Will New “Pipeline” Connect Her To A Job?

Paul Bass PhotoNew Haven’s emerging “jobs pipeline” came to Patricia McGill’s neighborhood—and promised finally to get her through Yale’s door.

The occasion was a presentation at Edgewood School by Mary Reynolds, the director hired by local powerbrokers to run a new outfit called New Haven Works, charged with finding 1,000 local people jobs with local employers over the next four years.

The agency hasn’t officially opened its doors yet. It has been setting up shop in Yale-donated space on Whitney Avenue while quietly negotiating “binding agreements” with major employers to interview and give a special shot to out-of-work or underemployed New Haven job-seekers. It has also taken its strategy out for a test-drive—and landed some people jobs at Yale.

Reynolds imparted this information to 20 Westvillers who attended the meeting, organized by the 25th Ward Democratic Committee.

She also answered questions from unemployed mid-career job-seekers like McGill.

An injury on the job left McGill, who’s now 56, out of work for years, she said. She previously held jobs in maintenance, credit collection, and cleaning. She has since obtained a college degree in American history and looked high and low for a new job

“I’ve put in 50 applications in between Yale University and Yale Hospital,” McGill said. She said she has called at least that many times without receiving a response.

Reynolds responded that New Haven Works is gearing up to help people specifically in her situation. The agency—formed by local business, government, and labor leaders after a slate of labor-backed candidates won election to the Board of Aldermen on a job-creation platform—will pre-screen unemployed and underemployed New Haveners to determine whether they’re ready for job interviews or need some help first. It will send people who need it to training or counseling programs or help putting together resumes, then follow up with them. It will eventually send job-ready people to interviews with major employers. It is meanwhile negotiating with Yale, Yale-New Haven Hospital, United Illuminating, the gas company, the water authority, and other top employers to guarantee that New Haven Works job-seekers will get interviews and, in many cases, have spots reserved for some of them.

New Haven has an estimated 13,000 unemployed and underemployed adults. New Haven anticipates having over 22,000 new jobs open up thanks to new development projects (including Gateway Community College and Downtown Crossing) and the booming medical-related sector. Some existing employers say they have openings but have trouble find city people ready to fill the jobs.

In recent weeks, New Haven Works conducted a trial run. It sent 30 screened job-seekers to Yale on Feb. 28, and another 30 this week.

The trial run went great, according to Diane Turner, Yale’s director of community hiring initiatives and the university’s point person for the pipeline.

“They screened them. They prepped them. They made sure they had completed applications and resumes,” Turner said. Yale’s human resources department interviewed everyone in both batches of job-seekers, then lined up follow-up interviews with Yale recruiters. Six applicants from the Feb. 28 trial run have already received offers for positions in security, food service, and library work, Turner said; other applications are in “various stages” of getting there.

“Things are moving,” she said.

Turner said under the binding agreement with New Haven Works, Yale will give first priority for unionized job openings to laid-off Yale employees, second priority to other internal candidates, third priority to New Haveners sent by New Haven Works, and fourth priority to everyone else.

Reynolds invoked those binding agreements at Monday night’s meeting when another job-seeker spoke of having tried to land a position through a different job-training and placement agency in town. It never found her a single interview, she reported.

Those other agencies “don’t have the influence with the employers” that New Haven Works does, Reynolds responded. “They don’t have the binding agreements. ... Without that, you [just] have one guy calling one guy. This is funded by the employers.” Reynolds noted that the New Haven Works board of directors includes execs from Yale, the hospital, UI, and the Chamber of Commerce.

Also, unlike some similar other agencies, New Haven Works focuses just on New Haveners, not on suburbanites.

“How many people here have applied to Yale?” Reynolds asked the Edgewood School gathering. Four hands went up.

“How many have applied more than five times?” she continued. The same four hands went up.

“How many have heard something back?”

No hands went up this time.

That’s what will change, she vowed.

New Haven Works will open for real some time in the spring, Reynolds said. In the meantime she gave the crowd in Westville the agency’s website address and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Patricia McGill took down the email address. She planned to send in her resume that evening—and then prepare for that long-awaited interview.

Click here for a queue of previous Independent stories on the emerging jobs pipeline.

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posted by: anonymous on March 15, 2013  3:35pm

“Six applicants from the Feb. 28 trial run have already received offers.”

One year, six applicants. In the meantime, dozens if not hundreds of Yale/YNHH/UI employees who lived in New Haven as of last year have moved out to the suburbs, as they tend to do every year.

This program is a fun idea, but will have no meaningful impact on the local unemployment problem.  Surely, the founders will take credit for those six employees causing a reduction in the unemployment rate (if that happens, regionally) - but if they are serious about wanting to address the problem of unemployment in places like Newhallville, they need to advocate for a different approach. 

