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November 18, 1979 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-11-18
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Page 8-Sunday, November 18, 1979-The Michigan Daily

(Continued from Page 4)
leads workshops, and offers advice to
various groups around the country. She
is also one of the three commissioners
charged with preparing the final IYC
report for Carter.
In response to the international call to*
help children, the University has
allocated $30,000 under the direction of
President-designate Harold Shapiro. A
ten-member committee composed of
faculty and students was formed last
spring under Shapiro's suggestion. Last
summer the committee reviewed
proposals for projects involving
children in the Ann Arbor area. Among
the projects tentatively receiving
University support are a "hands-on"
museum, a New Games program, a
conference, anda special course.
The hands-on museum is planned for
the old firehouse at Huron Ave. and S.
Fourth St. The museum will be
.designed so that a "person can handle
the exhibits and see what changes are
made by what he or she is doing to
them," according to University
Psychology Prof. Lorraine Newman, a
member of the group working on the
renovation. For example, Newman
says, one possible exhibit is a hand-
crank generator: "If a person cranks
hard enough it will turn on a light which
sows how our own physical effort can
create mechanical energy, which will in
turn convert to electricity."
A student-run organization, in con-
junction with the University's
recreational sports department, is
developing a New Games program. The
program will emphasize how games
can be both fun and strenuous without
involving competition. Bill Kell, who
heads the organization, cites volleyball
as an example of a New Game. "The
sy cor
(Continued from Page 6)
corporation to bear some of the respon-
sibility for the workers they leave
"You're talking about a situation
where you can't win. You can only be a
success by making things less bad. It's
a bittersweet kind of success," says
Dan Sharp, an aide to Rep. Perry
Bullard (D-Ann Arbor). Bullard has in-
troduced plant closing legislation in the
state House of Representatives and
helped form the Sycor Crisis Commit-
tee--a group designed to help those laid
off find jobs and learn about the social
services available to them.
The Sycor Crisis Committee was
modeled after the Lyons-Chrysler
Community Council. After the announ-
cement of the shut down of Lyons,
Michigan's largest employer, a
Chrysler trim plant, community ser-
vice agencies formed a council to
provide the 900 workers in the small
town near Lansing with services they
would need in the coming months. The
council published a directory which
helped workers contact social services
agencies for unemployment and other
benefits. In addition, the directory
listed community colleges, classes in
resource management, banks, and
mental health services to help people
deal with the stress of finding another
job. . W
The Lyons effort was considered suc-
cessful by most parties involved, and
this fall Bullard attempted to set up the
same sort of committee to aid Sycor
workers. After two meetings; however,
the committee fizzled, and Bullard's
aides put the blame on lack of par-
ticipation by NTSC officials and the
Employees who went to the meetings
say ,they were disappointed hat no one
flroxnhe comipany was threto answer

object of the game is not to see which
team can beat the other, but rather how
long you can keep the ball in the air."
A conference in April, 1980 on global
malnutrition and a benefit concert by
Harry Chapin next March are the
projects of the faculty-student group,
The Committee Concerned with
World Hungry. According to Pat
Gallagher, principal officer of the
organization, "Some of the speakers at
the conference will be discussing the
politics of malnutrition in the hopes of
motivating people to become involved.
... to inform them on the solution is a
matter of political will."
Other University-related events

scheduled include a pilot study of the
needs of families with cancer-stricken
children; a new course, "Black
Children in America;" and a conferen-
ce on family violence.
Detroit has adopted a plan to plant
1,000 trees. "Environment makes a
great impact on children;" says Ann
Arbor's Tice. "If kids don't have places
to play with trees and shade, life is
bleak. Trees are confidence in the
future. They give children a relation-
ship to nature and are important to
growth. People are encouraged to
respond in their own way ... Year of
the Child is a grass roots effort."
As groups in the United States have
responded in their own ways, so people

