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October 10, 1982 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-10-10

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OPINION

The Michigan Daily-,

page 4
Guidebook:

Sunday, October 10, 1982-

'U' race relations'the pits'

6

ce to get more University employees to affiliate
with the union.
If 30 percent of the staff members show sup-
port for the union, then AFSCME can hold a
campus-wide vote this year, in which the
secretaries and others might choose to
unionize.
Past staff unionization efforts have been
failures, but now-knowing that the ad-
ministration ranks them as second priority-
the employees just might be upset enough to
support a union.
Should that happen, the administration's
original plan to save a few bucks by skimping
on staff members will backfire as the
secretaries pick up a new bargaining position.
Then again, if the University has to pay
higher wages, the smaller but better strategy
will force more layoffs, and some employees
could find themselves worse off than when they
started.
GEO dilemma
IT SEEMS nothing's easy when it comes to
GEO.
Earlier this year, things seemed rosy after
the union had won its long legal battle with the
University over whether teaching assistants
and graduate student assistants are really em-
ployees of the University. That legal decision
forced the University to recognize the GEO as a
legitimate union, and negotiations between the
union and the University began to replace the 6-
year-old contract.
Things had proceeded beautifully.
Negotiations on the new contract were finished
in mid-summer and the GEO leadership, ex-
pecting no greaf problems in getting the mem-
bership to ratify the new pact, set a member-
ship vote for early September. '
But problems did develop. In recent weeks, a
number of TAs have criticized the salary scales

in the new contract as being too low. The new
contract would tie pay increases to faculty pay
hikes-not to the cost of living index. Some TAs
argue that, since graduate employees' pay did
not keep up with inflation for six years, the TAs
deserve largert increases than the faculty.
The vote on the proposed contract is now
scheduled to begin tomorrow. At a meeting
three weeks ago, teaching assistants voted to
recommend that the contracts be rejecte.
Nevertheless, the GEO members who were on
the negotiation team this summer, say that the
contract is the best that could be won from the
University and that rejection of the pact could
hurt the union. One member of the bargaining
team warned that, if the contract it rejected,
the University might declare an "impasse" in
negotiations and move to have the union decer-
tified.
Contagiously inane
A PARTICULARLY virulent strain of
foolishness hit campus this week, and doc-
tors at the University Hospital were baffled by
the outbreak.
The contagion may have been spread by the big
State game, top medical minds speculated, or
perhaps it was merely a congenital disease
passed down within the Greek system.
At first only the eyes were affected. The first
signs of the coming horror cropped up at E.
William where several students reported
seeing a giant Schlitz Super Can careening
down the street. Applications of Visine failed;
nurses at Health Service could only shake their
heads in amazement.
Then the sickness spread to the stomach. On
Friday, the 300-foot Wolverine submarine san-
dwich appeared at the side of the Union.
Students moaned and groaned while stuffing
down bits of the record-breaking monstrosity.
Some doctors gave up all hope of containing
the plague when Derby Days started. This

their shoulders and agree that the University,
despite its best efforts, has been unable to do
much to ease racial tentions. One official, in
charge of affirmative action programs, con-
ceded the book's unflattering description was
"a balanced view of what it's like here.''
Black students were, if anything, sur-rised
the book went so easy on the University. One
black graduate, calling the book's review an
"understatement," summed up the thoughts of
man~y black students: "You have a university
that strives to cater to a certain type of student,
traditional students, middle to upper class."
Said another black student: "I feel that's a
strong division (between black and white
students) and anyone who crosses over ap-
pears funny to both groups. This place is sup-
posed to be so liberal, but you can't really have
the friends you want to have."