Transportation, not job training, is far and away the largest barrier to securing employment in our state.

By the way, how many of those six employees will even still be living in New Haven two or three years from now?

posted by: streever on March 15, 2013  5:44pm

Well said.

I’d like to see real metrics:
in a room of 30 people, 4 had applied at Yale.
to land jobs for 6 of those 30 does not mean that this program is getting jobs for the 4 who could not previously get jobs.

For all we know, the 6 who got jobs would have been hired if they had simply applied to Yale on their own merits.

Kudos to the pipeline for helping those 6 apply at Yale, but I do hope that this program is transparent in their metrics and prepares an annual report to show what was done with money diverted from the public process.

If they don’t prepare an annual report and real metrics on what they spent and what they got, then they have simply sold public land to a developer and diverted the public money into a private org.

posted by: HewNaven on March 15, 2013  8:15pm

Wait, so the Yale Unions want to funnel inner city residents into Yale jobs and those of other large companies? Isn’t this more of the same old class divide that has always existed in New Haven? From its inception, Yale has always hired New Haven residents. These are the people cooking for Yalies, cleaning their floors, scrubbing their toilets, and cutting their grass. Do the Unions really expect us to believe that these are desirable jobs for someone growing up in New Haven? People take these jobs because there are no small businesses left to work for. Because the local economy has been destroyed in part by the same chain stores that Yale fought to bring to Chapel and Broadway. Why don’t we protest that? Why don’t we try inspiring New Haven residents to open their own businesses instead of telling them the best they can do is go work for Big Daddy (Yale). I wouldn’t be surprised if many of these organizers are actually shills for the Corporation since they endeavor to funnel New Haven’s talent through this jobs pipeline which can only help the Corporation grow larger and wealthier while our neighborhoods crumble. What we really need is a robust, local economy. Dixwell Avenue used to be full of black-owned businesses. There were professionals and craftsmen on every corner! Where are they now? Why can’t we conceive of a pipeline that would feedback into our own neighborhoods and enrich the people who live there, instead selling our skills and talents to Yale? No wonder, people think this city is nothing without Yale. We keep telling ourselves the same thing!!

posted by: formerNhresident on March 15, 2013  8:41pm

@ anonymous : I suspect all 6 newly hired New Haven residents will live there in years to come. The jobs they procured do not pay enough to move to the suburbs.

posted by: HhE on March 15, 2013  10:32pm

Anon’s (continuing) theme seams to be that anyone who gets a decent job will leave New Haven, so we ought to keep people down so that they have to stay here. 

As to the jobs pipeline, I am more skeptical than optimistic.

posted by: anonymous on March 16, 2013  12:58am

FormerNHResident- I wouldn’t be so sure about that, but it’s a good question.  We can further bump up local salaries/benefits by making sure that Yale expands its New Haven homebuyer credit to more city neighborhoods, and makes it more generous.

HhE, we need to get people decent jobs AND keep them in New Haven. Otherwise, we will continue to see the incredibly high unemployment figures in some of our neighborhoods, even while other city neighborhoods and suburbs are doing fine.  Programs like New Haven Works try to “do good” but actually may just make our city even more divided than it already is, for some of the human capital reasons that HewNaven hinted at.

HewNaven’s neighborhood development proposal is on the right track - but we need all three things:
1) employers that pay decent wages (a list which includes City Hall, which has a $14-15 minimum wage even though that was subverted in the snowstorm)
2) residents who work for big employers like City Hall but who also live in the city to a significant degree - so that we are not permanently exporting virtually all of their wages to the suburbs, creating a huge imbalance of local opportunity
3) the conditions that allow local neighborhoods to create jobs for themselves (safety, transportation, and capital investments).

posted by: local 35 steward on March 16, 2013  10:39am

I found it amazing how people always have something to say and more often than not it’s negative. I recall when there was no mention of any pipe line yet along a “job pipe line” and here comes something that is a good start. Might not be enough but it’s a start in the right direction. Now you have people say ” oh it’s not job training, it’s transporation”. Wow I get it not only should they attempt to hire locally but found them ways to get there too. You people are insane in the membrane. Let’s see what really comes out of this before you voice your negative response about something you have no idea about what. Maybe you should be up here talking about what you guy’s are doing for kids locally as far as transporation, jobs, staying out of trouble. Sounds good to me, so hopefully I will see where I can send people to one of YOUR programs. And I do not live in New Haven, it’s better to be part of the solution and NOT the problem.

posted by: streever on March 16, 2013  2:21pm

local 35 steward
There are many “pipeline” programs in the area, some of them state funded, some of them municipally funded.

