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February 10, 1978 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1978-02-10

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Page 4-Friday, February 10, 1978-The Michigan Daily
b4i au
Eighty-Eight Years of Editorial Freedom.
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Vol. LXXXVIII, No. 109 News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
The mayoral mess: Solved

Legalities threaten a union
By Sue Warner

A T LONG LAST the legal
hodgepodge generated by last
April's one-vote mayoral election has
come to an end. The agreement struck
Wednesday by Mayor Albert Wheeler
and Councilman Louis Belcher to hold a
"new" election seems, in the final
analysis, to be the best resolution to a
bizarre problem.
The attorneys had argued, and we
agreed, that the election should be
Salvaged, that the 21,000 people who
voted in the election deserved to have
their votes count.
But the complexion of the case
ganged when the State Supreme Court
raled that the township voters who had
been improperly registered - because
of faulty street guides used by the city's
election workers - did not have to
reveal their votes on the witness stand.
Without that knowledge there is no
way to properly decide whether
Belcher or Wheeler won the election.
Regardless of the absentee ballots and
the one voting machine that were also
the subjects of ajudication, there were
at least 23 votes improperly cast in the
election, and no constitutionally-sound
Method of finding out how those votes
Were cast.
Acting City Attorney R. Bruce
Iidlaw, who represented the City
Clerk's office in the lawsuit, argued
that the city should not have to incur the
$25,000 cost of a new election because
the election could be resolved from the
esults at hand.
oN0.gins fro:
N OMINOUS development has ap-
pearedon the horizon for the up-
oming state ballot.
State Representative Kirby Holmes
R-Utica), with the backing of the state
raternal Order of Police, wants to put
e issue of capital punishment before
Michigan voters in this November's
Holmes' wish requires that he
initially garner the signatures of at
least 265,000 registered voters for a
getition. With over 100,000 names
already in hand - and with the help of
,he statewide police group - his suc-
cess appears likely.
We are opposed to the death penalty
in any form for any reason. Deserving
1s much opposition is the idea of
placing such an issue on an election-
year ballot.
The appearance of the capital
punishment question on Michigan's
ballot would make the upcoming elec-
tion campaign into a circus.

The city attorney's reasoning was
First, it should be remembered that
the township residents voted im-
properly because the City Clerk had
failed to update Ann Arbor's election
street guide. It is only justice that the
city should bear responsibility for the
Secondly, as the American Civil
Liberties Union argued before the State
Supreme Court, the mayoral can-
didates' names will simply be added to
this April's City Council election ballot,
avoiding the expense of a separate elec-
tion. The cost factor should have had
little impact on the decision to correct
the mayoral mishap..
The unfortunate side of the "new"
election is that it is being held so long
after the original election of last year.
Although the upcoming re-vote has
been arranged in the spirit of a runoff
election, it will be complicated by the
fact that Albert Wheeler has been in the
mayor's chair since last April.
Unfortunate, too, is the fact that the
21,000 proper votes cast last April -
representing the honest efforts of 21,000
people to influence city policy - must
now be discounted entirely for the price
of a mere handful of improper votes.
The choice to put the mayor's race
up before city residents again certainly
does riot undo the historic mistakes
made by Ann Arbor officials last year,
it simply remedies them.


"All right, gentlemen, let's consider this one more time. "

m death vote
The death penalty issue is one of
several scare-hysteria types, against
which rational arguinent fails to make
headway. Argument over the question
is instead devoted to one emotional out-
burst after another.
Some 73 per cent-of the public backs
the idea of killing the perpetrators of
certain crimes, according to one poll.
The concerns and fears which form the
basis of public support for capital
punishment are understandable.
Placing the death penalty question
on the ballot will create pressure on
state candidates for office to make it a
major campaign issue. Instead of
giving their attentiop to pressing state
problems such as PBB con-
tamination, urban decay, support for
education and a multitude of others,
candidates and voters alike will be oc-
cupied with the more volatile death
The overshadowing of these other
issues would indeed be unfortunate.

