On the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 28, Yale University Provost Scott Strobel addressed an email to the university community titled “Graduate Student Unionization Effort.” In that communication, Strobel signaled that the university administration would honor UNITE HERE Local 33’s petition for a representation election, which leaders and members had delivered to the National Labor Review Board earlier that week. The university’s decision to follow the law in respect to the petition is a welcome one and shows how powerful the collective solidarity displayed by graduate workers and their allies in New Haven and across the university has been in recent weeks. We look forward to the election this week.
However, Strobel’s staunch refusal on behalf of the university to commit to neutrality is particularly disquieting and we believe contradictory to the principles of open discussion he made so central to his communication. We write today to encourage Strobel and other university administrators to change course by adopting an official stance of neutrality on the issue of graduate worker unionization.