Considering this pipeline was funded by a land sale of public land conducted through City Plan and a member of Unite Here who is currently on the Board of Aldermen, we would like to see the same level of transparency, openness, and accountancy that government programs are held to.

I don’t think that you can seriously make an argument against this program receiving real public oversight, can you? Do you honestly think it doesn’t need to be transparent?

The people of New Haven paid for this program, and the people of New Haven deserve real metrics and real data published regularly. I hope to see it in the months ahead.

[Editor’s note: According to Mary Reynolds, the funding has come from in-kind donations from Yale, UNITE HERE, and United Way; and monetary contributions from Yale, Bank of America, Berger Marks Foundation, and United Illuminating. No money has come for developer Carter WInstanley, she said. I think David is referring to a previous story and comments thread about an alderman praising Winstanley at a previous City Plan meeting for his stated willingness to support the “pipeline” effort.]

posted by: FrontStreet on March 16, 2013  3:31pm

Poverty and unemployment are the two most pressing, most basic, and most endemic problems in New Haven. 

Absolultely cannot understand the negative comments on this article about the program.  Kudos to the various players (civic, non-profit, industry and education) for working together to help people get hired.

posted by: local 35 steward on March 16, 2013  5:06pm

@ streever, this is my point..let’s hold our judement and say 6 months or so from now see what the program is really doing, let’s see how well your concerns are being addressed. Then if it need to be things change then I am all for that, it’s like everything else in life it’s a process. But let’s find some common ground and get what needs to be done, done for our city..correction your city.

posted by: Eddie on March 17, 2013  12:27pm

This seems like a great start!  Obviously calling for metrics is not a bad idea.  But condemning this program before it has had a chance to generate these metrics is shortsighted.

This program already sets itself apart in cooperation and coordination.  I might be wrong, but I don’t think any other jobs program has similar support from Yale.  I don’t think any other jobs program addresses unemployment and under employment in New Haven so directly.  These are hard won victories. 

I don’t understand anon’s points at all.  I want to see people in New Haven have more access to opportunities.  Employment at City Hall isn’t enough.  As Hhe observes, keeping people down so they stay here doesn’t make much sense either.  More broadly, despite repeated requests you have never provided any evidence to support your argument regarding movement to the suburbs.  Your silence on this point is odd given the number of times you have advanced this argument.

posted by: swatty on March 17, 2013  8:41pm

Thank the UNIONS for all their hard work and their screening apparatus to get like-minded folks in the door. then these folks when they get a job - also by the grace of that union at the other end - will be pro union.

it’s called knowing who butters your bread.

very nice politics from the union. This antiquated construct THE UNION cannot be slayed!

Bloat and nepotism will live!

posted by: beaverhillsnewhaven on March 17, 2013  10:16pm

This is the number one issue people in the poorer part of my neighborhood talk about. And more and more, people who have gone to college are also struggling to find work. This program has great promise.

Mark and Dave - why always so negative about the union?  Remember the folks who brought you the weekend?  Maybe they’re the folks to help new haven families get a better shot with big employers.  Give it a chance.

posted by: robn on March 18, 2013  6:13am

Does the Pipeline program have a residency commitment from its participants and if so, for how long?

posted by: exnewhavener on March 18, 2013  7:42am

If you lived on Starr Street, and ended up with a decent job at Yale (University or Hospital), how much longer do you think you would live there? Do you think you would move to overpriced Westville or East Rock? Or would you move a town or two over, where life is a lot cheaper and easier?

posted by: HewNaven on March 18, 2013  8:04am

I don’t think anyone is arguing against what unions do in their own workplace. But, aren’t we allowed to be critical of these particular Yale Unions since they’ve brought themselves into our local political process, which is outside their workplace, and in our town. And as such, I expect them to be more well-versed in urban issues and less one-dimensional. JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! It must all be about jobs, right? That’s a poor excuse for political intelligence. There are at least a dozen other issues of equal importance, but you’d never know to talk to a union person. They’re clueless about any of the real issues. Again, if these were just some union reps pitching the pipeline, I wouldn’t care, good jobs are necessary! But, this is the majority of our local government, all holding hands smoking the “pipeline.” Perhaps we all wouldn’t be so critical if these were independent minds from around the city who came to this conclusion to construct a pipeline, but it wasn’t. It was passed down from the top. They didn’t poll their members, or better yet, ask residents what they needed most. Someone at the top came up with an idea and they disseminated it to the executive board, etc. This is not grass-roots democracy. And, really, in the end it just make these big companies richer, it does nothing to repair the crumbling infrastructure in our neighborhoods, or improve transportation access for the poor, or clean our air and water. Those are real quality of life issues!

