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September 24, 1983 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-09-24

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I

OPINION

I

Page 4
Ediea d a d id i TaT i lEr a i
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Saturday, September 24, 1983

The Michigan Daily

Sinclair

Vol. XCIV -No. 15

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Administration multiplication

H ERE WE GO again. It seems like
any time administrators have a
problem organizing their offices, they
try to solve it by creating another layer
of administration. The more the
merrier, they seem to think.
The newest addition to the ad-
ministrative ranks is a director of
communication. For $60,097 a year, the
new administrator oversees such
things as the administration's
newspaper, The Record; two campus
radio stations; and the University's
media information services. The ad-,
ministrator reports to the vice
president for community relations,
who used to do the job himself..
Creating this post is a waste of
money. There are too many other,
more important places at this Univer-
sity that need money.
The schools of natural resources and
art and education recently received
major budget cuts. All three have to
S.O.S. fo
T SEEMS LIKE every time one turns
around these days the U.S.
government is taking another step
toward pushing the various world con-
flicts past the point of no return. The
government is getting too good at sen-
ding the :wrong signastoother nations.
They dU it again Wednesday ;when e
Senate voted to cut funding to the
United Nations.
Senators voted 66-23 to cut U.S. sup-
port of the international forum by $500
million over the next four years. The
vote comes on the heels of Reagan ad-
ministration statements urging the
world to move U.N. headquarters from
New York City if delegates are unhap-
py with present accommodations.
Both the administration and the
Senate seem to be saying, "If the world
doesn't play by our rules, we will take
our ball away."
But Sen. Charles Percy (R-Ill.),
chairman of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, was right when
he said, "This is a mistake. We are un-
dercutting the very agency on which

eliminate many faculty positions. Ask
them if they would like to keep just one
more professor than they otherwise
could. Sure they would like to, and this
money would be better spent if they
were allowed to.
The new communication director is
overseeing units that write press
releases, communicate with
newspapers and television stations,
broadcast radio shows, and publish
numerous news letters and magazines.
An important job? Arguably. More
important than academic programs?
Not a chance.
By any definition of the University's
goals, these units can only be called
peripheral.They have little to do with
the academic core of the University:
its teaching and research. And when
that core is being cut deeply in three
schools, the budgets for these services
should not be rising.
r the U.N.
we depend to maintain peace and
stability in the world."
At no time since the Cuban missile
crisis is that agency more crucial to
whatever world peace is left than now.
U.S.-Soviet relations are the worst
they've been since those tense days in
October, 1962. The wars in Central,
America and Lebanon are ready to ex-
plode. The war between Iran and Iraq
drags on, still threatening the Persian
Gulf. The list goes on.
These are the types of conflicts the
United Naions was set up to resolve
more peacefully. If the institution is
going to become the crucial in-
ternational forum it was designed
be, it needs to be strengthened, not
weakened.
The U.N. is having enough trouble
achieving those goals without having
to bear the brunt of the latest hostility
from the United States. The dangerous
precedent of the death of the League of
Nations looms over the Reagan ad-
ministration and the Senate. It is time
to send a new round of signals.

COMRADE, BUTRALLy MR
WE Do5 THAT A O T ,.QA
EVEKY )E EK .
- ~ -
" ,r
177
At
A chapter inthe swdeh

A

of

American labor unions

By Joseph A. Blum
MORENCI, Ariz.-George Mungia
has become a scab. Each day he
crosses a picket line - a line
walked by his brother-in-law, a
strong union, man: George's
father had to' choose between
returning to work for two months
to assure his pension or staying
out to support the union which
won him that pension. He now
crosses the line.
The line is around the mine,
mill, and smelter of Phelps
Dodge, the nation's largest in-
dependent copper producer.
When it shuts down,this town
shuts down. Last year, a tem-
porary layoff brought unem-
ployment here to 65 percent, the
nation's highest.
At that time, George, an elec-
trician, already had been laid off
for more than six months. Then,
early this July, Phelps Dodge of-
fered George his old job back
with all the overtime he could
handle.
But this offer was not another
sign of the economic recovery.
George was invited back to help
break a strike of more than 2,200
copper workers at Phelps Dodge
facilities throughout Arizona.
STRIKES are common in the
copper industry. Phelps Dodge
has been struck every three
years for the last 24 while union
and company negotiators resolve
contract disputes. But these
struggles have taken place within
a context of labor peace.
During strikes, Phelps Dodge
produced no copper but repaired
its plant and hoped that reduced
production would raise prices.
Union workers welcomed the
time off, knowing a "continuing
agreement" guaranteed their
jobs.

