Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Union busting in academia. Pathetic.

On Tuesday morning, we watched in disbelief as the Yale-New Haven Hospital police arrested four women for criminal trespassing. Their alleged crime? Handing out leaflets to fellow workers at the entrance
to the Yale Cancer Center.

"But I thought the hospital can't interfere with leafleting," one woman protested.

"We work here -- we have a right to be here," another insisted.

Douglas Doyle, the police chief of Yale-New Haven, acknowledged that the hospital had entered into a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board that allowed workers to leaflet on hospital grounds.
The settlement was in response to unfair labor practice charges by hospital workers -- they had been threatened with arrest for attempting to leaflet.

These arrests were different though, according to Doyle. He claimed that the settlement only protected workers employed by the hospital.

True to form, Yale-New Haven police did not interfere with the hospital worker who was leafleting alongside the other four who were arrested -- two medical school employees and two graduate student
researchers. It did not seem to matter that these four work every day in hospital buildings alongside hospital employees.

Doyle justified this distinction with a technical response. Due to complicated leasing arrangements, the hospital was effectively "condominium-ized." By this, he meant that employees who work down the hall
from each other cannot communicate freely -- at least if the subject is unionization.