Really, what all these “negative” comments are recommending is that Yale Union leaders educate themselves on the urban issues affecting our city and then re-frame the conversation to include those, or they’re going to continue to be embarrassed by their lack of political aptitude and their insistence on putting jobs first, before everything else.

posted by: Mike Slattery on March 18, 2013  8:42am

Disclaimer:  I was one of the folks who organized the presentation to Ward 25, and I know that the notices would have reached skeptics.  As it was I had to wear the skeptic’s hat for a bit which is a natural fit for me…

I was pleasantly surprised by the preparation to gain jobs for those ‘overqualified’ in New Haven, in addition to those who need more basic prep for the job market.  The number of people out of work who have post-bachelors degrees are up too, and I don’t think the jobs that population is shooting for are going to be unionized.  If NHW can service this wide spectrum of unemployed and underemployed well, that would be something.

I was prepared to get critical of the forecast numbers, but from what I’ve read, this is an extra-governmental program, and as such I think the large donors will make the final conclusions about New Haven Works’ metrics and costs.  If I’m wrong about city finances being part of this I’d appreciate some URLs, etc - I’m cloudy on this point.

Even so, New Haveners watchdog the pool of private funding as fiercely as the public.  Our PILOT situation makes us treat that pool as our due.  NHW seems well aware of the third-rail of redundancy with other programs.  It occurs to me that if NHW grows quickly, the groups that do training and placement will be the ones that revisit the overlap in terms of their own funding and direction of effort.  Whether that is good or bad depends in turn on NHWs ability to convince employers and donors that their placement, case management, and data collection services are worth extending.    Otherwise we could end up with a gap in service should the landscape shift.

I imagine that everything will come back to $/job placed, adjusted for salary, longevity, voluntary New Haven residency (by law you can’t demand it?), etc.  My personal hopes are:  1) that they publish everything they can - “open sourcing”  their processes. 2) that they make their data open source too. 3) that there will be sufficient data to sift through, find patterns, and replace credit checks in the corporate HR process.

I’m no quant, but they may need thousands of resumes to meet their goals and my wish list.  Good luck to everyone involved.

posted by: Curious on March 18, 2013  9:09am

So, what are this woman’s qualifications?  Is she not getting the job because she’s not getting her resume in front of the right people, or because she’s not qualified to do the work?

posted by: robn on March 18, 2013  10:12am


Legal contracts are common for things like student aid, job internships etc, requiring that the applicant stay in a certain place for a certain amount of time. They have penalties for breach.

Does anyone know if the Jobs Pipeline has a residency requirement and for how long? if it doesn’t that’s a huge oversight.

posted by: Mike Slattery on March 18, 2013  10:35am

@Curious - that’s a key issue.  It can be impossible to get feedback from a rejection notice that would help the candidate.  You usually get ‘Thanks, and try again.’  So a person can’t improve the right things or pivot and hone in on the right level of job, etc.  The presentation addressed that point, where employers agree to take the time to submit feedback to NHW when a candidate is not hired.

@robn.  Thanks, I hope we can all get info on that point.

Also I should have specified above that I’m hoping the scrubbed data will be open sourced for future study - not personal info.

posted by: Westvillian222 on March 18, 2013  2:07pm

So grateful to the predominantly volunteer staff who makes the NHW program happen.  A ray of sunshine comes through the long and cloudy forecast for New Haven folks and I am glad for it. 
Thanks to Mike for bringing NHW and the many folks who attended this informational meeting. Some shared their difficult paths to potential employment without the dignity of even having their applications recognized and their many phone inquiries answered.  In addition to gaining access to available jobs, this is where the NHW program parts company with other job search programs.  They have a commitment from their participating employers to give feedback to applicants as to why they were not chosen for the job, if this is the case….a valuable piece of information to enable an applicant to grow.  Personal interviews by NHW to guide applicants in matching their skills with appropriate jobs…so important.
As a pilot program, whose start up is only a little more than 2 months old to already have changed the lives of New Haven residents by assisting them to find employment, I say congratulations…let’s move forward.  As with any new program the first few months are the hardest with identifying glitches that need adjustment and moving through them to better efficiency. 
Perhaps critics should first become volunteers?

posted by: Gabe_Winant on March 19, 2013  10:10am


I think you’re missing a crucial step here. Something happened between the Yale unions deciding to get involved in city politics and successfully shepherding New Haven Works through contract negotiations and Board of Aldermen legislation: you know, actual politics.

