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April 16, 1977 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-04-16

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LI' vsunions: Which side are youon?

1

By DEBI GOODMAN
fURING THE RECENT AFSCME STRIKE information trav-
eled around the University in the form of fuzzy images.
Union leaders and management negotiators scuffled at the bar-
gaining table while picketers scuffled in the streets with Ann
Arbor police officers. Or, according to some statements, union
leaders and University administrators are great pals, while
the rank and file of the union was being mislead by a few
radical crazies. The Daily published a portrait of University
negotiator William Neff claiming that the University wasn't
out to bust any unions; (though the union was never given
enough coverage to even make that claim).
At the end of it all, the general cry was for the two sides
to kiss and make up. Why was the union so bitter at a few
disciplinary firings? Why was the University so bitter at a few
broken windshields, for that matter? Why couldn't manage-
ment and union workers join hands and live peacefully until
the next contract period?
In order to understand the matter more fully, it is neces-
sary to examine not just the issues of this strike, but a gen-
eral history of university, union relations.
IN JUNE OF 1965, the Michigan Public Employment Rela-
tions Act was amended by Public Act 379. This act made col-
lective bargaining among public employes possible, and fur-
ther stated that employers must bargain with the duly filed
and elected bargaining agent of it's employes.
While unions were forming at other schools our administra-
tion refused to recognize Act 379, claiming it interfered with
their status of autonomy from the state. The State Labor
Mediation Board (SLMB) met in October of 1965 to hear peti-
tions filed by three potential labor representatives, and the
administration did not attend that hearing. In a letter written
on behalf of the regents, Financial Vice-President Pierpont
claimed the "act does not apply to the University of Michi-
gan and the Labor Mediation Board has no jurisdiction to
require the University to comply with it's provisions."
In response to the Regents' statement, several state legis-
lators asked Attorney General Frank Kelley for a written
advisory opinion on the issue. In November of 1965 Kelley
issued his statement. It was his opinion that non-academic
employes of the University may be represented by collective
bargaining, as stated in Act 379.
AS WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY and Michigan State
University recognized bargaining agents for their employes,
the University of Michigan took its case to the circuit courts
for a ruling. By September of 1977, nine of the states 11 col-
leges had officially recognized employes unions as collective
bargaining agents. One other college was temporarily recog-
nizing a bargaining agent, pending court decision. The Univer-
sity of Michigan was the only state school refusing to nego-
tiate with any bargaining agents.
On September 7, 1967 200 University employes walked
off their jobs. They were protesting the universities Unfair
Labor Practices, or stalling and refusing to allow unionization
of employes. The employes also charged that the University
gave slight concessions to its employes in an effort to dissuade
unionization.
One plant manager said of the walkout, "A few employes,
about one per cent, have been so badly informed on an issue
important to us all that they have engaged in an illegal work
stoppage." But during the week long strike union membership
rose sharply, and more and more workers walked off their
jobs every day.
DURING THE WALKOUT, the administration used tactics
that may sound familiar. The administration refused to meet
seriously with any union representatives. Students were asked
to fill-in, or increase work hours. Workers were threatened

