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March 17, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-17

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- - __ a ,.

Page 4

Thursday, March 17, 1983

The Michigan Daily-


eats soup on Campbell's

By David Monks

Having spent the last five weeks at-
tempting to get the Residence Hall
Association to'endorse the Farm Labor
Organizing Committee's boycott again-
st Campbell's Soup Company, I can
safely say that the association lacks
overall credibility in representing
University housing residents. Judging
from the actions and attitudes of the
group's top officers and the overall
apathy of the organization's other mem-
bers, I strongly question whether the
RHA will ever be able to act decisively
and responsibly on any issue of social
In northwest Ohio and southeast
Michigan, migrant farmworkers are
forced to work and live in conditions
that threaten their health and welfare.
The infant mortality rate among
migrant farmworkers' children is twice
the national average, the work-related
injury rate is three times the average,
and the life expectancy of an average
worker is 49 years - over 20 years
below average.
MOST MIGRANT families are forced
to live in one room shacks with no in-
door plumbing. Often, water supplies
are contaminated by pesticide run-off.
These farmworkers are excluded from
all minimum wage laws and we paid a
piece rate to pick tomatoes which tran-
slates into about $2.00 an hour. Because
workers are paid by how much they
pick, all hands are needed in the field.
This forces children as young as five
years old to work in the fields. As a
result, children of migrants often do not
receive adequate educations.
These migrants are hired seasonally
by independent growers to harvest the
annual tomato crop. In turn, these in-
dividual growers are contracted by
major canneries such as Campbell's.



r r
J/J /f r


In February, the FLOC pres
boycott proposal to the associa
provided all representgtiv
literature explaining both isd
issue. The association decide
ted to hear from a Ca
spokesperson as well. Thec
agreed to speak with the assoc
but only on the conditions tht
not debate any FLOC supporte
there were any supporters
meeting, the company would h
credibly, the association ag
Campbell's demands.
At the RHA meeting March 2
Rombach, Campbell's top c
relations executive, presen
company's view of the issu
McGuiness (another FLOC su
and I were asked to leave this
by both RHA President BrianI
and Secretary Linda Sokolowsk
IN ASKING US to leave ther
"misunderstanding," as RI
President Pam McKann said
tions of both officers were
violation of Michigan's OpenP
The FLOC asked to be plac
association's March 9 ag
respond to Rombach's comm
addition, the FLOC asked U
Professor John Vandermeer to
the association and answ
questions the representativ
Vandermeer is an establisheda
and has written a book on th
Due to the personal v
Woollery, the FLOC and Van
were dumped from the March 9
Woollery alone decided for t
association that representat
enough information to make a
decision on the boycott.
Woollery's actions are appa
hypocritical considering he
asked FLOC supporters to h

ented the March 2 meeting. Also, after spring
ation and break, at least one or two represep-
es with tatives were replaced with new student
es of the ts who were not familiar with the
d it wan- boycott issue. How could these news
mpbell's representatives possibly vote fairly n;
company the issue when they had heard only onie
ciation - side of the debate?
it would McKann's attitude was equally,
rs and, if irresponsible. At the March _0:
at the meeting, acting as president in-°
eave. In- Woollery's absence, she attempted to
greed to place a time limit on the boycot
discussion, as well as trying to liniit
, C. Scott discussion to association represen-:
corporate tatives only - knowing that FLOC sup-.
nted the porters in the audience would questionr
ie. Hugh Vandermeer's removal from the agen-
upporter) da. It was not until I interrupted
meeting McKann that the question of Vander-
Woollery meer's removal was discussed. Even
ki. though many representatives said they
re was no were not adequately informed, the
HA Vice association still voted against hearing
. The ac- from the FLOC and Vandermeer for-
a clear further input on the boycott.
Meetings The FLOC was clearly a victim of the
biases of the association's top officers.
ed on the And it is painfully obvious that most
enda to representatives did not even take the a,
nents. In time to read or research any. of the
niversity FLOC's literature.
o address In the future, I hope the association
ver any and its officers will act more maturely
ves had. and credibly when serious issues suci
authority as the Campbell's boycott are
e tomato discussed. Migrant farmworkers have
been subject to social, political, and
iews of racial discrimination for decades and
ndermeer their plight deserves better than the
9 agenda. recent unfair, irresponsible, and biased
he entire actions of the Residence Hall
ives had Association officers and represen-
rational tatives. _ _
Monks, an LSA sophomore, is a
lling and member of the Ann Arbor Farm
illegally Labor Organizing Committee Sup-
eave the port Group.