Last week, members of the
Graduate Employees
Organization (GEO) were forced
to choose what eventually boils
down to the lesser of two evils.
Backed into a difficult corner
by the Michigan Employment
Relations Commission (MERC),
GEO decided that it will face up
to an administration challenge to
its members' status as Univer-
sity employees.
That decision will undoubtedly
determine the union's strategy
for at least the rest of this school
year as the Graduate Student
Assistants (GSAs) align forces
for the next stage of their already
year-old legal battle for
recognition by the University.
The latest chapter in the GEO
saga was prompted in late
January when MERC stated it
could not rule on a University ap-
peal of a lower MERC judges
decision unless evidence was
heard on the now-classic
"student-worker question."
THE APPEAL was made on an
August ruling by MERC Ad-
ministrative Law Judge Shlomo
Sperka which found the Univer-
sity guilty of an unfair labor
practice (ULP) for refusing to
sign a contract with GEO in
November 1976. The ad-
ministration refused to sign the
agreed-upon pact pending
resolution of two unsettled
grievances left over from the
previous contract.
MERC procedure calls for an
.administrative law judge to hear
cases and pass a recommen-
dation on to the commission as a.
whole which makes a final ruling.
If either side in the dispute objec-
ts to the recommendation, it can
appeal to the entire commission
as the University did last Sep-
tember. If there are no objec-
tions, MERC usually accepts the
law judge's recommendation as
its decision.
In hearings before Sperka last
year, University lawyers attem-
pted to enter evidence that GSAs
are students and therefore not en-
titled to bargain collectively.
SPERKA, however, would not
allow evidence on the student-
worker question, claiming it had

protecting its
through the leg
st ate.

own interests -
l processes of this

been settled by a 1973 Michigan
Supreme Court decision. In that
ruling, interns and residents at
University Hospital were found to
be both students and employees
- entitled to contract bargaining
under the Michigan Public Em-
ployment Relations Act.
The full commission ruling on
the University's appeal of the
Sperka recommendation said it
could not rule on the appeal
without hearing testimony on the
question of whether GSAs are
students or employees. Con-
sequently, the commission or-
dered the case back to Sperka
and explicitly ordered him to
allow evidence on the student-
worker issue. The MERC order
did state that either side could ob-
ject to the commission order.
Obviously, the University had
no intention of objecting, but
GEO was forced to make a
serious decision - whether to
take the case to the Michigan
State Court of Appeals and hope
the interns and residents decision
would hold for GEO, or amass
evidence of its own and fight the
University's challenge directly.
DESPITE a GEO Stewards
Committee recommendation that
the union take the case to the ap-
peals court, the membership
voted to comply with the MERC
order. Thus, in the near future,
GEO will begin gathering wit-
nesses to testify on the em-
ployment status of GSAs in what
is bound to be a lengthy trial.
By taking this route, GEO is
just about forsaking any claim to
employee status based on the in-
terns and residents case.
However, it is doubtful that the

chances of a GEO victory at the
appeals court level were as cer-
tain as the original Stewards
Committee recommendation
suggested. Basically, GEO would
have been placing confidence in
the fact that the appeals judges
would not find any major dif-
ferences in the employment con-
ditions of GSAs and those of the
interns and residents. But, dif-
ferences do exist in both the em-
ployment and student status of
the two groups and one would be
safe in assuming the University
would point these out.
IN TAKING the case to Sperka,
GEO is also in danger of losing its
claim to legitimacy as em-
ployees. The University will un-
doubtedly lodge convincing
arguments to the fact that GEO
members are not employees. One
of the administrations major
points will probably be a
precedent established by the
National Labor Relations Board
(NLRB) in denying Stanford
University GSAs the right to
organize. As well, the ad-
ministration will likely claim that
GSAs are given their "jobs" as a
form of financial aid and that
they are not evaluated on their
performance as teachers, but on
the grades they earn in their
graduate school classes.
Despite these arguments, it is
quite obvious that TAs are, in
fact, performing services for the
University and are receiving
payment for these services. It
seems unlikely that if a GSA
totally ignored his undergraduate
and research responsibilities that
his department head would not
call this to the administration's