Zapped with a raise
Kick, scream, raise
A LITTLE screaming and yelling paid off
this week for the University's non-faculty
employees when the administration promised
some $2 million in increased wages.
The secretaries, clerks, and others had been
left out of the administration's earlier $5
million plan to raise only professors' pay this
school year. But protest rallies, letters, and
phone calls by hundreds of employees convin-
ced University officials that they had better
find some money to appease an angry staff.
Perhaps the key element to this week's
decision was the threat of unionzation-a step
the administration fears. The. American
Federation of State, County, and Municipal
Employees (AFSCME) jumped at the latest
University affront to staff members as a chan-

,,
Giant sub: Conspicuous consumption
Greek charity fundraiser, experts said, meant
only one thing-the disease had reached the
brain. Symptoms of the mental malaise in-
cluded the Derby Hat Chase, where sorority
members went out of control, running down
fraternity menstealing their hats, and kissing
them feverishly. Or what about the Derby
Darling contest, where seemingly normal
women allowed their pictures to be pasted onto
buckets for a monetary beauty contest. The
disease seemed to wipe out all reason.
The most horrifying thing about the illness,
doctors report, is that many victims don't even
realize they're sick. As one Derby Darling said,
"I don't mind, because it's harmless."
It's almost too horrible to imagine.

il

The Week in Review was compiled by
Daily staff writers Julie Hinds, David
Meyer, Charles Thomson, and Barry Witt.

Eiea msa nr t M icha
Edied ndmanaged by students at The University of Michigan

Big utilities:
on the solar

Clouds
horizon

w "

Vol. XCll No. 28

420 Maynaro St.
Ann Arbor. M' 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

1

Studying the researchers

-=

T A TIME when student interests
seem to be turning increasingly
toward amusing (if not particularly
enriching) activities like the Derby
Days, MSA's decision last week to con-
tinue its investigation into military
research on campus comes as a hear-
tening surprise.
On Tuesday, the assembly decided to
allocate $1,000 toward continuing
research it had begun last year, but
had largely ignored this term. The
money will be used to hire an in-
vestigator to replace Bret Eynon, who
had started the project last year.
Before the MSA decision, it appeared
that the issue of on-campus research
for the military would fade into the
oblivion of faculty committees. Now it
appears that-after a considerable
pause-the assembly will continue to
question the propriety and wisdom of
the research projects here which are
supported by the defense department.
It was in large part due to MSA's and
Eynon's persistence that military
research became an issue here last
year. Though it had its faults, Eynon's
study demonstrated that there was
research being conducted here that

could be of significant value to the
military.
The study's allegations brought up a
host of legitimate questions involving
everything from the adequacy of
University review procedures for
research grants to the vefy goals of the
University as a research institution.
The study pointed out that there are
real questions about the nature of
research conducted at the University
which-irrespective of political or
philosophical inclination-deserve to
be addressed.
MSA's decision last week doesn't
guarantee victory for the foes of
military research. The new researcher
won't be hired until later in the term,
which will increase the chance that the
issue will be lost through neglect. And
no one yet knows exactly who-if
anyone-will be able to take over
Eynon's work.
Nevertheless, the assembly's action
was an important and essential step
both toward keeping the issue alive
and toward increasing public
awareness of the activities of the
University.

By James Ridge way
NEW YORK, N.Y. - There is
now little doubt but that solar
energy, whether supported
outright by the federal gover-
nment through a loan or grant
program or by the tax system in
the form of credits, will play an
important and growing role in the
nation's energy system.
In California alone, the largest
solar market, the state energy
commission projects solar and
conservation programs will save
the equivalent of 100 million
barrels of oil a year and will
reduce the state's total energy
bill by $4.1 billion a year by the
turn of the century.
THE REAL issue for solar
power is: Who will control this
burgeoning industry? Will it sim-
ply become an adjunct of the oil,
or utilities industries, as many
environmental critics fear? Or is
it more likely to emerge as the
province of small-to-modefate-
scale independent business, as
Barry Commoner and others
have argued?
If the latter is the case, then
solar will inject an entirely new
economic ingredient-com-
petition-into the nation's energy
future. Competition in energy, of
course, long has been a goal of
Northern liberals and Southern
and Midwestern small-town con-
servatives who have sought in
vain to break up the oil industry
to that end.
So far the battle has been
fought principally in California,
where utilities have begun to
enlist oil companies and high
technology industries in the ad-
vanced technological sector of
solar. Even so, small contractors
have carved out an important
slice of the solar collector
market.
MORE RECENTLY the focus
in the fight over solar has shifted
to Long Island in New York state,
which surprisingly has become
the second largest solar market
in the nation. Here a group of in-
dependent, private companies
are fighting to prevent the Long