and pressured to return to their jobs. Supervisors driving
University trucks plowed through union picket lines, and there
was an attempt to use injunctions to stop the picket lines.
The administration played up some disputes over union juris-
dictions saying, "Who do we bargain with." And, for a long
time the University refused to discuss reprisals until the
workers returned to their jobs.
Finally the walkout was settled and the administration
agreed to recognize the unions pending court decision. On
September 23, 1967, the Circuit Court ruled on PA 379, say-
ing it did apply to state universities. The SLMB defined three
bargaining units, setting into swing procedures for union elec-
tions. The University appealed the Circuit Court decision,
but the decision stood. In April of 1968, almost three years,
after PA 379 was passed, AFSCME was elected by univer-
sity employes, as the largest of the three employes' unions.
THE STAGE WAS SET FOR collective bargaining for
University employes, but the University continued to thwart
workers bargaining rights in any way available. In the spring
of 1968 the University withdrew meeting privileges, and other
small support from a staff association of library employes,
after the group set up some grievance committees. The super-
visor claimed fear of being accused of running a company
shop, but the employes claimed he was fearful of the asso-
ciations' growing strength.
The University administration waged a three-year battle
against the House Officers Association of hospital interns and
residents, for attempting to unionize, claiming these workers
were students, and not employes. The state Supreme Court
finally ruled that collective bargaining was proper for these
employes, after a legal battle that cost the union $30.000 and
must have cost the University a comparable amount.
In 1974, the Graduate Employes Organizations efforts to
be certified as: a collective bargaining agent were thwarted
and denied until the union threatened to strike. Five hours be-
fore the strike vote, the administration consented to an im-
mediate union certification election.
THE. UNIVERSITY NURSES ASSOCIATION certification
was unnecessarily delayed one-and-a-half years because of
administrations' failure to cooperate with their procedures.
It took the nurses 13 months to negotiate a first contract.
Since that time, nurses are repeatedly forced into costly arbi-
tration to handle grievances that are covered in their con-
tract. The University's denial of these grievances have been
consistantly over-ruled, suggesting that this action is direct
harrassment- of union employes in an effort to deplete their
strength and monetary resources. It is also an indication of
the lack of respect University officials show for contracts duly
negotiated and signed by both parties.
The University has updated classification of certain AFSCME
members three times, infringing on the building trades unit
in spite of unit definition fixed by MERC. The University re-
fuses to negotiate a jurisdictional line between trades, pitting
union against union.
In November of last year, with all contract issues but one
agreed upon, the University demanded that GEO drop two
grievances from ;i previous contract period that were about
to go to arbitration. GEO refused, and the University re-
fused to sign the contract. GEO filed a unfair labor prac-
tice (ULP) charging failure to bargain in good faith and sign
a completed contract. Rather than accept the outcome of
the court case, the University has filed their own suit ques-
tioning GEO's legitimate existence. They claim that Graduate
Assistants are students and not employes.
UNIVERSITY OFFICIALS have said to GEO that, while

they have their doubts of the validity of their case, this may
be their only opportunity to file suit!
Recently the Nurses Association filed a ULP charging the
University with attempting to intimidate a witness at an
arbitration hearing. During this school year, the University
was found guilty of two ULPs against the AFSCME union.
One case involved denying AFSCME members the right to
union representation at disciplinary hearings. The second
involved the University's attempt to suppress evidence dur-
ing the first hearing. They threatened to fire Joel Block in
attempt to make him give up certain evidence and reveal
it's source.
Most of us are familiar with the conditions surrounding
the recent strike. The administration made one offer and
refused to move from it. The administration hired large num-
bers of students and others to scab against strikers. Union
picketers and student sympathizers were assaulted by Ann
Arbor police, called in by the administration to bust picket
lines. Supervisors were driving through picket lines in cars
and trucks, and Neff actually struck a picket captain while
driving a laundry truck. What was Neff doing in a laundry
truck?
THE UNIVERSITY USED OTHER, more subtle strike
breaking tactics. They organized on the job meetings to con-
vince workers to sign the proposed contract. Some union mem-
bers walked out on this insulting, and illegal attempt to in-
fluence their decision. After the union rejected the negotiated
contract, the University promoted widely in whispers to media
that there was a split straight down the center of the union.
When a group of students asked Fleming to go back to the
bargaining table he said, who are we negotiating with?
Following the strike 28 workers were quickly suspended
in what some AFSCME members called the Monday morning
massacre. Screaming about broken windshields and slashed
tires, the University convinced many that they were justified
in these actions. At this point 20 suspended workers have been
reinstated without pay, and 11 workers remain suspended, in-
cluding Joel Block, president of the AFSCME union. Five stu-
dents have also been fired for refusing to violate union picket
lines.
In fact, the University has offered no substantiation of
actual information against any worker for a serious legal in-
fraction. No workers have received legal hearings, or been
convicted of any offense. The administration has played ac-
cuser, prosecution, judge and jury, in inflicted sentence upon
these workers. According to union sources, the workers selec-
ted for suspension were not law violators at all, but active
picket captains, and picket line organizers.
THE WORKERS ACTUAL INFRACTIONS, (including lit-
tering and shoving back at police after being poked and prod-
ded too much), are simply excuses for robbing this union
of its most militant members - in an effort to destroy the
AFSCME effectiveness.
According to the University, Joel Block's suspension in-
volves an alleged bomb threat, which the police list him as
a suspect for. The police have not admitted publicly to Block
being a suspect for anything. The University has listed two
different dates for the alleged bomb threat - and revealed
no evidence implicating anybody on the case.
If. the police have no such suspect list, then our ad-
ministration is lying. If the police are investigating Block
then it would appear our administration is in some private
collusion with police, as Block himself has no knowledge of
the investigation. What right does the University have to use
police as a source of picket breaking, and private informa-
tion?
The facts seem to be confused. Why wasn't the admin-