throughout the world, with the help of
the IYC commission, have tailored the
Year of the Child concept to their own
cultures. In Third World countries, the
focus is on addressing basic needs such
as health, nutrition, and education. In
Latin America, Africa, and in parts of
Asia, the commission has developed a
"child-to-child" program, which
teaches older children in rural villages
how to take care of their younger
brothers and sisters. In developed
countries, priorities are somewhat dif-
ferent. Sweden, for instance, has ap-
proved a law which penalizes parents
who inflict physical or mental pain on
their children, and has banned the sale
of war toys.
Despite the varied approaches to IYC
world-wide, the central theme remains
unchanged. "The problems and needs
of children are neither new nor
unknown," says Lim, a University
alumnus. "Indeed, they have been
scrutinized and debated through the
years, but unlike in the urgency of
typhoons or floods, the plight of
children does not arouse this continuous
and immediate response evoked by
natural disasters. Yet the starvation,
disease, and illiteracy that have
destroyed or stunted millions of
generations of children constitute a
silent and continuing emergency whose
presence and long-term consequences
no less devastating than earthquakes."
To ensure long-term follow-up on IYC
efforts in the years ahead, Lim said she
believes there is a need for fundamen-
tal change. She stressed the "develop-
ment of policies that will give children
the same priorities and importance that
planners and heads of state now give to
armaments, plus a recognition that all
development begins with children."




- x I L

questions. Many had hoped Bullard
could do something to make NTSC keep
the jobs in Ann Arbor. Others believe
the committee was a good idea, though,
and that it would be a bigger help once
people were actually laid off.
Although NTSC officials had said
they would send a representative to the
meetings, no- one from the company
ever came, according to Bullard's
aides. NTSC spokesman Murphy says
company officials were asked to attend
the meetings. They then asked whatthe
purpose of the committee washe says,
but received no answer and therefore
did not send a representative.
"That's a bold-faced corporate lie,"
snaps Sharp. He says a company of-
ficial told him face-to-face that atten-
ding such meetings was nt company
policy. "Management can just say, 'No,
we won't help.' "
NTSC recently held a job fair for their
employees. About 34 prospective em-
ployers were brought into Ann Arbor to
interview workers. Company officials
paint a rosy picture of the fair, pointing
to it as an example of how NTSC is
helping its soon-to-be-laid-off em-
But "farce" is the most apt descrip-
tion of the fair that employees can give.
Few report job offers from the inter-
views and most say they felt the fair
was just a formality. Many job fair in-
terviews were cancelled with no reason
given and -no attempt was made to
reschedule them. "Some of the guys
that came into town told the people they
were interviewing that they didn't have
any jobs," says Wensel. "People felt
worse when they came back than
before the meetings took place."
About 450 Sycor employees are
represented, by United Steel Workers
Local 8579. According to union workers,
the union has been advising employees

to "hang in if you can, but if you have to
work, find another job." Apparently
there has been some antagonism bet-
ween the union and government of-
ficials. "United Steel workers have
been telling workers this (Crisis Com-
mmittee) is a waste of time," claims
former Bullard aide George Smeltzer.
Union officials say they feel the
government could have done more to
try to prevent the lay-offs. "I was a lit-
tle perturbed that the government
didn't do anything ahead of time," says
Jim Hughes, district staff represen-
tative for United Steel Workers. "What
we need is some legislation which says
a company has no right to leave."
While proposed legislation wouldn't
eliminate plant closings, it would
require companies to consider their
employees when they make decisions to
move. Legislation currently before the
state would mandate that major com-
panies (those who hire at least 100
workers) notify employees of lay-offs
two years in advance. "They do plan
and they can give some notice," says
Sharp. "If you just know the damn
thing is going to happen, it helps enor-

The proposed legislation would also
require that employers notify the
community in advance of the potential
impact of the closing. It includes
provisions for employee severance pay
and requires that the company provide
leave time for workers to look for other
Similar legislation has been
proposed in Ohio, Massachusetts, New
York, Pennsylvania, and Oregon. At
the national level, bills with similar
provisions have been proposed in both
the House and the Senate. "Those bills
are more contro'versial politically,"
explains Cornell University professor
and plant-closings expert William
Whyte. "Nobody expects them to
But for the Sycor workers who live
day-by-day waiting to hear when they
will join the ranks of the unemployed,
talk of government help and plant
closing legislation doesn't mean much.
"They talked real good," said an em-
ployee, after attending a Crisis Com-
mittee meeting. "But I don't see what
they can do to help."

Owen Gleiberman Associate editor Elizabeth Slowik
Elisa Isaacson
Cover photo by Lisa Udelson

Supplement to The Michigan Daily.

Ann Arbor Michigan-Sunday, November 18. 1979

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