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June 11, 1975 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1975-06-11

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The trouble with tomatoes

The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Wednesday, June 11, 1975
News Phone: 764-0552
Negative employment plan
ALTHOUGH THE UNIVERSITY calls'itself an equal op-
portunity employer, the extent of its commitment to
equal representation has come under fire in the recent
report of the University's Affirmative Action Office.
The University has set goals for affirmative action
in order to increase the number of women and minorities
in jobs traditionally held by white males. According to
the report, however, there was "little if any progress
made toward the achievement of numerical affirmative
action objectives." In many job areas the number of
minority group members actually decreased, and the
overall percentage of minorities employed fell to 14.3 per
cent.
Moreover, the stereotyping of women and minorities
in certain types of jobs has also continued. At present,
women make up 95 per cent of clerical work force. Min-
orities make up an inordinately large portion of the
maintenance task force, 35 per cent, while they arej
underrepresented in the instructional job group, only
6.2 per cent.
At the University's payroll window, while males still
receive the biggest checks, then minorities, and women
take home the least.
ULTIMATELY THE HIRING and payment of a given
individual must depend on the job and that individ-
ual's qualifications for it. This report, however, indicates
that the University is making no effort whatsoever to
work toward its affirmative action goals.
The University's failure to work toward affirmative
action goals is not only inexcusable. It is intolerable,
especially in light of the current recession which has left
extremely large numbers of minorities without any jobs
at all.
Since the University is supported by tuition and
public money, it is ultimately up to the students and the
citizens of Michigan to pressure the University to correct
these abuses in its hiring policy.

By ALLAN MILLER
H151AT TINY can of tomato
paste you used for tast
night's spaghetti probably came
to you with the aid of a machine
which moves through the fields
like a giant insect.
The new mechanical 'omato
harvester has helped revolution-
ize America's ehting habits -
making the once-lowly toimato
into one of the dominant foods
in the U.S. by improving the ef-
ficiency of production. Tomatoes
werescorned for table use until
late in the 19th Century,. ut
since then per capita cossump-
tion has skyrocketed. Between
1930 and 1974, the average con-
sumption of processed tomw-oes
- processors take some 90 per
cent of tomato production -- has
risen from ten to almost 60
pounds per person.
California has the lion's share
of tomato production. Its farm-
ers now grow 78 percent of the
nation's tomatoes with a cash
value of $332 million in 1974.
But farmers, agricultural
workers, and nerhaps even con-
sumers have paid the price for
this increased efficiency.
The machine has brought im-
mense social dislocation into
California agriculture. In fact,
the development of the tomato
harvester is a case study in the
social benefits and costs of me-
chanized agriculture.
Before the harvester, s m a II
tomato growers relied on Mexi-
can braceros-- aliens witch tem-
porary work permits - and oth-
er low paid field workers to pro-

vide the large amoun's of abor
required to cultivate and har-
vest the crop. But the U.S. gov-
ernment ended the hrscr- pro-
grain in 1964, and the c h e a p
'One grower claim-
ed,' the tomato grower
has led to increased
family stability among
farmworkers because
now mothers and child-
ren can work side by
side all day in the
field.'
farm labor pool dried up almost
overnight.
Growers, threatened b- t he
seasonal demands of a tradi-
tionally delicate crop - and by
the increasing militance of
American farm workers - mov-
ed quickly to purchase th.t new-
ly developed harvesting ma-
chines. But since the average
cost per machine was 54S,000,
only growers with substantial
capital coild afford them. Small
farmers increasingly f o u n d
they couldn't compee with the

harvesters and sold out to larg-
er growers.
Today's harvesters handle 3lI
acres per season - a major
factor in the tenfold increase in
the size of the average tomato
farm. The tomatoes they scoop
from the ground were devel :ped
in the laboratories at public ex-
pense. 'Their thick skins and
pear shapes make them much
easier to pick than the familiar
round, soft variety.
Another important s vial ef-
fect of this technological revolu-
tion has beens a massive shift in
the ratio of men and women
workers in the fields. During the
late fifties and early sixties, 50,-
000 male Mexican workers tilled
the fields in Calif'--iis. V.S.
field workers were predomin-
antly male. But the harvester
requires delicate, factory-t y p e
sorting operations - and field
workers are now 65 to 80 per-
cent female. Women are gen-
erally preferred as sorters an
the harvesting macnines b e -
cause of their presumed, upler-
ior manual skills.
Many children are also em-
ployed as sorters, One grower
told this reporter: ' The tomato
harvester has led to increased
family stability among farm-
workers because now mothers
(Continued on Page 10)
Alan Miller regularly
covers California aoribusi-
ness for PNS. He teaches in
the Colleoe of Resources at
the University of California
at Berkeley. Copyright Pa-
cific News Service, 1975.

Letters: Inteflex ousts 35

To The Daily:
YOUR HEADLINE of Tues-
day, June 3 stated "admissions
steady" at the University's
school of Medicine. Yet, your
article went on to deszribe a
situation where a decline of
roughly 15 per cent in admis-
sions at the Medical school has
taken place.
The University maintains that
they do not have the facilities to
preserve their present class
size, considering the addittiss uf
35 inteflex students to the Med-
ical School curriculum. T h e
University says that next year
they will have the proper faci-
lities, but how will this goal be
achieved in only one year when,
with three years of planning,
they have been unable to meet

their goal?
Inteflex was started by the
University three vears ago to
increase the number of physic-
ians and to process them in a
shorter period of time. Bir, all
the University tas actually done
is cut out 35 spaces from their
first year class and then put
the inteflex students into this
vacant slot. Thus, one of the ini-
tial goals of the inteflex p r o -
gram of providing additional
physicians has bee.a undercut.
And in essence pre-med stu-
dents who have graduated are
competing with stidents w h o
were already accepted into the
inteflex program three years
ago.
ALSO, IF this decline in pro-
jected enrollnent is no -big

deal" as the University main-
tains, thea why was tis reduc-
tion in class size denied only a
few monthe ago by the Meslical
school?
This reduction means that this
year, during a time when there
is an increasing demand for
physicians, it is even harder to
enter a school of medicine. Al-
ready the national acceptance
rate for students entering medi-
cal school is about iit 3, and
this rate is even lower in Mich-
igan.
I feel that the Daily should
try to maintain higher journal-
istic standards and not simply
reverberate the University's pla-
cating statements.
-Ira Fenton
June 9

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