istration building evacuated at the time? Did the administra-
tion had some way of knowing whether the threat was real
or not? Maybe there was never any threat at all.
WORKER-UNIVERSITY RELATIONS around our quiet
academic institution has not been a simple dispute between
two parties, each having their own viewpoint. It has been
a union-management battle of the highest order. Traditionally
strike-busting involves some of the following elements. Man-
agement fights existence of the union in any way they can.
They take every chance to cast dispersion on union leaders,
or promote union splits - typically regarding the union mem-
bers as mislead dupes. They tend to propogandize union mem-
bers with the "goodness" of their company and their offers.
They use public law enforcement, and private police to
break picket lines. They hire scabs to bust the strike. They
attempt to influence the press to convince them of their hard-
ship, and their properness in everything they do. They use
injunctions and other means to fire workers or stop picketing.
Hiding behind the laws, and public status that protect them
against union strikes, our administrators are skilled managers
of the highest form. Their attitude might be compared with
the big auto companies, rather than a public institution. They
are cost conscious like a corporation, and unconcerned about
the human needs of workers. The University fights to pay low
wages, using all the forces at its command to bring them
about.
THE VIEW EXISTS AMONG ADMINISTRATORS that these
public employes are somewhat less than human. The AFSCME
employes are presented as innocent dupes of their leadership.
This statement is ridiculous and insulting. But in maybe a
direct reflection of our elitist stance as a "good" university
noting that most of the workers are poor, and many are black.
The University has amazing resources to do their anti-
union work. They have an extensive budget, an enormous staff
of managers, negotiators, and lawyers paid just for these inter-
actions. They take advantage of laws that make public em-
ploye strikes illegal, and limit picketing.
The union workers have little money separately or col-
lectively. They have little time to meet, organize, plan, or
defend themselves. Many of the workers can't afford to live
in Ann Arbor. Many have children at home with little extra
money for babysitters or day care.
Any action in their own behalf is extensively penalizing
to the union members. Strikes and suspensions cost them
money and time and anguish they can ill afford. Now many
of them have lost back pay, or are still out of jobs. Who's
hurting now? The University, for it's broken windows?
"WE'RE REALLY HURTING," Joel Block told me, "We're
out of money, and we're out of jobs."
Joel Block is being kept from meeting with AFSCME
employes while on their jobs. The University has refused to
recognize him as a union representative. Apparently, with no
fear of company shops this time, the U is selecting the
unions' leaders for them.
At this point members of most campus unions are get-
ting together against what they see as a general union-bust-
ing trend on campus. They are seeking to convince the state
legislature that it must investigate the anti-union activities
at the University of Michigan.
The unions on this campus need new laws protecting
workers. Not laws forcing arbitration, but laws that make strikes
legal. And an end to anti-picketing laws. The University em-
ployes have suffered greatly at the hands of our University
administration.
But, as one union member put it," unions can't stand toe-
to-toe with the University, but we had to try."