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Island Lighting Co. (LILCO)
from entering the solar business.
On one side is LILCO, which
last year announced plans to
create ansunregulated, wholly
owned subsidiary to sell and to
install solar hot water heaters
and other energy conserving
devices. Opposing LILCO is the
New York State Solar Energy
Industries Association, led by
Meenan Solar, a division of
Meenan Oil, one of the nation's
largest independent oil
distribution firms.
In the middle is the Public Ser-
vice Commission, which has been
holding protracted hearings to
determine whether LILCO can
proceed with its plan.
THE BATTLE is being wat-,
ched closely by utilities across
the nation. Many utilities have
copied the big Long Island
utility's pioneering solar hot
water demonstration programs.
The New York state market for
solar hot water heating equip-
ment is potentially lucrative.
Energy prices are high and going
higher in the Northeast. Long
Island, alone, has 800,000 homes
which are suitable for solar hot
water heaters. That's a potential
market of up to $600 million. And
that does not count the long-term
possibilities for solar space

heating, solar-heated swimming
pools and solar heat pump
systems.
The solar business is New York
spurted ahead last year when
Gov. Hugh Carey signed a bill
authorizing a 15 percent state tax
credit for solar, which when
coupled with the federal credit
brings the total solar credit to 55
percent.
THETAX credit resulted in an
immediate jump in sales, with
Meenan, which leads the solar
field on Long Island, rushing to
open more offices in Westchester
County. The company already
has offices in New Jersey and
Pennsylvania.
Just as the tax credit was ap-
proved, however, LILCO laun-
ched its subsidiary, LILCO
Energy Systems, Inc. It asked
the Public Service Commission to
allow the parent utility to make
or guarantee loans of up to $1
million to the new company.
When LILCO Energy. Systems
leaped into business with
newspaper ads and started
making sales, its competitors
complained and the Public Ser-
vice Commission ordered a halt
to LILCO operations until it could
consider the issue. The com-
petitors argue that LILCO enjoys
an unfair advantage. Under state
law, utilities are paid to make

household energy audits at the
homeowner's request, as well as- Y
provide financing at attractive ;
rates for consumers who want to
buy solar hot water heaters.
When a LILCO audit shows that a ~
home can use solar hot water, the
auditor provides a, list of local
contractors, including LILCO
Energy Systems.
"HOW CAN we be guaranteed-
that the local auditor does not
recommend LILCO Energy.
Systems?" asks Meenan Solar's
Pamela Smith, the company's --
market development manager.
"And how can we be guaranteed ;-a 4
that all those consumers who call
in, who are basically 'sales
leads,' are not going to end up at
LILCO Energy Systems?
"We say if you want to set up a
subsidary, fine. But is mustbe
competitive," continues Smith.
"We don't want the utility people
doing the audits. Let the dealers
do the audit. In that way you {-
won't have this incestuous
relationship.".,
OTHER SOLAR companies on
Long Island are furious with
LILCO. "If LILCO is successful,
then other utilities will view it as
a precedent," says Bill Ross of,
DAS Solar Systems in Brooklyn.
"I would like to say that if Long
Island Lighting Company is
allowed to become a separate,
subsidiary and allowed to com-
pete freely with the existing in-;
dustry, the existing industry will
fold."
"They wouldn't wipe
everybody out," Pamela Smith
says. "But a lot of small guys
would be hurt. They have a very
strong edge on the market."
So far the priivate solar com-
panies-most of them relatively
small-have successfully blocked
LILCO, tying the company up in
lengthy Public Service Com-
mission hearings. A ruling on the
loan question, which could open
the way for LILCO to move
ahead, is expected soon.
Ridgeway wrote this article
for Pacific News Service.

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