This year has been different.
From the first, the deep recession
and an anti-labor administration
in Washington weakened the
workers' bargaining position. In
early negotiations with copper
employers, the best the 13 unions
involved could get was a three-
year contract withtawwage freeze
and other concessions.
PHELPS DODGE refused this
settlement and broke .with the
rest of the industry. The cor-
poration claims huge losses - $74
million last year - as copper
prices plunged and foreign com-
petition forced it to slash labor
costs.
Outside analysts point out that
even with those losses Phelps
Dodge has done well, earning
more than $550 million in the last
decade, and is at least partially
responsible for"foreign com-
petition" itself, with holdings in
Peru, Australia, and South
Africa. They also point out that it
already produces copper at a
lower cost than any other
domestic firm.
Strikers think Phelps Dodge is
simply out to break the unions.
That is why, they say, the cor-
poration terminated the "con-
tinuing agreement," an 87-page
contract which represents 40
years of collective bargaining.
LAST JULY 1, the company an-
nounced a $2-an-hour pay cut for
new workers and a wage freeze
and benefit reductions for those
already on payroll. Grievance
procedures and work and safety
rules were changed in un-
specified ways.
All 13 unions struck im-
mediately. Phelps Dodge coun-
tered by shifting salaried staff to
production jobs and told strikers
that if they did not return new
workers would be hired.

I

Morencitis an isolated one-
company town. Many families
have been here for generations,
and job, home, and community
are tightly integrated. Outside
strikebreakers could be brought
in only if the community already
was divided. Phelps Dodge
evidently thought that offering
jobs to laid-off workers like
George would have exactly that
effect.
AND BY early August, the
divisions wracking George's
family had become common-
place. As George put it, "There
are only scabs and those soon to
become scabs." But the core of
strikers remained solid.After six
weeks, some 400 strikebreakers
were trying to run the key
facility, where 1,480 had been
employed. The strike could not be
broken locally.
At this point Phelps Dodge
decided to move aggressively to
bring in outsiders. That announ-
cement came on August 5, a
Friday. The next Monday after-
noon, hundreds of striking
workers, armed with ax handles,
chains, and baseball bats,
surrounded by an estimated 2,000
sympathizers, showed up at the
shift change, chasing
strikebreakers away or forcing
them to stay inside. George spent
the night hiding out in the cold
open pit mine before he could
sneak away.
Democratic Gov. Bruce Bab-
bitt flew to the area and convin-
ced Phelps Dodge officials to call
a 10-day halt in production. They
had little choice - strikers
threatened to remove workers
from the mine, and police forces
in Morenci could not stop them.
ON THE surface, this looked
like a great victory for the
strikers. Instead, the production
halt marked the beginning of a
shift in the corporation's favor.
As soon as calm was restored,
Governor Babbitt - strikers
quickly dubbed him "Scabbitt"
- ordered the largest
mobilization of state police and
National Guardsmen in Arizona
history. These forces were
dispatched to guarantee that
Phelps Dodge could reopen.
At dawn on the day production
resumed, state police guarded
mine gates as a mile-long convoy

JJF- let-
7V RUW
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of strikebreakers rolled past five
union picketers.
TWO DAYS later George's
father crossed the line. He is only
one man, but his action indicates
how the strikers were affected by
the state's intervention. Thouglh
no more than 700- statewide
responded to the7corpora tion's.
first call for new workers, from
the day after the reopening, the,
Morenci employment office was,
swamped with applications.
Within a week, the company,
reported. more than 1,300.
strikebreakers on the job and,
only about 800 vacant positions.
By the 11th week of the strike
Phelps Dodge's Morenci,
manager, JohnBolles, could,
claim "100 percent production"
with a workforce of 1,244 - men
like George and his father, and,
572 new workers, all but three;
hired since the facilityreopened.,
From the outset, the unions:
have seemed unprepared for
Phelps Dodge's determined
strategy. National leaders did
suggest a plan that would rein-
state the union contract and meet
the company's financial deman-
ds. But Phelps Dodge turned it
down.
The unions have moved on the
legal front, charging Phelps.
Dodge with unfair labor practices
and challenging evictions of.
workers from company homes.,
They also are demanding a full-,
scale congressional in-
vestigation.
What will become of the more,
than 1,000 strikers at Morenci
alone, men who had worked for
Phelps Dodge as much as 40
years and expected to continue?
There is no doubt in the mind of
John Coulter, Phelps Dodge vice,
president for personnel, on that
point: All the company's current
employees are permanent
replacements for the strikers.
The company expects to save
more than $2.25 million per year
on lower hourly wages for the 572
new workers.
Accordingto Coulter, "As far
as we're concerned this strike is
over."
Blum is a union member
and free-lance writer. He
wrote this article for the
Pacific News Service.
by Berke Breathed

41

4

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY
Prof. hits own department

4

To the Daily:
When I first read Barbara
Misle's column ("Com-
munication department masks
fluff," Daily, September 21)
ragging on communication 101, I
thought, "Where's 421??? " But
you got to it.
And my reaction? Great!

professor in the com-
munication department, is
teaching communication 421
this term.
BLOOM COUNTY

I w(XJLrD YOU ' I I I I! I I 1

OKCAV-IS HFYRF THjI
GREAT 50CIN iffAUZER5 :

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