Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Groundbreaking 1984 strike inspires organizing today
By: Art Perlo :NEW HAVEN - Scores of Local 34 Unite Here members at Yale and their sisters and brothers from Locals 35 and GESO gathered on Cross Campus during lunch break last Wednesday for balloons, speeches and birthday cake, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the historic strike by Local 34 clerical and technical workers which won their first union contract. Despite current battles brewing, Yale's new president, Peter Salovey, came by to shake hands with each of the workers, recognizing the respect they had won in the hard fought 1984 battle. Two days later, on the actual anniversary, the Peoples Center was filled with retirees and current Yale workers telling their stories. A video of strike photos taken by Local 34 member Joe Taylor was premiered, followed by a panel and then open discussion highlighting recollections of those who participated and led the organizing drive and strike. "We weren't thinking about making history," said former Local 34 president Laura Smith. "This was our lives."