Sixty-five patrols and six detectives of the Yale Police Benevolent Association, also known as the Yale police union, were not alone during their information picketing last Wednesday afternoon. Several members of other Yale University unions, such as Local 34 and 35 — Yale’s clerical, technical and maintenance worker unions — and the Yale University Security Officer Association, rallied and chanted along with the YPBA.
During the demonstration, YPBA members camped outside of the Yale Police Department headquarters to air their frustration toward the University’s new general order which tightens the requirement for the department’s annual firearms qualification. Though the issue only directly concerns the police union, members of other University unions supported the cause by attending the rally throughout the afternoon.
John Maturo, a member of Local 35 and a plumber at Yale’s Physical Plant, was one of the non-YPBA rally participants. According to Maturo, all plumbers from his union were present during the demonstration to support the YPBA. He said he is going to support every branch of local unions to make Yale a better working environment for its employees.
“Because we need a safe place to work, that’s why I am here to support my brothers,” Maturo said. “We are very strong here.”
YPBA spokesman Mike Hall said that even though YPD officers and Local 34 and Local 35 members have “very different job descriptions,” all local unions share the same ultimate goals: decent wages, adequate benefits and fundamental fairness.
He added that because the YPBA is a relatively small union with fewer than 80 members, and Local 34 and 35 have an established labor union presence on campus with thousands of members, the former seeks assistance from the latter on issues such as contract negotiations. Local 34 and Local 35 first signed contracts with the University in 1985.
Yale University Security Officers Association, another organization that showed up to support the YPBA at Wednesday’s rally, has consistently worked closely with the Yale police union, according to Hall.
Robert Corso, YUSOA president and a Yale security officer, said at the rally that both the YPBA and the YUSOA shoulder the responsibility of keeping students and faculty members safe. He added that because the two unions are inextricably linked under the umbrella of public safety, any University-initiated policy change could affect both.
“When you start letting one get away with one thing, it’ll affect us on the other side,” Corso said. “But we have to join together and be one family and that’s what we are. We’re one family.”
Hall affirmed that there is a close working relationship between the YPBA and the YUSOA. He said there is constant dialogue between the two executive boards, a collaboration that is currently exploring combining the two unions.
Hall added that the ongoing discussion between these two “intertwined” organizations has not yet found any legal prohibition regarding a potential merger.
Local 34, Local 35 and Local 217 are among the four New Haven-based unions anchored under UNITE HERE, a labor union with members from the U.S. and Canada employed in nearly a dozen industries such as manufacturing and transportation.