The nominations for union-wide elected positions for the 2020-2021 school year are now closed. You can read statements from our candidates below.

Please note the following procedures for voting:

  • In Person Voting:
    • On October 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th (Friday-Monday, weather permitting) from 12-2pm EDT, a Local 33 elections committee representative will set up a table outside the union office at 425 College St., during which times members can stop by to fill out a ballot and place it in a drop box. Membership forms will also be available for new members who would like to cast a ballot.
    • In the event that inclement weather prevents voting on two or more of these days, the elections committee will provide an alternate location as soon as possible.
  • Voting by mail:
    • If you are away from New Haven or would simply prefer to vote by mail, please fill out this form to request a ballot. Ballots sent within the U.S. will be mailed with return postage.
    • If you plan to vote by mail from abroad and are concerned about your ballot being delayed, please email the elections committee at
    • All mail ballots must be postmarked by October 6th. Ballots will be counted and results will be announced on October 21st.

Candidates for Co-President:

Ridge Liu, Physics

“I’m a third year in physics from Houston, TX with occasional interests in Sanskrit and string instruments of all sorts. I’ve been an organizer for the past year and a half.

We’ve seen how the pandemic has exacerbated all existing injustices and introduced new ones. Care and solidarity have become ever more important, just as our physical separation has made those ever more difficult. I’m proud to have been part of a team in the sciences and engineering figuring out a new playbook for how to organize and agitate for graduate workers during the depths of lockdown, working to reach people we haven’t before and fight on the issues we are facing together. I’ve found the pandemic has even given rise to new ways to be together in solidarity. In the past couple of months, I have joined hundreds of volunteers from Local 33 and unions across the country in a multilingual, multiracial phonebank to kick Trump out of office – a strategy I saw tested and proven successful in local elections in Florida.

I’m looking forward to working hard with you to build these ties of solidarity, so we can stand against Trump and kick him out this November, so we can build a strong union to protect every single graduate worker, and so, when Yale is no longer able to hide behind Trump’s anti-labor and anti-immigrant policies, we can win the contract we deserve.”


Reed Miller, Environmental Engineering

“Graduate student workers at Harvard, Brown, and Georgetown all have protections through a union. So why has Yale refused to recognize our union for over three decades?! The answer is clear— top decision makers at Yale have decided that investing their billions in industries including fossil fuels and Puerto Rican debt is a higher priority than investing in the wellbeing of graduate student workers and the New Haven community. I want to work with you to change that. A bit about me: I’m a fifth year PhD candidate in Environmental Engineering from Rochester, NY. I like cats, sequins, and dad jokes. Over the past few years, I’ve had the privilege to meet and hear from many dozens of graduate student workers about the concerns we face. I’m especially passionate about issues surrounding sexual harassment, diversity, healthcare, and international student workers. I would be honored to serve as your Co-President.”


Candidate for Secretary-Treasurer:

Naim Goksel Karacayli, Physics

“I’m in my 6th year in the physics department. I study the large scale structure of the Universe—search cosmic web for pretty pictures! I started organizing in my first year, joined CC in second to organize during the elections and became the Vice President for Research and Contracts last year. I participated in the process committee when we wrote our bylaws. I am currently organizing in astronomy and physics departments while trying to reach out to some biology departments. As the Vice President for Research and Contracts, my recent work showed how Yale spent less than their target from their endowment since 1980s. During my time at Yale, I worked on establishing and driving the science organizing committee to expand and strengthen the union in sciences. Our science OC proved its strength by getting 250 signatures on our most recent statement. As the Secretary-Treasurer, I believe I can help the union to get ready for the political landscape after Trump and be in a position to win our election.”


Candidate for Ombundsperson:

Stephanie Ranks, English

“I have been involved with Yale’s graduate student union since 2014 both as a regular member and an organizer. As someone with direct and extensive organizing experience who has since gone back to regular membership, I feel uniquely positioned to help mediate conflict between members and organizers. It would be my pleasure as Ombudsperson to lend a sympathetic ear and assist union members in resolving any issues that arise with organizing.”


Candidates for Elected Organizer:

Lena Eckert-Erdheim

“As a graduate worker in the History Department, I was a member of the department organizing committee and the Local 33 Coordinating Committee from 2013-2020. I’ve served as the Co-President of Local 33 since 2017. This summer I transitioned to working as a full-time organizer with Locals 34 and 33, and I am also helping coordinate UNITE HERE’s National Volunteer Phone Bank for the 2020 presidential election. I’ve organized across the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and am excited to strengthen the relationship between Local 33, the other unions at Yale, and our community allies. I’m running to be an Elected Organizer to continue working with Local 33 organizers and members to be building towards union recognition and a contract, and to be finding creative and effective ways of building community and power in the context of COVID.”


Josh Stanley

“I graduated from the English Department in 2018, where I wrote a PhD on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century poetry and was a member of the coordinating committee of Local 33. Since then, I have served as an elected organizer of Local 33, where I have focused on helping to train organizers in the science departments. I have also volunteered with UNITE HERE in California as an organizer with the national Marriott strike in 2018 and on local political campaigns here in New Haven. Recently, I have been working with Local 217 (representing cafeteria and hotel workers in Connecticut) during the Covid-19 pandemic. As an elected organizer, I would keep building our union across the graduate school (especially in the literature departments!) so that, after we vote Trump out of the White House in November, we can get a contract like the graduate workers at Harvard, Georgetown and Brown.”


Charles Decker

“I am an alum of the Political Science department, and am a Research Analyst for UNITE HERE. This past year I served as Elected Organizer and Chair of the Equal Rights and Access Committee (ERAC) of Local 33. Prior to that I served as Vice President for Research and Contracts for two years. In these roles I led the committee which wrote Local 33’s institutional comment to the NLRB opposing the Trump administration’s proposed anti-graduate worker rulemaking; led the production of ERAC’s research report “A Failure to Commit: Inclusion, Accountability, and Yale’s Priorities;” helped launch the campaign for Yale to disclose and cancel its holdings in Puerto Rican debt; and contributed research on Yale’s endowment holdings for

Through my research and organizing with Local 33, I believe that a recognized union for graduate students can be part of the solution to Yale’s failures on racial justice and gender equity. The growing academic labor movement has won victories on these issues across the country by holding universities accountable on their promises, and it is urgent that we do the same at Yale.”