Negotiators from Yale and from HERE Locals 34 and 35 came back to the table again yesterday, over a week after the unions had been hoping Yale would be willing to restart negotiations. As the unions report, Yale showed little change of heart: Negotiations with Yale resumed Tuesday afternoon at the Omni Hotel. Despite headlines about Yale's "new faces" at the bargaining table (after the recent departure of several key administrators), there were no new faces to be seen on Yale's team. Neither were there any major new proposals from Yale. This was not unexpected for our first session back at the bargaining table but, on behalf of our negotiating committees, Local 35 President Bob Proto made our intentions clear: we are ready to meet all day, every day of the week and all night, if necessary to achieve a fair contract. To make that work, however, Yale must be prepared to engage in the real give-and-take of actual negotiation and compromise on wages, pensions, job security and training and advancement. While Yale had no serious new proposals for us yesterday, Chief Negotiator Brian Tunney reiterated his assertion that Yale is "prepared to move on pensions, wages and retroactivity." While that may sound promising, we have heard those words too often before without any actual results. As Local 34 President Laura Smith responded, "It's time to stop preparing to move and start actually moving." ...Despite the reference to retroactivity, Tunney was quick to say that what he meant by retroactivity was actually a discussion of a "signing bonus"--a far cry from the full retroactivity that Yale should agree to after we accepted their first-year wage proposal. Tunney also confirmed that when the newly-renovated Sprague Hall reopens next week, the building will be cleaned and serviced by low-wage subcontracted workers, not by Local 35...Yale's one "new proposal" was a suggestion that Local 34 workers who are laid off due to subcontracting to a Yale affiliate (like YNHH) be given an "extra" three months in the Interim Employment Pool--hardly reassuring in light of the enormous potential, particularly in the Medical Area, for shifting University to Hospital work... As the AP reports: Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said it is impossible to know whether a deal would be reached. "We're always hopeful, but certainly we're far apart and they have some unrealistic proposals," Conroy said. Union spokeswoman Deborah Chernoff said the unions are waiting for Yale to come forward with new proposals for wages and pensions. "We're prepared to meet every day. We're prepared to meet all day, and we're prepared to meet on the weekends, but we have to have something to talk about," she said. Meanwhile, as the Register reports, Mayor DeStefano is also keen to the irony of Bruce Alexander serving, in the wake of Bob Culver's departure, as Vice President for New Haven and State Affairs and for Finance and Administration at once: DeStefano said Alexander "potentially is going to be serving the community agenda at the same time they are presiding over the biggest walkout and longest walkout of Yale workers in over a decade." He feels this presents an "inherent conflict. Why run the risk of confusing the agendas?" Yale spokeswoman Helaine Klasky responded that the assignment is a temporary one for Alexander who was named to the post because "Bruce is the officer with business and financial expertise." As YaleInsider observes, "If there were ever any doubt about the ultimate reason for Yale's VP position for community relations, created in the wake of the 1996 strike, let that doubt be dispelled."

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