In January, about 20 months after it won a representation election
at Yale University, Local 34 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant
Employees Union negotiated an initial contract, ending a bitter dispute
between the parties. Throughout the talks, the union had contended that
the 1,500 workers (mostly women) were underpaid relative to men
performing work of comparable worth to society simply because the Yale
workers held “traditional” women’s jobs, such as
telephone operators and secretaries. The university disputed this, say
ing t hat it paid equal wages for all employees performing the same
work, and that settlement of such comparable worth disputes could be
resolved only through broad national decisions.
According to the union, the 3-1/2-year contract provides for
general wage increases totaling 20.25 percent, and a revamping of the
salary structure that will bring the combined overall average annual
salary increase to about 35 percent for current employees. Previously,
the average salary was about $13,300.
The settlement was preceded by a strike that began on September 26
and ended on December 4, when the employees returned to work.