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November 29, 1978 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1978-11-29

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Page 4-Wednesday, November 29, 1978-The Michigan Daily

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
E igh ty-Nirie Years oif EditoarialI Free dom

Labor's nuclear problems

Vol. LXXXIX, No. 68

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Carter's Vietnam gesture

When President Richard Nixon an-
nounced the final troop pull-outs from
Vietnam six years ago, he called it "a
peace with honor." Mr. Nixon's ver-
biage aside, it has never been an
honorable peace, and recent develop-
ments have reaffirmed that.
The U.S. had initially promised to
rebuild much of the agriculturally-
based Asian nation that it had fought so
lard to destroy with modern weapons.
Billions of dollars were to be spent
relocating multitudes of displaced
citizens, rebuilding a badly ruptured
infrastructure, and generally,
upgrading social institutions in the
war-tainted region.
Those promises have been all but
forgotten. When the Vietcong'reunified
that small nation by force, the U.S.
government used it as an excuse to
shirk our responsibilities and
promises. We became the sore
loser-the defeat of the Saigon regime
justified changing the rules in mid-
stream.
It is in this light that President Car-
ter's recent announcement to double
the number of Vietnamese allowed to
enter the country must be viewed. The
decision to seek Congressional support
for the measure was necessitated by
dramatic surges of refugees fleeing the
region. Earlier this year, only 1,500 to
1,700 fled Vietnam by boat each month;
and the U.S. guaranteed entry to ap-
proximately half of them. Now,
however, the number of "boat people,"
as the predominately Chinese refugee
population is referred to, is up to 20,000
per month.

Carter's offer to permit 30,000 of the
expected 120,000 boat refugees to land
here is a weak humanitarian gesture at
best. More should be done. His an-
nouncement comes at a time when
gestures are inadequate.
The flood of refugees is a problem
directly related to American activities
in Southeast Asia. By virtue of our
destruction of Vietnam, and because of
our unkept promises to aid in
rebuilding, the U.S. cannot avoid at
least partial blame for today's
problems in Vietnam. That is not to say
that the current Vietnamese gover-
nment has not contributed to the
refugee problem through its ac-
tions-especially crackdowns this
spring on remaining signs of the
market economy that existed there.
Asian leaders are calling on the U.S.
to take an active part assisting the
refugees. Ghazali Shafie, the Home Af-
fairs Minister of Malaysia, whose
country has been burdened most by the
flow of refugees, said Monday, before
Carter's announcement that the United
States should assume an active role
and receive the refugees.
Mr. Ghazali is right. Mr. Carter
should make a commitment to human
rights in the area and urge Congress to
open our doors to all Vietnamese
refugees who wish to settle here. Fur-
thermore, Mr. Carter should fulfill the
promises we made for humanitarian
aid to the people of Vietnam. Regar-
dless of the nature of the government,
we have an obligation to the inhabitan-
ts of that country. Anything less, is just
another weak gesture.

