As Yale launches $ 7 billion fundraiser, unions rally in support of New Haven
As Yale announced the launch of a new $ 7 billion ‘for humanity’ fundraising campaign on Saturday afternoon, more than 150 protesters from New Haven Rising and local unions rallied on each other. across the street at the corner of Prospect and Grove to pressure the university to send more money to its hometown.
Protesters touched up a “YALE: RESPECT NEW HAVEN” mural that was painted on Prospect Street in May and called on Yale to do more for the city in terms of local hiring practices, paying their “fair share” for tax-exempt properties, and following a new five-year agreement in principle between the university and its unions.
“Yale can do better,” said New Haven Rising director Reverend Scott Marks. Marks hosted the event and led the crowd’s call and response chants, Yale! Respect New Haven, Pay Yale! Fair sharing! and If we don’t understand? Close it!
Marks highlighted the tentative contractual agreements that Locals 34 and 35 made with Yale last week. These agreements are expected to be submitted for ratification in October.
“I’m so excited and in conflict. We celebrate the fact that Local 34 won their contracts and that Yale did a decent job. Don’t hate it; we don’t hate Yale. I want Yale to be better than Harvard. We just have to teach them how to treat people. We have to teach them what true love is, ”Marks said.
According to UNITE HERE spokesperson Ian Dunn, details on the salary breakdown will not be released until the members vote. “Until ratification, what we try to be aware of is that it is unfair to let things come out until the members can choose whether they want it or not. “
Wooster Square Alder and Local 34 board member Ellen Cupo said a new local hiring deal in the new contract is the “strongest” they have ever negotiated. Cupo explained that, as part of the deal, Yale has committed to providing 40 locations per year to New Haven Works members from low-income households and neighborhoods. Twenty of those slots will be regular jobs with the benefits of a Local 34 contract. The remaining 20 will be on-the-job training opportunities for New Haveners to gain experience in order to obtain a job in the local 34.
Cupo said that in total, over the five-year contract, this would provide 200 opportunities for New Haveners to secure jobs at Yale in Local 34.
“On top of that, it’s going to funnel tens of millions of dollars in wages and benefits into our low-income neighborhoods. But, we’re going to have to hold Yale accountable to make this a reality, ”she said.
To keep Yale at its word, Cupo added, the agreement allows members of Local 34 to file a grievance and arbitrate any violations.
Cupo, who landed a job at Yale through New Haven Works, said: “I know the value of good union work and I know how important it is for Yale to provide work opportunities to New Haven residents. . “
Throughout the event, protesters picked up signs asking, “What should Yale be used for?” And used markers to fill in the answers.
Some held up the signs as the speakers took the mike, others stuck their signs along the grass of Prospect Street.
Camila Guiza-Chavez, a 2019 Yale graduate and member of the Semilla collective in New Haven, wrote “redistribute the wealth” under “What should Yale be used for? On his sign.
“It drives me so crazy every day to see how many resources are stored only at Yale and not at all redistributed to the city. It is like a colonizing force and it is totally unacceptable, ”said Guiza-Chavez. She said she would like Yale to channel the money to the city for more job creation and affordable housing.
Josie Steuer Ingall joined local union members and other protesters to help paint the “YALE: RESPECT NEW HAVEN” street mural with a fresh coat of paint.
Steuer Ingall has been a member of the Yale Endowment Justice Coalition since the fall of his first year. She noted that the coalition has collected 3,000 signatures over the past two years as part of an active campaign asking alumni not to donate until Yale divests from operating industries and s ‘pledges to reinvest this money.
She said she would like to see Yale’s money go towards climate resilient infrastructure in Fair Haven and low-lying coastal neighborhoods that are at risk of devastating climate change: “I think the events of the past two months have demonstrated how vulnerable parts of this city are and it is really important to invest in protecting these areas of the city and these residents.
Hill native Nasir Underwood, a graduate of Amistad High School, spoke at the rally on Saturday. He is currently pursuing a degree from the University of Connecticut in Elementary Education and dreams of becoming a teacher in New Haven. Underwood has worked with students at New Haven Public School as a LEAP mentor for the past several years.
“I know firsthand some of the educational opportunities and experiences that our children miss due to a lack of funding,” he said. “Our children are paying the price for Yale not paying their taxes.”
Underwood said his “frustration” led him to work with New Haven Rising over the summer to knock on residents’ doors and ask them to leave voicemail messages for Yale’s top administrators. In total, they were successful in convincing New Haveners to leave 1,121 voicemail messages calling on Yale to pay taxes and boost local employment opportunities.