Thursday, March 18, 1982
Fraser: Reagan can't wreck
Automotive labor unions increasingly
have felt the ill effects of the auto in-
dustry's current slump. And yet recent con-
tract negotiations between labor and
management have produced surprising
wage concessionsfrom the unions.
United Auto Workers president Douglas
Fraser recently took time from negotiations
with General Motors to attend a U.S.-
Japan Automotive Industry Conference at
the University. Opinion Page Editor An-
dr w Chapman conducted a telephone in-
terview with Fraser on the UA W's future
and its current relations with the Reagan
we have long sought and that's profit-sharing,
so we'll share in the fruits of prosperity.
Daily: What do you see as the future of the
Fraser: The economic report for the first ten
days in March are out today and it's
disastrous. The figures are down 31 percent,
just absolute disaster, and we can't get better
until the economy gets better and the interest
rates come down. It has to happen sometime.
I'm not as optimistic as most. But, I don't think
things are going to get better next month, or
even in May or June. But it will get better.
The whole tradition of an automobile is
changing. It's no longer a status symbol. It's
what it should have been all along, a means of
transportation. Despite all that there is going
to be growth down the road.
Daily: How do you explain the public's in-
creasingly negative attitude toward labor
Fraser: I think there's a couple reasons for
it. Like any other profession you get a couple of
crooks and thieves in the labor union-a
microscopic minority and yet the public judges
that all labor unions are like that. And maybe
more importantly, the American public thinks
labor is responsible for inflation. There's no
economist, left, right, or center that would
make that argument that the inflationary
spiral is a consequence of labor unions. But
that's what the public perception is. There's no
question about it.
Daily: Do you think that public perception
has been propagated by the current ad-
Daily: What implications does the introduc-
tion of high technology and robotics hold for
the auto industry and its labor unions?
Fraser: Our union has never resisted the in-
troduction of new technology because we know
that's the way you create wealth and increase
productivity. You get a larger piece of the
economic pie if you first bake a larger pie.
You have to introduce technology, however,
in these difficult times in a more civilized way.
I think we can do it. You have to introduce
robots out of economic necessity because the
Japanese have them and there's no way we can
compete with the Japanese without them.
Eventually you have to reach the goal in the
auto industry that with the introduction of
technology there's no layoffs at all-that the
only wayyou can detreact a work force is by at-
trition. Then when you introduce technology,
people don't get laid off, and you don't have the
fear of technology. The worker's security has
to be considered, but you can do both.
Daily: What do you think is the Reagan ad-
ministration's attitude toward labor?
Fraser: Well, the best example is the cruel,
harsh way they treated PATCO. They
destroyed that union-they were unnecessarily
cruel and harsh with 11,000 people. It was one of
the most brutal strikebreaking activities in the
history of the labor movement.
Daily: Did that action signify something
Fraser: Well, people sort of tend to overplay
the tactlessness of the move. I'm not worried
about Reagan wrecking the UAW. We're too
strong and we just wouldn't let him. We could
fight him off, but it's never good to have
president of the United States oppose you.
Daily: Do you think he does?
Fraser: The record speaks for itself. He's not
sympathetic; I'm not sure if he's even under
standing. His economic policies are absolutely
disastrous for poor people, for the educational
system, for the environment, for the safety
conditions of workers, for anything you talk
about. The policies have a negative effect on
the workers of this country.
Fraser speaks at Hill Auditorium.
Daily: Given the recent wage concessions
granted by the UAW to the auto manufac-
turers, what is the future of the UAW?
Fraser: Well in a large measure, of course, it
depends on what happens to the auto industry.
If the auto industry makes a recovery and
becomes prosperous, we'll be back at the
bargaining table trying to get our fair share.
One of the things that's come out of Ford and
will come out of General Motors, is some thing
Fraser: I think it happened before then.
Whenever there are inflationary times, I think
that labor gets a disproportionate share of the
blame. No question about it, there's a relation-
ship between wages and prices. But, when
you're talking about the inflationary spiral,
and what started it, it goes back to the
escalation of the war. The war built in inflation.
Of course in later years, you got the oil em-
bargo, and the radical increases in the price of
food with the sale of grain to the Soviet Union.
These were the dominant factors of this in-
Daily: Would you call the Reagan policies
Fraser: They're policies for the rich and by
the rich. I can't equate Reagan as an elitist in
some way. I see him on a horse. But the ad-
ministration lacks understanding and com-
passion and it's catching up with them. People
in their own party are finally realizing it now.
Daily: Would you say that policy is
Fraser: Of course it is. It's leading us on an
economic disaster course. And what will hap
pen is the legislative branch will say, "Look,
'you're destroying us" and they will take a
strong role. They are going to take over.
Daily: Are you going to succeed in your GM
Fraser: We just started today. I'm optimistic
because we have a pattern to follow.
Dialogue is a weekly feature of the
Opinion Page and will appear every Thur-
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCII, No. 131
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Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
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A show of unity
T WASN'T THE first show of unani-
mity in the Senate this session, but
it was, for once, a show of strength in
the cause of progress.
