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July 11, 1978 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1978-07-11

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Page 4-Tuesday, July 11, 1978-The Michigan Daily
9michigan DAILY
Eighty-eight Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, M. 48109
Vol. LXXXVII, No. 40-S News Phone: 764-0552
Tuesday, July 11, 1978
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan
U.S. must act on
Soviet' s injustice
F OR OVER A year now, the Soviet govern-
ment has stepped up its harrassment of
dissidents and "anti-Soviet agitators." Not only
have they sentenced the influential dissidents
Yuri Orlov and Vladimir Slepak to Siberian labor
camps, the Russians have arrested numerous
lesser known activists and ordered the firing of
any citizen who applys for an emigration visa.
Yesterday, the Soviets began court
proceedings against two of their most famous
countrymen, Anatoly Shcharansky and Aleksan-
dr Ginzburg. Shcharansky is charged with
treason - an accusation which Jimmy Carter
has reportedly denied - while Ginzburg is
charged with plain "anti-Soviet agitation." Sh-
charansky could receive the maximum penalty,
death; Ginzburgmay spend 10 years in a labor
camp.
Like any sovereign nation, the Soviet gover-
nment doesn't embrace what it considers to be
foreign intervention into its internal affairs. But
the Soviet purges of the last year, reminiscent of
Stalin's reign of terror in the 1930's, is an issue of
international concern and represent such
flagrant violatons of human rights that it cannot
be tolerated in any country by U.S.
policymakers.
Ever since the new Soviet campaign against
dissidents began, Carter has remained firm by
continuing to criticize the Kremlin. He sent a
personal letter of encouragement to noted
physicist and dissident Andrei Sakharov. Arthur
Goldberg, the U.S. delegate to the Belgrade Con-
ference sharply chided the Soviets for their
harrassment of dissidents.
But the human rights issue has been shoved in-
to the corner. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance
has announced plans to meet this week with
Soviet Foreign Minister Anrei Gromyko and the
human rights issue is not likely to be a main topic
of discussion.
The U.S. should certainly pursue a strategic
arms agreement with the Soviets as soon as
and as earnestly, as possible. This objective
should take precedence over any American
foreign policy goal. But the U.S. must begin to
back its strong statements on human rights with
some actions. The U.S. should try to exert some
pressure on the Soviets to relax their tight grip
on activists. Vance ought to make it clear to the
Soviets that the United States will not sit idly by
while more innocent persons are sent to Siberia.
More important; Carter and U.S. officials
should end any cultural cooperation between the
two countries until the Soviets give their citizens
some fundamental human rights.
We applaud Carter's decision this week to can-
cel a trip to Russia by American scientific ad-
visers.-This is a big step symbolizing protes
over the Soviet's recent actions. Carter must
continue to tell the Soviets that if they want

Labor bill modest

By Harrison Williams, Jr.
Over the past few months,
thousands of preprinted postcar-
ds have flooded my Washington
office urging me to vote against
the "Compulsory unionism" of
American workers.
Yet there is no measure pen-
ding before Congress that would
force anyone in this country to
join a union.
WHAT THE Senate is con-
sidering is a simple and
straightforward revision of our
national labor laws. The modest
reforms I support would protect
the right of any worker to decide
whether or not he or she wished to
be represented by a union in
negotiations with employers.
Yet a massive push-button
postcard campaign is being
waged to assert this this bill is in-
flationary, that it would destroy
small business and that it would
lead to "antomatic unionism" of
many non-union businesses. None
of these claims is true.
Instead the bill would correct a
troubling development in
national labor-management
relations. Thousands of em-
ployers have found they can deny
freedom of choice to workers by
using procedures in existing law
to thwart a union campaign. In
many cases, employers can ever
profit by breaking the law and
dragging out court cases for
years.
VIOLATIONS of labor law, in
fact, are mushrooming. The
number of complaints against
employers, for example, has in-
creased 104 per cent in 10 years.
Because of administrative delays
and outright defiance of law,
many Americans are wonderirg
whether the law has any real
meaning. The purpose of the
Labor Law Reform Act now
before Congress is to enhancewthe
delicate balance between
workers and employers in labor
laW. It is designed to restore the
confidence of all Americans in
the fairness and purpose of that

law.
The legislation goes to the
heart of the Wagner Act passed
by Congress in 1935 and says that
the promise of collective
bargaining between workers and
employers shall be realized ef-
ficiently and without un-
necessary- delay. As President
Carter said recently, "Justice
should not be forced to obey the
timetables of those who seek to
avoid it."
The Labor Law Reform Act
says that someone who breaks

with enough backpay to cover
some of the financial damage in-
flicted by a sudden loss of job.
Another provision of the labor
reofrm bill would prevent the
government from awarding
federal contracts to firms that
persistently break the law,
although an employer would
again be eligible for government
business once he or she corrected
the pattern of abuse.
The bill also would place a
union on a more equal footing
with an employer in stating the
case for representation if and
only if the employer makes his
workers a captive audience to an
anti-union speech onm campany
time. And finally, the bill would
follow recommendations from
the American Bar Association
and the late Sen. Robert Taft Sr.
to expand the size of the National
Labor Relations Board from five
to seven. This will permit the
NLRB to handle the 900 per cent
increase in unfair labor practice
cases that the board has con-
sidered on the last three decades.
The truth is that 78 per cent of
the small business establishmen-
ts in this country are not affected
by national labor relations law
and they will not be when the
labor law reform bill is passed.
And no one can predict with ac-
curacy what the effects of this bill
will be on inflation. First,
because no one can say with cer-
tainty what a worker will do in
the privacy of the voting booth
during a union election campaign
and, second, because no one has
the kind of crystal ball that will
outline the terms of a negotiated
contract. But absolutely nothing
in the measure mandates
representation by a union or dic-
tates the terms of contracts
hammered out by employers and
employees.
Harrison Williams Jr., who
wrote this for the Pacific News
Service, was elected to his 4th
term in the U. S. Senate from
New Jersey in 1976 with the
strong support of organized
labor.

Williams
the law - both union and em-
ployer - should suffer the con-
sequences. If workers tell their
employer they want him to sit
down and bargain, they should
not have to wait years to get him
to do it. If a worker is fired for
activity on behalf of a union, the
worker should not have to wait a
year, or sometimes even five or
10 years, to get a job back.
Workers harrassed by anti-union
employers should also be com-
pensated for losses suffered.
UNDER THE Senate bill,
timetables would be set for union
elections. This would ensure that
workers will not have to wait
month after month for an answer
to the question of union represen-
tation. The bill also says that a
worker who is illegally fired for
his or her interest in a union must
be reinstated by the employer

Editorials which appear without a by-line represent a con- J
sensus opinion of the Daily's editorial board. All other editorials, 'r
as well as cartoons, are the opinions of the individuals who sub-
mit them.
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