Labor Unrest in the Ivy League - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 40, No. 3
Crocker Coulson is a student jt Y.i/e University and Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Daily News.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
Last September, after more than half a year of negotiations, Yale University's white-collar workers went out on strike. During the ten-week strike, Yale's dining halls were closed, many classes were held off campus, and clerical services were curtailed. Yale's campus was crisscrossed by picket lines, and rallies and protests against the Yale administration were held almost daily.
For Yale's students and faculty, the strike was a disturbing and divisive event. For many, it spoiled a semester of their time at Yale; for others, the strike was only a minor inconvenience. But for the union movement, the Yale strike has far-reaching implications, holding clues to successful organization for both the nation's universities and for the white-collar workforce as a whole.
On April 22, 1985, reporters assembled in Woodbridge Hall, the center for administration at Yale University. Such press conferences were rare for the university, which prefers to maintain an image of quiet respectability. The previous semester these briefings had taken place almost every week, but with the end of the strike by Yale's clerical and technical workers, the university had settled back into its old ways.
Then the bomb exploded. In a short statement, Yale'sPresident, A. Bartlett Giamatti, announced that he was resigning, effective June 1986. Ciamatti was 47 years old and had served as president for only seven years. He was in the prime of his career and apparently had no new position in mind. Swiftly the speculation began. Why had Giamatti, a former professor of Renaissance literature, chosen to give up one of the most influential and visible positions in American higher education? Although Ciamatti denied its influence and said in fact that he had made the decision a full year before, all the questions focused on one event: the Yale strike.