 days.
Yale spokesman Thomas Conroy released a statement saying the university has proposed “significant” security and disciplinary protections; annual base pay increases of 2.75-3 percent over six years, which would “make Yale police officers among the highest paid police officers in the state”; increasing allowed shift swaps from three a year to two per month; lump-sum special severance payments for cops over 55 with at least 20 years on the job; and clothing and cleaning allowance and SWAT/hazardous duty differential increases.
The police union has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the university before the National Labor Relations Board for the leaflet-grabbing incident at the April 7 protest. Conroy claimed that Yale instructed its personnel not to interfere with picketers that day.
Tuesday’s picket was fueled by a stack of pizzas. “Picketing makes me hungry,” remarked one member as he took a slice.
It’s good to see the cops reminding pre-Frosh that New Haven has the best pizza. I do wonder what “disciplinary protections” Yale has conceded. These impact public safety. Otherwise, even $50K seems extremely low for life insurance, which is pretty cheap, anyway. Most employers offer at least a year’s salary. I would think $100K would be the minimum for cops.
posted by: breakingbad23 on April 24, 2018 4:36pm
It doesn’t seem like the Union is asking for much at all. Remember we’re not talking about some cash strapped municipality that has to raise taxes on it’s citizens over and over. We’re talking about a very large corporation with close to 30 billion dollars in the bank, their ability to pay is not even an issue. The cost of the benefits the small 71 member Union are asking for are infinitesimal compared to the money and power Yale wields.
posted by: SpecialK on April 24, 2018 4:57pm
Why is Yale even wasting their time and risking the bad press over this? There is nothing extravagant being asked for by these men and women. The University is making a big deal about 2.75-3% raises but the rising costs of healthcare will chew those raises up before the ink is even dry on the contract.
posted by: 1644 on April 24, 2018 5:13pm
Breaking: All true, looked at in isolation. Yes, Yale has a lot of money, but it also has a lot of claimants on that money. First and foremost is the future: Yale has a moral obligation to those who have donated to preserve the real (post-inflation) value of the endowment. When it has failed to do so, thing have not been good at Yale. Swensen quips that it’s nice to have a client whose investment horizon is forever, but, likewise, his client’s needs are infinite. Moreover, much of the endowment is restricted. Beyond that, there are undergraduates who balk at the “student effort” requirement ($6K/year), graduate students who want unending stipends, a physical plant that needs constant maintenance, collections to be conserved, a need for competitive faculty salaries (faculty being the heart of the university, etc.
posted by: wendy1 on April 24, 2018 6:48pm
1644 you forget that 30 BILLION goes a long way and Yale will be underwater before much of it is spent (the way Yale is going.) As far as contribution “restrictions”, they can be renegotiated. It’s time to make $$ available to many of those asks especially the city which is sinking around it, wages, jobs, student fees, building maintenance, all chump change for this endowment I might add. Dont listen to DS. If Yale wants a safer, happier city around it, their bottom line must change quickly.
I hope the cops go on strike but they have a weak kneed union so who knows. And parents sending their kids here should be aware that New Haven is poor and crime-ridden, essentially a CT ghetto like Bridgeport or Hartford unless they never read the news or are totally naive.
posted by: Bill Saunders on April 24, 2018 7:31pm
The only question I am interested in asking these protesters is ‘Where did you get the Pizza?’
How ironic. The police unions are free to protest at their hearts content but feel free to kettle and sexually assault Trump protestors in Washington D.C. Apparently they value their own freedom and civil rights but not the freedom and civil rights of the people they are charge with serving and protecting. Typical police state hypocrisy.
posted by: 1644 on April 30, 2018 7:07am
Armstrong: Neither YPD nor NHPD had anything to do with policing demonstrations in DC. In general, NHPD has been amazingly tolerant of protests that block traffic, sidewalks, etc., even though to do so without a permit is a crime. (NHPD’s union itself organized a criminal protest which blocked Church Street in from of city hall a few years back). These YPD officers understandably frustrated by two years without a contract. Still, their protest is restrained and completely lawful. The cops are not blocking or harassing anyone, just politely seeking to inform. Their behavior is a credit to themselves, their profession, and, yes, their employer.
Why is it that police officers experience a symbiotic connection to their fellow officers when one of them is killed, even if they have never met him, but seek to distance themselves from the wrong doing of those same officers? Clearly there is a disconnect with respect to congruous expressions of sentimentality vs. illegal violent acts. Law enforcement as a profession is in dire need of reform. The murders, sexual assaults, false arrests, illegal spying, and profiling of activists who pose no threat to society have no place in a civilized free country. Clearly you believe that when law enforcement protests they are behaving in a restrained, orderly fashion but when activists protest they are deserving of sexual assault.
posted by: 1644 on April 30, 2018 6:40pm
Armstrong: Yes, it is disconcerting how cops will mourn some one thousands of miles away , yet be unbothered by deaths in the towns in which they live, It illustrate how cops feel their community is their fellow cops, not their folks they live and work among, and at least theoretically, for. Its one reason cop tactics and training are designed to protect cops, and cops are actually trained to kill innocent people by being trigger happy. I dont; know where yo d=get the idea that I thin anyone is deserving of sexual assault. I did say that the YPD protest was well conducted, while the NHPD engaged in criminal activity its protest. Blocking traffic without a permit is a crime whether you are a cop or other “activist”.