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February 11, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-02-11

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t amn a t
Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Union contract:

'Not much,

Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.



327 anfreedom

NO MATTER what the final decision to-
day is on the issue of College Course
327, the University must be left with the
conviction that such a situation will nev-
er occur again.I
After nearly two months of red tape,
The LSA executive committee has sent
the issue back to the curriculum and
course mart committees for final resolu-
tion. The executive committee called on
those committees to consider the situa-
tions of the 80 students who signed up
for the six sections which were deleted by
the course mart committee, ostensibly for
bureaucratic inadequacies.
LSA acting Dean Alfred Sussman, who
heads the executive committee has stress-
ed that the important thing is that "stu-
dents who are enrolled in the course and
who signed up in good faith are taken
care of."
Hopefully, the committee's decision will
be to reinstate credit for the six sections,
thereby "taking care of" the displaced 80
HOWEVER, MERELY reinstating the
sections is not nearly enough.
The final decision should not be made
only to appease the angered members of
College Course 327 and to avoid additional
bureaucratic hassles for the displaced stu-
When the course mart committee rul-
ed to deny credit to the six sections, it
posed a serious threat to academic free-
The concept of academic freedom has
traditionally been used to defend t h e
right of professors to teach in the fields
of their expertise in the manner, and
with the perspective, they deem appro-
However, the concept of academic free-
dom should go further than that. Under-
lying this concept is the desire that the
University be a center for the tree and
full interchange of ideas. If the University
is to be this, academic freedom should not
apply merely to the right of experts to
hold forth as they wish, but also to the
right of' students to study subjects in

which they have strong interests, but in
which the experts have not been inclin-
ed to offer instruction.
The right of students to receive credit
for courses which they have formulated
outside the boundaries of the traditional
academic departments, is the foundation
on which Course Mart was created, and it
is this right which has been threatened by
the denial of credit to these sections.
In this context, the deleted sections
certainly deserve to receive credit. Stu-
dents are obviously interested in studying
the material involved. It should also be
clear that a mistake was originally made
in deleting the six sections that should
never be repeated.
THE COMMITTEES plan to make their
decision in a meeting closed to all
but organizers and teachers of the course.
The closed meeting appears to be a de-
vice to permit this decision to be made
quietly, to cut the strings in the ball of
yarn that has become too tangled to deal
Instead, the committees should make
the decision publicly, and take a strong
public stand that part of the respon-
sibility of the curriculum committee is to
insure that the literary college's course
offerings respond to expressed student
needs. There is a clearly expressed-student
need for these sections.
Whether the sections were originally
deleted because of the bureaucratic rea-
sons given by the committees or because
of their controversial political nature is
irrelevant. If the committees are to ad-
here to the principles of an academic
community there can be no excuse for
such action.
AND IF STUDENTS are to have a voice
in their educations at this Univer-
sity, then the two committees must decide
today to reinstate credit for the six sec-
tions, and decide it in a way that reiter-
ates the right of students to receive credit
for courses created by students to fill
otherwise unmet academic needs.

AFTER FOUR MONTHS of negotiations
and a two-day strike, the dispute be-
tween the University and Local 1583 of the
American Federation of State, County, and
Municipal Employes (AFSCME) was re-
solved Saturday when the union voted to
ratify a new contract.
But the close vote, 555 in favor of ratifica-
tion and 504 opposed, points out that many
of the workers were dissatisfied with the
contract they were offered.
Having been told that their negotiating
team was presenting a wage package with
an increase of $1 an hour in the first year,
plus extensive benefits, many workers
began to set their sights on receiving a pack-
age similar to this. Subsequently, they were
disappointed when they discovered what the
new contract was actually offering in these
But it is unclear whether the AFSCME
workers could have held out long enough
to gain a better contract.
Despite the union's ability to draw the
vast majority of service employes out on
strike, there were serious questions as to
how long the workers could stay out. With
an average hourly wage of $2.69, and no
strike fund, AFSCME employes would have
been extremely hard-pressed had the strike
dragged on for any considerable length of
Union enthusiasm was also questionable,
as only a few hundred of the union's mem-
bers came to the meetings to vote to strike,
or later to vote to continue the strike until
ratification of a contract. Though few if any
union members scabbed, only about 300
of the 2,600-member union actually walked
picket lines or were active in promoting the
strike effort.
PROBABLY THE greatest turn-about by
the union negotiators was their acceptance
of a three-year contract. The union had de-
manded a two-year agreement and had got-
ten the University to agree to at least a 27-
month contract.
The shorter contract was generally con-
sidered desirable from the union's point of
view because it would mean that a review
of the union's wages and benefits would
come up sooner. But the union negotiators
apparently decided that the larger wage in-
crease in the third year plus the addition of
a cost-of-living clause for that year made a
three-year contract worthwhile.
But was the wage increase really that sub-
stantial? Workers in pay grade one, for in-
stance, will only receive increases of 20
cents the first year, 10 cents the second
year, and 15 cents the third year over their
current wage of $2.20-$2.40 an hour.