That is, they didn’t just decide, conspiracy-like, to take over the city and snap their fingers and do it. They did *exactly* the thing you’re saying they didn’t: go door-to-door in every neighborhood, asking thousands of people, in multiple conversations, what they cared about. They also did exactly this with their own members. In other words, what you’re saying is, I’m afraid, opposite of true. I was in some small number (out of *many*) of the conversations that you’re claiming never happened.

The proof, of course, is in the pudding. People voted for the union-supported candidates for the Board because they found the program compelling. I know that when I went door-to-door for Jessica Holmes, I talked more than anything else about a jobs training and local employment program, and it was by far the thing people were most interested in and responsive to.

So, to sum up this sequence of events: trying to get a sense of what the electorate and the membership care about; detecting common ground; making the case that a coalition can be built; actually doing the work of bringing people together around an idea; winning; and enacting it. In what world is that not democracy in action?

posted by: win win on March 19, 2013  10:16am

If anyone read the article, this was an initial PILOT program to TEST the pipeline initiative. And so far it is showing great promise. We shouldn’t be looking at the PILOT for big numbers, we should be looking for IF and HOW it works. And thus far it has. HOW? By getting actual commitments from local employers to hire qualified applicants.

Most commenters seem to miss the point that NH residents face real barriers to employment beyond adequate education and training. SOME candidates certainly lack both, and the pipeline will help them get it. HOWEVER many candidates have the necessary skills, but employers either discriminate overtly or use degrees/credentials that are not actually essential to the particular job as a proxy to screen out inner city jobseekers. It may not be intentional or explicit racism at work, but it IS a systemic problem and one that only New Haven Works is thus far seeking to remedy.

As to duplication, if you have read about this then you know that NHW did extensive research on existing initiatives and seeks to CONNECT various programs & services rather than duplicate their efforts. There are a number of job training, interviewing and candidate prep programs in the area that simply do not result in good, stable jobs at the end of the program. Why? Are the programs poorly designed? Are the vast majority of jobseekers not following up or applying themselves once they graduate from the programs? Or are large employers refusing to give local residents a chance? Perhaps some combination? But far and away the biggest barrier has been the piece that NHW is uniquely poised to address- a real commitment from employers to give trained, screened, and qualified residents a chance to show that we can do the jobs as well as someone from the ‘burbs. By investing in NH residents the city as a whole will benefit & it will be good for these companies’ relationships with the city.

SO why are so many of you against the first truly comprehensive employment that thus far isn’t costing tax payers, but will in fact boost the local economy and make us all safer IF it works? oh because local unions are involved. RIGHT. they should stick to worrying about their members’ wages and let the rest of us rot. You guys really want to have it both ways, huh? & who benefits?

posted by: Curious on March 19, 2013  10:47am

Why is this pipeline not focusing on Knights of Columbus at all?

KofC has a huge presence in New Haven, and is, ostensibly, a charity.  How much do they do locally to help out in New Haven?

There’s always, always pressure on Yale to help New Haven, and lots of people will post about making Yale do more, but what about KofC?

“Charity is the foremost principle of the Knights of Columbus. In the 2011 fiscal year the Order gave more than $158 million directly to charity and performed over 70 million man hours in volunteer service.”

How much of that ended up in New Haven?  Why don’t they do more local-only stuff to help out their home city?  Or do they, and it’s not publicized?  This would make a good NHI article.

posted by: robn on March 19, 2013  12:02pm


Democracy in New Haven died the day that Local 34 and UNITE decided to pool the resources of 1000s of non-New Haveners and to take over the BOA to advance their own personal benefit.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on March 19, 2013  3:20pm

posted by: robn on March 19, 2013 1:02pm

Democracy in New Haven died the day that Local 34 and UNITE decided to pool the resources of 1000s of non-New Haveners and to take over the BOA to advance their own personal benefit.

Democracy in New Haven been died when the people keep voiting the two party system in.

posted by: robn on March 19, 2013  3:41pm


So we both agree that democracy is dead in New Haven, whats your point?

posted by: HewNaven on March 19, 2013  11:32pm


I am honestly impressed that the Yale Unions went door-to-door to ask my fellow citizens what they thought was most important, and then collated the results and identified the commonalities to come up with the pipeline concept. It is, at the very least, a remarkable display of strength. I don’t think any other organization in town has the ability to do that, and I hope the presentation and data collection was honest and consistent. Is that data available anywhere? Were those New Haven residents voluntarily surveying their neighbors? I would hope we can be transparent about such things.

