Yale Hunger Strike for a Union


The Opinion Pages

Why Yale Graduate Students Are on a Hunger Strike

Jennifer Klein


Graduate student teachers at Yale erected a shelter in front of the offices of the president to protest the university’s refusal to acknowledge their union. CreditRobbie Short

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Two weeks ago, Yale graduate student teachers began a hunger strike to pressure the school to negotiate with their union. Eight committed to fasting, planning only to stop if a doctor says their health is at risk of permanent damage. If a student has to stop fasting, another union member takes his or her spot. Four of the students have had nothing but water for 14 days.

The measures these graduate student teachers are taking are dramatic. But their cause — a fight for decent, secure wages and comprehensive benefits — has implications for the entire labor market.

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