Farmworkers originally banded
together in 1968 and formed the Farm
Labor Organizing Committee with the
hope of winning better working con-
ditions and higher wages. The group
won over 30 contracts with individual
growers. However, the union realized
that these growers were locked into
contracts with major canneries which
controlled almost every aspect of the
tomato industry from the grower to the
farmworker. Letting these contracts
expire in 1972, the union spent the next
several years reorganizing. In 1978,
FLOC members went on strike and an-
nounced a boycott against all Cam-
pbell's and Libby's products.
THE UNION recognized that these
corporations were responsible for the
wages and living conditions of migran-

ts. Campbell's and other canneries
have consistently stated that they are
not responsible for wages of migrants
nor are they their employers. But the
"controlling" effect of canneries was
clearly documented by a 1980 Ohio
State Senate investigation of Ohio's
migrants, which states: "They (the
processors) control the profits the far-
mer can expect and also, directly or in-
directly, the migrants earnings."
Campbell's was chosen as the prime
target of the boycott because it is the
nation's leader in the canning industry.
History will show, as in the case of the
United Auto Workers, that when a labor
precedent is set by the industry leader,
other competitors will usually fall into
In its effort to promote the Cam-

pbell's boycott, the Ann Arbor FLOC
support group approached the Resident
Hall Association in an attempt to have
Campbell's products removed from
University housing. Last year the
association endorsed a boycott of
Nestle products to protest that com-
pany's questionable marketing prac-
tices of its infant formula.
THE FLOC believed that most
University housing residents, once in-
formed on the issue, would support it in
its efforts for social improvement. Un-
fortunately, the association's actions
over the past month indicate that most
of its members are no longer interested
in using the RHA to promote social im-
provement, nor in giving interest
groups on campus adequate time to
present their case.

die ndMst dets atnivt oan
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan



Vol. XCIII, No. 130

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

\! FOR A Ly


y]ou A& W P' NT To KiD6E
yIouR o~ N %1701 WThkE.


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

H OW OFTEN partisan squabbling
threatens pieces of desperately
needed legislation. It's happening
again in the Senate, this time en-
dangering both the multi-billion dollar
jobs program and the Social Security
reform bill. Once again, the ones most
harmed by the bickering are those that
would benefit from the legislation -
the unemployed and the elderly.
The jobs bill is being stalled by an
amendment sponsored by Sen. Bob
Kasten (R-Wis.) which calls for the
repeal of tax withholdings on interest
and dividend income. Kasten stubbor-
nly has refused to drop the amendment
and add it to another bill to allow the
jobs package to get through the Senate.
Another Republican, Kansas Sen.
Bob Dole has threatened a fillibuster of
the bill unless the Kasten amendment
is removed. President Reagan has
threatened to veto the whole thing. And
Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill
gleefully counts the political gains as
the Republicans fight and the people
that would get jobs as a result of the

bill remain in unemployment lines.
This ridiculous debate is also
snarling Senate action on the Social
Security reform measure which
already has passed in the House. So not
one, but two of the most important
pieces of legislation Congress will con-
sider this term are being stalled as
some politicians fight and others gloat.
Senate majority leader Howard
Baker (R-Tenn.) has been the one
politician to recognize that this is no
time for petty politicking. He has tried
to work out a compromise - the one
Kasten rejected. "We owe thecountry
an obligation to get on with these two
pieces of legislation," Baker said. He's
exactly right.
The jobs bill would be a start at
easing the immediate unemployment
problem. And the Social Security bill
potentially could help solve the benefit
system's chronic long term problems.
But neither can benefit anyone until
the politicians in Washington start
living up to their obligation to the
people they represent.