Eighty-Seven Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109

'Let

all

my

people go'

Saturday, April 16, 1977

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
Disclose faculty saarie

DOES THE PUBLIC have a right to
know how much professors at a
state-supported institution like the
University of Michigan are earning
at its expense?
Obviously the Regents don't think
so. Yesterday, they decided to post-
pone a vote on changing the present
policy of not disclosing this informa-
tion. They said they wanted to get
a more balanced viewpoint on the
issue, and felt the matter merited
more discussion. So, four faculty
members were invited to speak on
the topic at yesterday's meeting.
Some balanced viewpoint, three
speakers were opposed to disclosure,
and one favored it simply to avoid
controversy.
The reasons given by those opposed
to disclosure range from valid to pure-
ly ludicrous. The general feeling is
that disclosure would not be bene-
ficial to the University, would lead
to erroneous conclusions about the
relative abilities of professors, would
not be useful to the public, and would
create bad feelings among faculty
members. To these, Law School Dean
Theodore St. Antoine mentioned the
possibility that faculty member's

spouses would be affected by disclos-
ure. Presumably he was referring to
potential jealous outbursts at facul-
ty cocktail parties.
But the main reason that mention-
ed for not wishing to disclose, was
that the University could not ade-
quately explain the differences in sal-
aries from one professor to the next.
THE QUESTION IS, why not? It
is for this reason that we feel that
the public should be informed of pro-
fessorial and administration officials
salaries. It is the University's duty
to explain any and all goings on un-
der its auspices. This is a public in-
stitution, and the state provides it
with much of its working capital. We
as students further supplement these
salaries with our increasingly rising
tuition payments. By not disclosing
salaries, the Regents is telling us that
we don't have the right to know how
our money is being spent. And the
possibility that some professors may
have their feathers ruffled because
they find out they're making less
than some colleagues just is not an
important enough reason not to in-
form us.

By JOSHUA PECK
DURING THE JEWISH PASSOVER holiday, a
friend and I went to a ceremonial meal in
commemoration of the plight of Soviet Jewry
at a synagogue in Ann Arbor. The featured
guests of the evening were a couple from Kiev,
and a scientist from Moscow. All of them are
Jewish, and allrecent emigrants.
As the evening progressed, an interesting
dissonace arose between the claims of the Am-
ericans and the speeches of the Russians. The
persistent theme of the "Soviet Jewry Hagga-
dah," the handbook for the ceremony, was that
the Jews are the victims of terrible oppression
in the U.S.S.R., that they want the religious
freedom they lack, and that most Jews that
wish to emigrate are unable to do so. The
chorus "Let my people go," once a plea to the
Egyptian Pharoah, was incessantly recited.
THE SENTIMENTS expressed by the Russians
were rather markedly different. The scientist

Moscow tomorrow, they would close soon aft-
er." It seems that the vast majority of Rus-
sia's Jewish population is atheistic, and is
not interested in reviving freedom of worship.
Another common belief among American
Jews is that Soviet Jews are poor and ill-edu-
cated by governmen't decree. The fact is that
Jews are better off than the general populace
and among the best-educated of Russia's peo-
ples.
Finally, there is the question -of emigration
rights. In recent years, 95 per cent of the Jews
who have applied to emigrate have been per-
mitted to go. Far fewer than 50 per cent of
the non-Jews who apply are let out.
What are we fighting for?
Life under Brezhnev is harsh, certainly, but
no more so for Jews than anyone else. In
fact, less so. The organizations that defend
Soviet Jewry from oppression can be compared
to a committee to protect members of the
Rockefeller family from persecution for pos-
session of marijuana. The laws may be un-