I still have a few concerns that remains unanswered:

How does it follow that good jobs for large companies will necessarily help New Haven? More than any other issue, why are good jobs for large companies the panacea to our ills? Why are small businesses and transportation concerns always left out of union coalition’s plans? Aren’t such things more vital to a community? And most importantly, isn’t it an amazing coincidence that New Haven residents picked the one issue that the Yale Union coalition could handle best, and didn’t, say, choose “community policing” or something similar to be their most pressing issue? Admit it, you guys lucked out there!

posted by: streever on March 20, 2013  7:48am

EXACTLY. Thank you for that post. You have managed to say in far fewer words and more eloquently exactly what many of us are feeling.

The total lack of transparency in the residents concerns troubles me. Presumably if the Yale Unions are collecting this data to actually help everyone, they’d upload it to DataHaven or some of the other non-profits in town doing data analysis on residents.

Because they have kept the data secret, and used it as a campaign platform, I have a hard time trusting them.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on March 20, 2013  7:56am

posted by: streever on March 20, 2013 8:48am

Because they have kept the data secret, and used it as a campaign platform, I have a hard time trusting them.

But the Democratic and Republican Parties do the same thing and people vote them in.

My Bad.The town committees do the same thing.

posted by: Curious on March 20, 2013  9:15am


This is not true….

“They did *exactly* the thing you’re saying they didn’t: go door-to-door in every neighborhood, asking thousands of people, in multiple conversations, what they cared about. They also did exactly this with their own members.”

Local 34 came to the membership at Yale with a survey of issues to rank as to whether they cared about them or not…and the Jobs Pipeline was already on it.  It was NOT something that developed from the ground-up. 

The jobs pipeline was ginned up by Local 34 leadership and then rubber-stamped by the members…because who’s going to say that “Good-paying jobs for people in New Haven” is a terrible idea?

The pipeline wasn’t ranked as high of a priority on the survey as members’ own wages, benefits, healthcare, and advancement opportunities, but it did come back on the sruvey as something members liked, just the same as it would have if it had said “Community Policing” or “Better Parking” or “Free Hot Dogs on the Green”.

The Local 34 membership liked the idea of the jobs pipeline when it was put in front of them and they were asked about it.  They did NOT come up with it on their own.  I have worked at Yale in Local 34 for years, and this is how it went down.  The pipeline is a Local 34-boosting tool which was designed by the Local 34 leadership, not by us.

posted by: anonymous on March 20, 2013  9:35am

HewNave - great point about transparency. I think that City Hall did a survey of about 1000 high school students and adults last year. The top issues were less pollution, less litter, parks/Rec programs,  more parks/trees, better transportation, police/crime control if I recall correctly. All of their analyses were published online at one point.  If we want e very one to agree on decisions we need to be more transparent about our methods at arriving at them - closed door Ward/CCNE/Alder meetings and results from big Union Hall gatherings like the one lastyear are less than ideal ways to govern.

posted by: Eddie on March 20, 2013  10:08am

First, the union-affiliated alderpersons are not pursuing a one-dimensional agenda.  According to the NHI, their agenda includes good jobs, opportunities for youth, and policing.  As the NHI notes, the attention devoted to community policing in aldermanic campaigns deserves credit for the implementation of community policing programs.  The NHI also distinguished this board of alderpersons for its careful consideration of ways to increase opportunities for youth.  In addition, this week Jessica Holmes and Adam Marchand were credited by the NHI for their leadership on a proposal that would save the city an estimated $2 million in health care costs.  I would add that many alderpersons have also organized, fought for, and won campaigns on issues that are specific to their particular wards.

Second many who currently are serving on the BOA campaigned on these issues and won in landslide electoral victories.  If these issues are such low priorities, then why did the alderpersons win so convincingly.  At the very least, their victories give them a mandate to pursue the agenda that they campaigned on.  Isn’t this a defining feature of electoral democracy?

Third, the focus on jobs at Yale makes sense.  Yale is New Haven’s largest employer.  Once the pipeline is working well at Yale, it can easily expand to other employers.  Moreover, due to the unions, Yale also provides some of the best jobs in the region.  Through the pipeline those living in New Haven will have better opportunities to access jobs with health care, and retirement security, which are benefits that have become increasingly scarce in the current economy.

Fourth, unions did not kill democracy in New Haven.  Voters in this election were sovereign over their electoral choice.  Members on the BOA are largely adhering to their electoral platforms.  Moreover, the alderpersons defeated many mayoral candidates and an entrenched power structure.  The very fact that we discussing the BOA’s power independent of the mayor is a testament to a more vibrant democracy.  Also, I can’t imagine that the mayor would be stepping down now, if the candidates he supported won their aldermanic races in the previous election.  If anything, the current BOA has made elections contests of ideas and public policy instead of a reelection ritual for New Haven’s longest serving mayor and his team.

posted by: Eddie on March 20, 2013  10:19am

Hew Naven,

Do you have survey evidence that indicates the “real” issues you mention should be prioritized over job opportunities, community policing and opportunities for Youth?  I recognize that these issues are not mutually exclusive.  Still, I would love to see this data.

posted by: HewNaven on March 20, 2013  10:53am


I think you have it backwards. I’m not the one who’s claiming that New Haven residents desire to work for large companies more than any other issue. Take your pick, I think local economy and transportation and environment are far more important (e.g. you can’t have a job if you can’t breathe the air, or find a ride). Oh, I suppose we can keep putting those things off until all the poor people in New Haven are completely destitute. What are your favorite issues? Please don’t tell me that you really want to work at Yale, but can’t get in! I know you’re smarter than that.