There is no absolute right or wrong
in the case. Neither side can be
blamed for doing what is natural -

attention. And, it is even more
unlikely - unless undergraduate
education is worse off here than
calculated - that the University
would not terminate the GSA's
financial aid."
OF COURSE, there is no ab-
solute right or wrong in the case.
Neither side can be blamed"for
doing what is natural - protec-
ting its own interests - through
the legal processes of this state.
As far as the legality of the
whole question: in a broad sense
it is probably best for everybody
involved if all the evidence, in-
cluding the student-worker
question is heard and MERC of-
fers another verdict on'the ULP
charge. Regardless of what
MERC decides, one can almost
rest assured whichever side loses
at MERC-will then take the case
to the Court of Appeals - just as
the interns and residents case
progressed over the course of
almost four years until it finally
reached the Supreme Court.
THE QUESTION which can't
be ignored in any assessment of
the current legal battle is
whether GEO will be able to
maintain the membership sup-
port needed to justify its union
during the complicated legal
maneuvering. Many onlookers
have suggested that contacting
GSAs to testify in Sperka's
hearing will serve as an effective
organizing tool - and they are
probably right. But in the long
run, it will remain to be seen
whether GEO can withstand the
internal erosion which may result
as the court fight mounts.
The administration will un-
doubtedly survive.
GEOahowever, if it is to remain
viable, must retain an
organization of GSAs who are not
simply committed to isecuring a
decent living for themselves.
They must also be committed to
the eventual establishment of a
good, healthy union-management
relationship - one which would
add to, not detract from, un-
dergraduate and graduate
education at the University.
Sue Warner is Labor repor-
ter for the Daily.


t ,
./ , '
, .r.

A candidate clarifies


To The Daily:
Thanks very much for the ex-
cellent coverage you are giving
the various races for City Coun-
cil, including ours in the Fifth
Ward. It's gratifying to see that
at least one local news outlet is
trying to raise the level of public
information before the election,
rather tlan complaining about
the low voter turnout the day af-
ter the ballots are counted.
One correction I would make in
your Fifth Ward article on
February 4. Pinelake Village
Cooperative, of which I am
president, is not public housing.
Rather, it is a private develop-
ment which, as the name implies,
is owned by its resident mem-
bers. Many of our members
receive subsidies from the
government which make the
monthly charges more bearable
in the ever-inflating Ann Arbor
housing market, and preserve the
mixed-income character of the

ment is much less likely to
develop the "slum" charac-
teristics of Ann Arbor's public
housing projects.
Many people experience this
confusion between public housing
and government-subsidized
housing, but it is apparent to
most of us actively involved in
housing developments that the
latter is by far the preferable way
to reach the needs of low-income
people for decent housing while
preserving the desirable charac-
teristics of mixed neighborhoods
and greater resident control over
their living environments.
-Joel Goldberg
Democrat for Council
Fifth Ward
dorms and drugs
To The Daily:
As a Resident Fellow in East
Quad, I was shocked to see that
Eric Arnson, Bursley Resident
Advisor, has been fired for
helnina one student sell another

we smoked pot, we
probably do it in our room
from people on our hall
folks on the hall wante
high, fine, as long as
behind closed doors.
From the start, this
like an absurd policy, es
in $5 dope fine Ann Arboi
not observed it, nor h
people who live around
have many of the RF's
with. When I think how c
come to committing E
nson's "crime," it's sck
scary to me directly, bi
that Housing would throe
RA apparently liked
residents for doing so
that is most circles is cot
Are RF's and RA's sup
be on a pedestal ab
students they work w
should they act as frie
residents will feel com
seeing when problems
think the answer is4

his stand
should students on his hall to have the
ns, away co-ed bathroom they had all
1, and if voted for. I don't think Housing
d to get has any right to tell students how
it was to live, especially at the exhor-
bitant rates they charge. I would
seemed think this should extend to RF's
specially and RA's, who for free room and
r. I have board put in many hours a week
ave the helping students deal with the U.
me, nor That Eric Arnson has lost his
I work job just for being like everyone
lose I've else seems criminal to me. I hope
Eric Ar- he's successful with his lawyer
ary. Not getting his job back - that is - if
ut scary he still wants it after all this.
w out an I believe you have a policy of
by his printing only signed letters. I
mething hope you will see why I feel I can-
mpletely not do that in his case.
- A Concerned Resident Fellow
?posed to,*
ove the
with, or doing the job
nds who
ifortable To The Daily
arise? I In loco parentis and 60's
obius. Idrugophobia have returned6to
obvious. - L -- -_ "...

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