On November 14, the Michigan Daily
published an article, "Why anti-nukes can't
woo labor," by a spokesperson of the U.S.
Labor Party. The article indicated absolutely
no understanding of the hazards of nuclear
power development. It slandered the anti-
nuclear movement in general and the Arbor
Alliance, a community organization based in
Ann Arbor and dedicated to halting nuclear
power in Michigan, in particular.
The charge that the anti-nuclear movement
is blindly opposed to technological
development, and the insistance that the anti-
nuclear movement cannot forge alliances
with labor, can easily be refuted. It is,
however, essential for Michigan Daily
readers to understand from the start that the
"U.S. Labor Party," despite its pretentious
name, has no credentials as a represenative
of labor. It is a group of only 500 members and
has often been condemned as pro-
management by union leaders and members
alike.
Inkcontrast to the claims of this "Labor
Party" article, unionists have played a
leading role in the anti-nuclear movement,
and new alliances are being created by the
day. Walter Reuther and the UAW, showing
remarkable foresight, opposed the
construction of the Fermi I breeder reactor
when it was first proposed in the late 1950s.
The union, aware of the vast safety hazards
posed by the reactor, maintained its
opposition to the Fermi breeder through
years of hearings and court battles until the
Supreme Court closed the case by voting for
Edison in the early 1960s.
UAW'S EXAMPLE is not unique. District
31 of the United Steelworkers has gone on
record opposing construction of theBailly
nuclear plant in northern Indiana. The United
Mine Workers oppose nuclear power. The
Sheetmetal Workers, the Machinists, and the
Auto Workers strongly support solar energy
development, despite the U.S. Labor Party's
misinformed rejection of this technology.
Representatives of the Steelworkers, the
Mine Workers, and the Amalgamated
Meatcutters and Butcher Workmen spoke to
large, appreciative crowds at the anti-nuclear
demonstration in Seabrook, New Hampshire,
last June.
And most recently and close to home, a
representative of the UAW spoke at an Arbor
Alliance forum in Monroe, Michigan, on
November 18.
The-forum was called to commemorate the
death of Karen Silkwood, a plutonium worker
and spokesperson for the Oil, Chemical and
Atomic Workers union. Four years ago this
month, while on her way t o meet a New York
Times reporter to give him evidence of the
radioactive contamination of workers in her
plutonium reprocessing plant, Karen
Silkwood's car was mysteriously run off the
road. Speaking in Monroe, Paul Kazee,
environmental representative of Lansing
uaw Local 1618, gave a ringing refutation of
the U.S. Labor Party's claims:
"wE IN THE labor movement are
convinced that in order to keep corporate
interests from running every one of us off the
road we must join in solidarity with
environmentalists, feminists, civil
libertarians, and practically any other
citizens group we can think of, barring of
course the KKK and the U.S. Labor Party, to
defend ourselves from this murderous
industry. It's not often that unions and
environmental groups look to each other for
help. and I hope that this movement will turn
that tide. . .
"There is no reason why we cannot have

By the Arbor Alliance
First of a two-part series
both jobs abd a clean environment. In the
instances where workers were laid off as a
result of environmental pressures, we have
misdirected our anger at each other rather
than at the industries that caused this
problem to begin with. We are natural allies
facing the same enemy, and it is time we took
this enemy to task ..:
"Nuclear power is not safe, either to
humankind or to the ecology of the planet.
Nuclear power does not insure economic
prosperity. Nuclear power is not
inexhaustible. It is not cheap or efficient, and
nuclear power does not create employment."
KAZEE ALSO reported thatathe Lansing
UAW council has voted against a city
proposal that Lansing's municipal utility buy
into the Midland nuclear power plant.
The everyday facts of environmental and
labor activism dismiss the arguments ofthe
U.S. Labor Party.
As for the alleged anti-technology bias of
the anti-nuclear movement: It is clear first of
all-that the anti-nuclear movement favors the
development of advanced technologies in safe
and healthy directions. as far as energy is
concerned, it now appears that the proper
direction is towards conservation and solar
technologies. We believe furthermore, that
technological advances and the enhanced
productivity of labor that accompanies those
advances should be used 1) to reduce the
necessary work time of all working people
and 2) to improve the quality of life for all.
Nuclear power in fact works against both
these ends: the energy industry, in its search
for increader profits and strike-proof
production, uses the labor-saving devicesof
nuclear technology to lay off workers. And
nuclear power does not improve the quality of
life but rather poisions and kills.
The following is excerpted from the Arbor
Alliance paper, "Nuclear Power is a Labor
Issue," prepared for distribution to local
unions. For more information, call 668-7090 or
come to the Alliance's weekly meetings on
Thursday evenings, 7:30 p.m., in the
Michigan Union's Kuenzel Room.
THE RELATION BETWEEN
JOBS AND ENERGY
Americans have long been told that ever-
increasing energy production was the key to
national economic well-being and jobs. It
seemed -enough to note that as energy
production expanded over the years, so did
economic growth and total employment.