I’ve already asked, where did the Yale Unions get the results that they claim to have collected door-to-door, and how was the data collected? Where is it? Can we see it? No one is answering these questions. They’re all avoiding the harsh reality that our democratic process has been hi-jacked. Albeit, hijacked by a friendly, progressive bunch of folks, but not necessarily those keen on urban issues or transparency or true grass-roots democracy. The Union defenders are all missing the bigger point in this debate. New Haven residents are all very happy that the old machine was defeated last election. But we’re equally disheartened that a new machine has replaced it. Why is that so hard to understand?

By the way, how much did those union-backed candidates outspend their rival independent candidates (not city-hall backed candidates)? Is democracy really about who can spend the most money to get elected, just so they can be awarded a mandate. Really? Democracy stops after the election? The winning candidates have the right to do as they wish? I fear for democracy, if that’s the case.

posted by: Curious on March 20, 2013  11:00am

Eddie, when you have $170,000,000 in assets (that’s 170 million, btw) backing you, it’s easy to get an alderperson elected in a medium-sized city.


posted by: Eddie on March 20, 2013  11:30am

Hew Naven,

I understand that you are not claiming that jobs are a priority.  Instead I believe you are claiming that most people in New Haven believe that jobs (community policing, and Youth opportunities) shouldn’t have been such a priority for the BOA.  What is your evidence to support this claim?

posted by: streever on March 20, 2013  12:14pm


1. Why isn’t the survey public? This is good data that people could be helped by having. Where is the transparency when our government is run by a group that does not share their data?

2. The same article you reference seems to say that Smuts came up with the cost savings, and Marchand/Holmes presented it with him, essentially co-sponsoring the measure. Is that not true? Did they actually create it, or did they basically just sign off on Smuts presenting it? (In which case, why were they asked? Was every alder given the chance to present it, or was that a political boost for them?)

posted by: Eddie on March 20, 2013  1:10pm


At the risk of sounding repetitive and belaboring the point, I don’t believe that the current BOA is out of touch with voters.  I don’t know which survey you are referencing, but I will accept the electoral results as evidence that the BOA is acting on a mandate that has widespread support.  Again, members of BOA are largely adhering to their electoral platforms.  In contrast, others are suggesting that the BOA doesn’t have such a mandate.  Yet they have not presented a single piece of evidence to support this claim.  Do you have evidence to support this claim?

With respect to your second question perhaps it is better directed towards Robert Smuts or members on the BOA.  Just from reading the article, it indicates that Marchand and Holmes were quite involved in the process.  For example, they helped create the BOA’s Health Benefits Review Task Force.  I do know that Jessica Holmes addressed this issue in her campaign and has extensive experience with healthcare policy.  Perhaps this is another example of fulfilling electoral promises.  But if you are interested in this beyond making a rhetorical point, I’m probably not the person to ask.

posted by: streever on March 20, 2013  1:52pm


I didn’t say they are out of touch with the electorate: this is a straw man argument in a city with, what, 30% or less turn-out at the polls? The majority of residents do not vote, so I don’t think any politician has a “clear mandate”.

1. By “the survey”, I mean the survey that Local 34 supposedly based their platform on. I’ve never seen the data, and I think that if the real issue is helping our city, this should be public, and not just alluded to. I keep being told that they are acting based on the survey they did.

2. I asked you because you made it sound like their plan: however, the article does state it came from Smuts’ office. Kudos to them for signing on, but I’m not going to make it any more than what it is.

Matt Smith also campaigned on the very same idea—and had it in a flyer first—so I’m not sure that I’d say it was truely original. Erin Sturgis-Pascale advocated for it before she stepped down, for that matter, so it really isn’t something we can assign to Holmes, I’m afraid.

posted by: Curious on March 20, 2013  2:38pm

Eddie, Streever, I have the survey right here.


Maybe Paul Bass or someone would be kind enough to get screen grabs before this gets taken down in case Unite Here / Local 34 don’t want the details freely available.