o J




Recent developments in
Washington suggest that the
Reagan administration has made
a sharp turn to the right,
replacing the moderate tone of
past months with aggressively
conservative position statements
that recall President Reagan's
first year in office..
A new drive has been launched
in Congress forhupscaled military
assistance to El Salvador. There
is a renewed emphasis on the
evils of the Soviet Union in
speeches by the president and
other officials. Debate has
resumed over such social issues
as abortion and prayer in the
BEHIND the change "is the
perception that the improvement
in the economy will give the ad-
ministration much more freedom
of action," said A. Lawrence
Chickering, director of the In-
stitute for Contemporary Studies,
a San Francisco-based think tank
with close ties to the White
House. "Two months ago there
was a sense of imminent collapse
in Washington, primarily due to
economic setbacks. Today some
economists are forecasting the
biggest economic rebound in the
postwar period for the next two
years, and it is bound to have a
political effect."
But political analysts across
the country - including the
president's own pollster, accor-
ding to informed sources - argue
that a decision to move sharply to
the right may be far from
politically wise. On several key
issues, they maintain, the
president may be misjudging the
extent of public support for con-
servative initiatives:

Reagan s shift
right misses
public mood
By Frank Viviano




Michigan's Institute for Social
"The Republicans would be
crazy to go back and pursue the
policies of 1981, especially on the
matter of El Salvador, as they
appear now to be considering,"
he continued. "It would be a
serious misjudgment, in par-
ticular if they attempt to increase
the number of U.S. advisers
there." (On March 8, President
Reagan told an Orlando, Fla.,
audience that the current limit of
55 U.S. trainers in El Salvador
may be doubled.)
" Social issues also pose a
problem for conservative
strategists, according to Califor-
nia pollster Mervyn Field. "The
administration has consistently
erred in its belief that the public
shares its view on the Equal
Rights Amendment, abortion,
and a whole host of social
issues," he said. "(Presidential
pollster) Richard Werthlin has
been showing the president data
all along which proves that these
issues are not viable. But the

many voters back into the
Democratic stronghold," ex-
plained Miller. "One of the things
we look at on a regular basis is
how the public views the two par-
ties on certain specific issues. We
find that the old images are mud-
dy now in all areas but one:
Americans still feel that the
Republican Party stands for big
business and the rich, and that
the Democrats are for the little
Added pollster Field: "Wer-
thlin's people are getting it all of
the time on 'fairness' in their
daily polling. There is a growing
feeling among Americans that
the Reagan economic programs
have . created an uneven
distribution in pain - that the
bottom third of the population is
suffering disproportionately."
" A Washington Post/ABC poll
taken in early March found that
Americans believe by a 2-to-1
margin that President Reagan
would rather protect polluters
than clean up the environment.
That belief, say analysts, is

despite tough times, there has,
been very little give in the public"
when it comes to relaxing stan-
dards for environmental protec -
tion," agreed Field.
The administration's'
willingness to accept the
resignation of controversial EPA
administrator Anne Burford, ,a
staunch conservative, and to.
support a jobs bill that echoes
liberal social-spending policies,
imply that public sentiments on:
the environmentsand the fairness
issue are having some effect,.
Moreover, predicts Chickering,
"I don't expect that the ad-
ministration will do anything
dramatic" to accelera a the en-
tire packageaofeconservative
initiatives. "There is a natural
instinct for risk-aversion in the
second half of a presidential
term, and my guess is that
clearly divisive matters such as
the social issues will not be at the
center of the spotlight."
Nevertheless, Chickering and'
other conservative analysts
believe that the economic upturn-
has, as one put it, "earned the:
president some political capital,
which is most likely to be spent or
a tougher line on Central
But even a limited conser-
vative offensive now might back
fire, said Miller, despite the im-
proved economy. "In the
Republican Party's best scenario
- a recovery that keeps inflation
low and the stock market high =':
the question remains: 'Will the*
public begin to listen again to
those who advocate a vast defen
se budget, more cuts in welfaret
introducing prayer in the schools
or making abortion illegal?'
Based on the data, I'd say that'

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