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The Clerical and Technical Workers' Union Local 34 went on strike against Yale University in 1984-85.


"[T]he union and its supporters…argued that the C&T's campaign had come to embody the very values that the administration was betraying: 'It's the workers who are standing up for Lux et Veritas,' sang picketers, to the tune of Solidarity Forever. While such lines made effective propaganda, they also meant something quite real to the strikers. Rosamund Hamlin recalls, 'I was striking for human rights, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be treated as an individual for the worth of the work that I did…so people could retire with dignity, with a decent pension…to me, the money was of minor importance; relatively speaking, it was a much smaller issue to me than the issue of individual worth.' The feeling of collective power and purpose that this spirit [the sense among the strikers and their supporters of being engaged in a crusade of historical significance] generated was reinforced by the many ways that strikers found to express themselves. One could scarcely walk through campus without hearing snatches of singing from various picket lines along the way. Old labor standards such as Union Maids, We're Gonna Roll, and Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around, reminded strikers of their place in a historical tradition. In addition to these, new twists cropped up constantly (collected finally into the Local 34 Songbook), including adaptations such as Do Negotiations (to the tune of Locomotion), Bart (Mame), We're Not at Work Today (Ta Rah Rah Boom De Yay), What's Yale Got to Do with It? (What's Love Got to Do with It?), Giamatti, Look and See (Mr. Postman), Arbitration, Binding Arbitration (Alhouette), We Love You, 35 (We Love You, Conrad), and, inevitably, Bartbusters! Such tunes not only helped strikers keep their sense of humor through hard times, but they also deepened their sense of community, creativity, and irreverence toward an administration that was fast losing its ability to cow them."

—Toni Gilpin, Gary Isaac, Dan Letwin, and Jack McKivigan, On Strike for Respect:

The Clerical and Technical Workers' Strike at Yale University, 1984-85 (1994)


Solidarity


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