I’m putting some screenshots up, though, because they validate my claim that the jobs pipeline was spoon-fed to the members of Local 34.  You’ll also notice that it’s not listed in the ranking of top three considerations by members, probably because the people who care about it are the leaders of Local 34 who stand to gain power from it.

Please note the leading nature of the questions in the survey, the yes/no type of answer that prevents opinion from being expressed, and the lack of any statistics to back up the survey’s claims.





posted by: streever on March 20, 2013  3:44pm

Thank you!

Wow, very leading questions. Thank you Curious!

Now, if Unite 34, as a quasi political agency using their funds to campaign and platform as one group, would like to release the RESULTS and the methodology, I’m sure that at least one of the 100s of non-profits working to help lower-income folks in New Haven would love to have access to the result.

Really, I’d love to know why they are hiding this.

posted by: anonymous on March 20, 2013  6:02pm

That’s impressive, Curious. Are their political consultants the same ones who run the NRA or Linda McMahon campaigns?

posted by: Eddie on March 20, 2013  7:10pm

I’m confused as to why this is causing such excitement or why this would be of interest 100s of non-profits.  It just looks like a survey asking members of local 34 what their priorities are for a contract.  My impression is that most members, including curious, are very happy with the contract that the union won.

posted by: HewNaven on March 20, 2013  9:29pm

I have some survey questions in line with the binary mode used by the Yale Union questionnaire. Remember, you can only respond yes or no:

1. Should we be concerned with the health of New Haven residents, especially the poor?

2. Should all New Haven residents have clean air and water?

3. Should New Haven have a thriving local economy full of small businesses that provide most of our essential needs?

4. Is transportation adequate for low-income residents? Could we improve transportation options, especially for the poor?

I would guess that with such questions you’d get an equally overwhelming majority of residents telling you that they value the success of their community along these terms, not solely by the scale of “good jobs”. Quite frankly, the picture that the Unions have painted makes New Haven residents look greedy, as if most of us would rather have a good job for ourselves at Yale than see the whole community thrive for the wide variety of reasons that they do (e.g. health, safety, economy, etc.) Once again, I don’t expect them to know any better. These are labor experts, not urban studies professionals. It seems they can only see it one way. And we’ll all have to suffer the consequences for such staunch, uncompromising ideology. Imagine the potential of this Board if it were truly committed to progressive ideals?

posted by: Curious on March 21, 2013  8:20am

Eddie, it’s a good contract that I have no problem with at all.

What I have a problem with is the leadership of Local 34 taking a plan of their making to expand their power-base and political power by passing it off as an idea that came from the membership.  That’s an outright lie, and it does a lot to undermine my faith in the union leadership. 

If you can’t get it done honestly, and if you have to get it done by skullduggery and lying, maybe it’s not what you should be doing?

posted by: streever on March 21, 2013  2:06pm

I won’t hold out on hope that you will understand my concern.

My concern is that a survey which SHOULD be used for contract negotiations is also being used by Local 34 members—on this site—to support their agenda.

Please, look at the other recent stories to see multiple instances of Local 34 members explaining that their representatives have a mandate to work on the pipeline issue because of the survey.

The survey was only used on Local 34 members, which is why many of us believe that Local 34 backed alders aren’t actually working for all of us.

I’m not sure what is confusing about the concern, but I’m happy to keep re-wording it if you’d like.

posted by: HewNaven on March 21, 2013  7:31pm

Hey, look at this. Apparently, there are many people in New Haven who are just as concerned about health and safety as they are about employment. Will the union-backed majority get behind these survey results?? It looks like these are valid concerns of New Haven residents with actual data to back them up:

Tuesday’s community meeting was the second in a series of gatherings designed to inform residents about the survey results and to gather ideas to further improve New Haven’s health. After hearing the data, attendees “voted” on their priorities for addressing health concerns by indicating their first, second, and third priorities among five areas designed to tackle health. Expanding resources for low-cost recreation opportunities received the most votes, followed by making neighborhood streets safer and developing more healthy and affordable food options in the neighborhood.


posted by: Eddie on March 21, 2013  7:54pm


I understand your concerns perfectly well, but on this particular point they are misplaced.   

The survey that curious posted was an internal survey for local 34 members.  No one on this site is referencing this survey as evidence supporting a mandate for the BOA.  I agree that would be crazy. 

Instead I think most people who are supportive of those on the BOA often point to the massive door-to-door canvassing that occurred during the aldermanic campaign.

Aside from the election, CCNE has conducted surveys, but these are distinct for the survey administered by local 34.  You can read about CCNE’s project here: http://www.ctneweconomy.org/campaigns/community-voter-project-cvp/  Note that the surveys are in concert with widespread grassroots organizing across New Haven.