The wage increases range from 45 cents:
an hour over three years to $1.15 an hour
increase for those in higher pay grades over
the life of the contract. Overall, this repre-
sents an average 26 per cent increase over
three years-or a roughly eight per cent
annual increase.
About half the union was, however, re-
classified into higher job classifications, so
actually they would receive a higher per-
centage pay increase.
The eight per cent increase represents
what President Robben Fleming said was
the limit on what the University could af-
ford to give workers for the next two years.
Fleming claimed during the strike that
the union's total package at the time
amounted to a 40 per cent increase in the
funds the University would be paying.
THE EXTENT OF THE benefits the union
will receive, as it turns out, seems severely
restricted by what the University said was
its limit. Having received the eight per cent
annual increase in wages, the union did not
get much more in terms of benefits.
The cost-of-living clause, for instance, will
not go into effect until the third year of the
contract and will only be based on living
cost increases over a one-year period. Ap-
parently, the University administraticn felt
that by the third year of the contract, the
University budget may be significantly in-
creased, or inflation may be reduced.
Until that third year, the AFSCME worker
is still faced with the rising costs that have
plagued him for the past three years that
he has worked without a cost-of-living
The eight per cent annual wage increase
barely exceeds living cost increases since
the last contract three years ago.

The union's new health insurance plan
also represents a partial acceptance of the
University's offer. The union originally tried
to get Blue Cross-Blue Shield coverage fully
paid by the University.
When the union negotiators made its
counter wage proposal the night of the
union's walkout, they said they would ac-
cept a partial contribution by the Univer-
sity, if it would agree to pick up any rate
increases over the life of the contract.
Under the new contract, the University
will make a partial contribution towards
health insurance coverage, and will pick tip
any rate increases, but will never contribute
more than 75 per cent of the cost.
However, one concession the union won
was that their health insurance plans would
be equal to those of other University em-
ployes from now on. Yet this limited their
insurance in a sense, for the University
would thus not give them large health in-
surance contributions, knowing they would'
have to be extended to all University em-
WITH LIMITED U n i v e r s i t y funds
available, the negotiators also chose to
drop the union's demands for increased
longevity and retirement pay, and increas-
ed life insurance benefits.
The union also rescinded its demand
for a child-care center. While a creditable
proposal, the child-care proposal was nev-
er viably developed by the union and would
have required the exhaustion of some of
the money used for higher priority de-
Ironically; the union seemed to make
its most significant gains before it went
on strike, in terms of contract language,