Many in government and industry are
therefore advising that unemployment can be
ended only by stepping up energy
development to the greatest degree possible,
and with the largest system possible. Yet,
current high unemployment along with a
succession of economic crisis, have been
taking place while national energy use has
been at an all-time high, and increasing.
The major manufacturing industries have
invested large sums of money in automating
machinery, which substitutes massive energy.
use for human labor. As more and more~
money is substituted for labor, automation
proceeds and the number of jobs decreases,
(that is, unless productivity increases were
used to shorten the work week at no loss in
pay, a demand that more and more unionists
are making as the ohly solution to growing
unemployment). As it stands, however,
increasing energy consumption is more
closely coupled with increasing automation
than with increasing employment. In the steel
industry, for, instance, the number of
production jobs decreased by20 per cent
between 1950 and a970 while steel output
increased by 45 per cent. Similar examples
can be found in the aluminum, agricultural
and energy production industries. In all, the
major energy-producing and energy-using
industries consume 1/3 of the nation's energyg
while they directly provide only about 1/10 of
the nation's jobs.
ENERGY ALTERNATIVES:
CONSERVATION
Jimmy Carter has stasted that "our
energy waste in transportation is
85 per cent-in generating electricity,
65 per cent. Overall, 50 per cent of our energy:
is wasted." The most important short-term:
energy "source" currently available is:
conservation.rThe cheapest way to produce:
the energy equivalent of a barrel of oil is by
saving it. Not only is conservation cheaper,
but it is safer, produces more jobs, and it
would "supply" more energy than nuclear
power could.
Conservation doesn't mean lowering.
thermostats to 65 degrees or not using
washing machines. Conservation means the:
efficient use of energy so that every last bit of
work is received from the energy we produce.
There are manyways to save energy, ranging
from insulating' our homes and making
appliances more energy efficient to reducing
energy waste by industry.
A recent study by the American Institute of
Architects starkly contradicts the claim that
increased energy production is essential. The
conclusion was that by 1990, 12.5 million
barrels of oil (equivalent to 1/3 of our current:
total national energy use) couldbe saved by
employing energy efficient systems in both
old and, new buildings. The process of
modifying old buildings would produce:
millions of jobs, particularly .in the
construction trades. Senators Edward
Kennedy has stated that conservation "is the
best job creator of all, out performing all
other energy measures by a margin of three-
to-one, considering both direct and indirect
employment."
Tomorrow: some alternatives
The Arbor Alliance is an Ann Arbor-
based organization dedicated to halting
nuclear power in Michigan.

t

a
A2i and the Headlee plan

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PROPOSITION 13 fever seems
to be abating in Michigan, but not
without leaving a troublesome scar in
the guise of the Headlee proposal.,
One probable reason for the success
of the Headlee plan, and the failure of
the Tisch and Voucher amendments, is
that almost every major candidate
from both parties endorsed the tax-
limitation scheme, saying 'it would
cause the least harm in the long run.
The long run isn't here yet, but it is
rapidly approaching. The problem is
that many voters pulled the 'yes' lever
without really knowing what they were
getting themselves into. Practically
everyone is aware that the proposal
limits increases in state spending to

assessing only the property owners
affected, and making up the
differences from the general fund.
Under Headlee, however, no city funds
could be used without city-wide voter
approval.
Last Monday night, Council
members voiced concern about the
ramifications that Headlee could cause
in Ann Arbor. Their main worry is that
voters may turn down those projects
which would not affect them.
One thing is certain. Michigan
residents are going to have to enter
into a new spirit of cooperation if we
are to preserve the same standard of
services we have come to expect from
our local governments.
Since more bonding proposals will

6TSOV..)APP
IF WOOSHO
fltis TOCO
Li- 1IX 'VrW.

Letters to the Daily

A criminal is born
To the Daily:
When I turned 18 years old, I
was led to believe that I had

as an adult.
Why has my status as an equal
member of society been revoked?
Is it because of traffic accidents?
Nn- w have a~ 1 ll f b 4-P.th

longer a child at age 18. As an
adult I expect to be treated like
one. Why, then, are my rights
being taken away?

swallowed without thining.
The fact that those of us
interested in justice and equality,
could not defeat the proposal does

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