just, but why protect the privileged and ig-
nore the masses?
The Soviet Jewry movement bothers me
mostly because it's attitude, "save our own
and forget everybody else," is out of tune with
the traditional support of American Jews for
all groups' rights. The B'nai B'rith Anti-Defa-
mation League sponsors television commercials
to combat all forms of prejudice, not just anti-
Semitism. Liberal Jews were among the most
vocal supporters of the black Civil Rights move-
ment in the 60's, and it was a Jewish lawyer,
Sam Leibowitz, that defended the "Scottsboro
Boys" in the 30's.
The exclusivity and elitism inherent in a
movement that ignores the oppression of the
many in the interests of the few is an easy
target for those who would kill Soviet criticism
altogether. Why give them the chance?
Joshua Peck is a veteran of four years of yeshiva
(Hebrew day school) and a sophomore in Russian
Language and Literature..

i

remarked, "If you opened

500 synagogues in

graduation
To The Daily:
Everywhere people want to
know all about me.
Oil companies know I'm grad-
uating and want me to apply for
a credit card so they can ask
me questions.
The University wants me to
rate anonymous emotional trau-
mas from one to ten.
The University is jealous.
"Have you accepted an offer
somewhere else?" she asks,
when I say no to her fellowship.
The government wants to
know if I've ever tried to mur-
der it.
A professor here once wrote
in my record "nice guy".
General Mills, having discov-
ered a statistical correlation be-

Letters
raising children on blue spa-
ghetti sauce."
General Mills has discovered
a statistical correlation between
people who have children and
mathematicians who joke about
General Mills.
All this information - gather-
ing means one thing.
Someone, somewhere, is try-
ing to build a computer model
of me.
I'm not boasting.
I'm flattered as hell.
Someone with a big computer
is trying to artificialize my in-
telligence.
How many boxtops can you
fit on the pinhead of an adver-
tiser?
If only they only had pin-
heads! The world would be
safer..

to

ties.
Two kinds of studies there
are:
Studies thatnmake way for
what we do, and studies that
show we must undo what we've
done.
This is the way of our infor-
mation.
Studies are our toys.
Studies are the Army's toys.
We are the Army's toys.
In an experimental mood, the
Army gives New Yorkers pneu-
monia via a broken bulb in the
subway to find a statistical cor-
relation between penumonia
and death.
Then reporters do studies and
find a statistical correlation be-
tween the Army and death.
Is this all a coincidence?
Who can I blame for this?

Till a DNA experiment es-
capes the lab.
Till the Army releases a new
brand of hepititis in Chile.
Why should I care about this?
Studies are being done.
The effect of cornflakes on
the human mind.
The effect of housewives who
polish things to make their hus-
bands love them on Brazilian
parakeets.
Studies, studies are being
done.
I just wish people I don't
know would stop asking me
questions.
I'm trying to love things I've
loved before, the sun in spring,
women who smile, and ignore
the war in mind and world.
-Bob Gethner
.v ,vrio

using the name of Christ, the
Christian faith and the Bible in
a perverted way so as to make
it seem that Christ Himself con-
demns gays, which,Hin fact,He
never did in all of His minis-
try. Indeed he accepts and loves
everyone and is Savior to all
people. He said, "If I be lifted
up I will draw all people to
myself."
In comparing gay people to
dogs, the writer shows that he
is hardly , a humanistic spirit,
let alone a loving and Christian
spirit; his beliefs are based on
ignorance, fear and hatred.
When Jesus did refer to a
group of people as a ''brood
of vipers", he wassspeaking to
the bigots of his day, who were
bitter atthimfor keeping com-
pany with what they considered
"sinners" and unreligious peo-

the Daily

Contact your reps
Sen. Donald Riegle (Dem.), 1205 Dirksen Bldg., Washing-
ton, D.C. 20510

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