1t a start'
than it gained in w.ages and benefits re-
solved after the strike.
The union was able to clear up some
parts of the contract which were disputed
in more than 1.200 grievances over the
past year.
Supervisors, under the new contract,
will be allowed to perform union work 20
per cent of the time. The University, un-
der the contract, will not be able to dis-
charge employes without first consulting
with union officials.
The union also won changes in the de-
finition of a "work schedule" so that em-
ployes who don't get two consecutive days
off a week or who must work more than
eight hours of a 24 hour period are paid
The union is also pleased that under
the new contract, stewards can no longer
be transferred to different districts. The
union has charged that the University
transferred its most militant stewards to
isolated areas of the campus.
YET THE NEW contract makes no signi-
ficant changes in the union's complicated
grievance procedure, which requires several
months of hearings before a variety of
University officials.
Throughout the negotiations, the un-
ion negotiating team placed a great deal
of emphasis on new contract language to
"guarantee the rights of the workers," as
one union official explained
But while the union won some changes
in the language of the new contract, it
postponed significant changes in econom-
ic aspects of the agreement.
Though the union came into negotia-
tions with an old contract put together
when AFSCME first organized on,campus
-one which proved highly unworkable and
provided comparatively low wages, t h e
negotiators appear to have felt it impossi-
ble to correct the inequities in one new con-
State mediator Richard Terepin said
he had told the union it was asking for too
much because "you can't expect to re-
write the entire contract at one time." And
the union negotiators seemed to arrive at
this conclusion as well.
One negotiator explained to a member,
"I know the wage increase isn't what we
had hoped for, but it's the most we could
get from the University at this time."
Another one said, "I realize it isn't much,
but at least its a start."
With much of their contract now re-
worked, the union will be back in three
years - to demand what they couldn't
get this time from the financially hard-.
pressed University.




Politics of imprisonment

The firing of Robert Hunter

THE FIRING of Robert Hunter, Ann Ar-
bor's Assistant Human Relations
Director, has enraged leaders of the local
black community. And their anger seems
justified, for the removal of Hunter con-
sti'tutes a slap to the entire black com-
What is even more despicable about
Hunter's dismissal, however, is the cloak
of secrecy with which the city has sur-
rounded the entire incident. Both the
city's leading officials have simply re-
fused to accept responsibility for the af-
City Administrator Guy C. Larcom Jr.
said, "the firing was made by Human
Relations Department h e a d (HRD),
James Slaughter, with my approval," but
Larcom refuses to explain why he ap-
proved the action. Mayor Robert Harris
says directly that he is not responsible
for the firing.
But the man with whom the city ad-
ministration has placed responsibility for
the firing has been little more enlight-
ening. In a statement issued last week
Slaughter said simply, "Mr. Hunter was
no longer performing the required duties
of his position in an efficient and re-
sponsible manner, therefore necessitating
this regrettable action. It is in the best
interests of the city and Mr. Hunter to
detail no further his release from city
Yesterday, Slaughter still insisted "it
is not the correct time" to make a more
complete explanation of Hunter's dis-
missal. He said this in spite of the fact
that HRD has already begun to look for
Hunter's successor. Thus, the city is ap-
parently lending a deaf ear to those who
have criticized the dismissal.
IN VIEW of the nature of questions
raised concerning the firing, however,
the city can ill afford to simply disregard
the whole affair. Hunter himself has
charged he was fired bacuse he caused
embarrassment to Mayor Harris and stood
in the way of Harris' political ambitions.
, , w ,-Ic' ,rn ', fiVTc V]I !mn c iiawh