On Tuesday, all 45of the Democratic
members of the U.S. Senate sent
President Reagan a leter vowing to
fight his proposals for ther1983 budget
and calling for a complete overhaul of
the president's economic program.
"The budget," the letter assured the
president, "will never be balanced on
The letter was surprising for both its
seeming bluntness and for the fact that
all of the Democrats in the Senate sup-
ported it. After all, it wasn't too many
months ago that only 12 Democrats in the
chamber voted against Reagan's 1982
But, perhaps not unexpectedly, a
good deal of the divisiveness of past
months remains. Under the facade of
blunt language lingers equivocation.
The letter, for example, speaks only of
a desire to "scrutinize" the Pentagon
budget and to "eliminate waste;" it
makes no mention of curbing the mon-
strous defense expenditures.
Fearful of shattering whatever
fragile concensus the Democrats have
found, the letter seems to cater to a
common denominator. Its words seem
to belie a continuing inability to unite
in opposition to the president's
Depsite its faults, however, the letter
represents an important step. It shows
that Senate democrats are finally
coming to the realization that the
president's policies are bankrupt; it
shows a basic determination to renew
the fight against further cuts to the
nation's social programs. And it
shows, above all, a hope for an alter-
LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Why is CE W targeted for review?
To the Daily:
We were extremely baffled by
an article (Daily, March 2)
reporting that the Center for Con-
tinuing Education of Women has
been "targeted for a comprehen-w
sive review which may result in
severe budget cuts or the Cen-
ter's outright elimination." As
justification for such action, the
article reports that Vice-
President Frye has given the
review committee a document
alleging that "because many of
the problems of inequality
previously faced by women in our
society have been solved, the
need for such a center may have
There is ample evidence that
women continue to face problems
substantially different from those
of men in obtaining an education,
planning a career, managing
both employment and family.
and gaining access to oppor-
tunities for promotion and ad-
vancement. This is reflected by a
scarcity of women in high level
decision making roles in the
public and private sector, lower
earnings than men in comparable
jobs, and higher rates of unem-
ployment. At the University of
Michigan in particular, women
are underrepresented at the
professorial and higher ad-
The CEW is the one unit at the
Universitytthat has consistently
worked to make education
available for nontraditional
women students, to enhance and
diversify the educational oppor-
tunities for women and men;to
provide rolemodels,tand to
facilitate entry into non~-
We hope that the above cited
statements in the Daily article
were taken out of context and do
not reflect the spirit or intent of
the review committee's charge.
Otherwise the tone of the
statements strongly suggests a
prejudgment of the outcome of
the review process.
School of Public Health
Daily espouses fascism
Letters and columns represent the opinions of the in-
dividual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the at-
titudes or beliefs of the Daily.
To the Daily:
So the Daily editorial board has
decided to espouse fascism with
its editorial demanding that all
defense-sponsored research on
campus be stopped (Daily, Mar-'
ch 11). Mussolini and Hitler
(amongst others) both agreed
with your editorial that "ex-
traordinary times demand ex-
traordinary measures." The
results of their actions based
upon this political philosophy
convulsed Western Europe for a
I suppose that fascism and its
attendant horrors will be with us
as long as people's memories are
as short and their knowledge of
history is as brief as those of the
Daily's editorial board.
-T. M. Dunn
We can 't halt the
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Laughing at the activists
To the Daily:
The stance of the student ac-
tivist at this University is a
notably understandable one. It is
perfectly justifiable for concerned
students to demonstrate against
a perceived threat such as
nuclear power or a supposed im-
moral government such as that of
But it is important for them to
realize that theirs is not the only
cause. Personally, I am in favor
of the increased use of nuclear
Dower. My reason is simnle: I
African securities by the Univer-
sity administration in order to
prop up the market.
And concerning tenants' rights,
I must admit that, once again, I
disagree. The phrase "housing
for people, not for profit" is one
that I, as well as my mortgage
banker, find rather absurd.
Perhaps student activists will
be momentarily victorious in
their efforts at social change.
Perhaps not. I, for one, find it
rather hard to take their demon-
strations seriously, as I observe
To the Daily:
It is distressing to look around
our campus and see posters
calling upon us to- help prevent
the local Nazi adherents from
gathering and marching here in
The great crime of Hitler's
reign lay not only in the carrying
out of mass murder-history
provides him with too many
peers in that regard. Rather,
Hitler's infamy lay in the use of
extreme violence in order to
crush diversity by permitting all
citizens to exercise our basic civil
liberties, such as free speech and
freedom of assembly. Those who
oppose the right of the Nazis to
march here or anywhere in our
nation must bear in mind that the
most basic dilemma of civil liber-
ties is this: if liberties are to be
secured for all, they must
frequently be won on behalf of
those with whom we disagree.
The history of civil liberties
cases in our Supreme Court is one
of rights being won by Com-
munists, Jehovah's Witnesses,
early union organizers and others
whose views were thought ex-
treme in their time. If we keep
such civil rights for ourselves
while denying them to others,
then we cease to be true liberals
and become mere narrow-
minded leftists. After this, the
difference between us .and the
German Nazis is no longer
qualitative, but rather one of
-Murray Scot Tanner