People United, said that Hunter was fired
because he was dedicated to helping
black people. "The reason the city doesn't
like him is the same reason the blacks
do," she said.
State NAACP Chairman Albert Wheel-
er called -Hunter the only man in City
Hall who would effectively combat rac-
ism. Model Cities Policy Board Chairman
Ezra Rowry also called the firing "one of
the most racist and overt acts of discrim-
ination ever recalled in city hall.
able because he is a man who has
earned the respect of the black commun-
ity through hard work rather than rhe-
toric. And the inability of the HRD to
cope with such an employe casts serious
doubt upon its program as a whole.
The Human Rights Ordinance w h i c h
created HRD said "The department shall
encourage, receive, investigate, and eval-
uate complaints from any person of dis-
crimination which violates local law, and
make public procedures which a person
may use to complain of such discrim-
As can be seen now, however, HRD has
in fact, not even demonstrated its ability
to effectively deal with problems in its
own office. And if Slaughter's past record
is any indication, little improvement is
likely in the near future.
Since assuming the position of director
in November, Slaughter has not made
more than a token effort to bring the
city's largest employer, the University,
under HRD jurisdiction. He justifies this
inaction by saying that the University
employs "only" 16,000 of Ann Arbor's
Placing Hunter and Slaughter in the
same department would therefore be like-
ly to produce some friction. While Slaugh-
ter remains seemingly unconcerned about
some of HRD's weaknesses, Hunter seems
determined to help black people, and has
proved his worth by his rapport with the
black community.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The follow-
ing is the second of two parts of
an interview with Angela Davis,
reprinted by permission of Mu-
hammad Speaks. Questions asked
were those asked most often by
a sampling of Harlem residents
when asked by a Muhammed
Speaks reporter which questions
they would most like to ask
Most of the papers have said you
fled California because you were
guilty. Can you clear this up for us?
Let me ask you this question.
When a slave, who managed to es-
cape from the whips and wheels
of the white slave master, fled to
another state, was this evidence of
his guilt?
After Ronald Reagan and his
fascist cohorts launched the cam-
paign to fire me from my job at
UCLA-not because there were
any defects in my qualifications
but simply because I was Black, a
Communist and devoted to the
struggle for freedom of my people
-how could I fail to realize that
they were now determined to mur-
der me? After all they had al-
ready unleased a tremendous re-
actionary sentiment against me,
simply around the question of my
Hardly a day passed last year
when I didn't receive a death threat
in some form or another. As a re-
sult of Reagan's actions. I was
constantly harrassed by pigs pa-
trolling our community.
vinced that there was little likeli-
hood that I would get justice in
California. I might add that the
Los Angeles Tines conducted a
survey in the Black community in
Los Angeles and found that 80 per
cent of those questioned felt that
I was correct in going into hiding,
for to turn myself in would have
been tantamount to delivering my-
self into the hands of my self-ap-
pointed executioners-the self-ap-
pointed executioners of Black peo-
ple in general.
If you must stand trial in Cali-
f-ornia, do you think you can get a
fair trial?
The American judicial system is
bankrupt. In so far as Black peo-
ple are concerned, it has proven
itself to be one more arm of a
system carrying out the systematic
oppression of our people. We are
the victims, not the recipients of

we can expect to free all our broth-
ers and sisters held captive in
America's dungeons. This is the
only way we can expect to ulti-
mately gain total liberation.
How is your morale holding up?
With all the beautiful sisters
surrounding me and with all the
sisters and brothers struggling in
the streets, I cannot help but feel
just as determined to keep on
fighting as I was when I was cap-
tured. Each day I receive hun-
dreds'and hundreds of letters from
sympathizers all over the world.
The support I have been receiving
has almost left me incredulous.
that when I embarked upon a hun-
ger strike to protest my solitary
confinement here, many of the sis-
ters in a gesture of solidarity
joined in.
I have been in jail for two
months. Huey was incarcerated for
two years. Ericka Huggins, whom
I know personally and admire as
one of this country's great Black
women, has been incarcerated for
almost two years, as has Bobby
When I stop and try to re-in-
invent all that George Jackson
(the Soledad prisoner) has en-
dured over the last 11 years of his
life and has still emerged as a
powerful leader of his people, and
when I think that Jonathan Jack-
son and many others have sacri-
ficed their lives in our struggle, I
am infused with all of the strength
I need to carry on the fight.
Can you describe how you are
being treated in the women's
House of Detention?
This is a prison and the atroc-
ious conditions that characterize
virtually every American prison
are present in this place. Rather
than start with the specific treat-
ment I have b e e n receiving, I
would like to delineate the cir-
cumstances under which all of us
are compelled to exist.
First of all, the prison is filthy.
It is infested with roaches and
mice. Often we discover roaches
cooked into our food. Not too long
ago I was drinking a cup of coffee
and I was forced to spit out a
the walls of our cells at night,
crawling across our bodies while
we sleep. Every night we hear the
screams of inmates who wake up
to find mice scurring across their
bodies. I discovered one in bed

tion. This is indicative of the way
we are treated here.
We spend most of our time in
either 5x9 cells with filth and
concrete floors or outside on the
bare corridors. We are not even
allowed to place blankets on the
floor where we must sit to pro-
tect ourselves from the filth and
To talk a little about the li-
brary, they have a collection -of
adventure stories a nd romances
whichttheyshave designated the
library. It is important to realize
that although the prison popula-
tion is 95 per cent black and
Puerto Rican, I found only five or
six books about black people and
literature in Spanish is extremely
I COULD GO ON and on but
perhaps now I will turn to the
specific kinds of treatment I have
been receiving myself. I am con-

been done in the hope of breaking
me but I continue to give notice
to them that there is absolutely
nothing they can do to break my
determination to keep struggling.
THE ONLY WAY they can ac-
complish this is by taking my life
and then they would have to face
the wrath of the people. The same
holds true for Ericka. Bobby,
George, the Soledad Brothers. etc.
What is your relationship with
the other prisoners?
I have never encountered such
an overwhelmingly warm and cor-
dial welcome. Obviously the rea-
son why the prison authorities iso-
lated me was the enthusiastic wel-
come I received. Each time I go
from one area of the jail to an-
other, the sisters hold up their
clinched fists and convey expres-
sions of solidarity.
While I was in solitary confine-
ment, the sisters on the floor con-
ducted demonstrations in my be-
half. When I embarked upon a
hunger strike, many of them
AFTER I WAS transferred into
population, some of the sisters on
my corridor, with whom I had
spent a great deal of time, were
helping me answer letters from
the outside. They were all imme-
diately transferred to another
floor but we still find ways to com-
municate with one another.
I have already mentioned the
state of the so-called library. Af-
ter many requests and arguments,
I was told that if books were sent
directly from the publishing com-
pany I could receive them.
Now the authorities allow me to
bring up five of these books at a
time per week. The sisters are im-
mensely interested in the reading
material I receive - everything
from George Jackson's prison let-
ters to works by Lenin.
The books circulate all over the
floor and are the occasion f o r
many a discussion. Since the au-
thorities have indicated that they
are totally insensitive to the de-
sires of the inmates, I would hope
that brothers and sisters in the
streets take it upon themselves to
donate relevant literature to the
library here.
What were your feelings when
you learned that you were on the
FBI's 10 Most Wanted List?
I expected t h e Nixon-Reagan
clique to resort to any measure to
suppress their critics. They are

confused about the meaning of
this. Can you explain w h a t it
More and more black people are
being incarcerated not because
they committed a crime but be-
cause of their political beliefs and
the activities they undertake to
bring our people together to strug-
gle for freedom. Counterfeit charg-
es are invented, outright frame-
ups are increasingly becoming the
George Jackson was arrested 11
years ago at the age of 18 and
convicted of stealing $70 from a
gas station attendant. He was giv-
en an indeterminate sentence -
one year to life imprisonment.
Because he evolved into a revo-
lutionary and began to organize
his fellow captives, he was denied
parole year after year, and finally
last year w a s framed-up along
with two other brothers -- John
Clutchette and Fleeta Drumgo -
who had demonstrated a d e e p
concern for destiny of our people.
George Jackson, John Clutchet-
te, Meeta Drumgo a r e political
prisoners. Their real crimes lie in
being absolutely devoted to the
liberation of black people. Bobby
Seale is a political prisoner. Ericka
Huggins is a political prisoner.
Martin Sostre is a political pris-
I AM A POLITICAL prisoner.
The government intends to silence
me, to prohibit me from further
organizing my people, to prohibit
me from exposing this corrupt,
degenerate system byconvicting
me on the basis of a crime I hlad
nothing to do with.
Political prisoners are set up as
examples to the rest of the people.
George, John and Fleeta were set
up as examples to the rest of the
Soledad population - examples
vividly spelling out the fate of
any and every captive who fol-
lowed in their footsteps. The same
holds true for Ericka, Bobby, the
Soledad 7, Martin Sostre, the
Panther 21 and myself.
The government intends to ter-
rorize our people by railroading
us into the electric chair, g a s
chamber and long prison terms.
There is only one way political
prisoners can be liberated, mil-
lions of people must serve notice
to the government that they in-
tend to use every weapon at their
disposal to secure the freedom of
their, captive warriors, and even-
tually to secure the total libera-
tion of black people.


vinced that the authorities in this
place h a v e been instructed to
make life as difficult as possible
for me, probably in order to con-
vince me to stop fighting extra-
Of course after the courts over-
ruled them and they were com-
pelled to release me from solitary
confinement and 24-hour guard,
they had to seek other ways to as-
sert their dominance.
T alir te tprwoe wor


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