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November 18, 1986 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-11-18

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Tuesday, November 18, 1986

The Michigan Daily

Lucas

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCVIi, No. 54

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

Working together

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TGENERAL MOTORS RECENTLY
announced plans to layoff over
30,000 of its employees. In
response, United Auto Worker
President Owen Bieber has urged
GM to join the union in its
campaign to effect protectionist
trade legislation. The legislation
Bieber advocates is aimed at
reducing foreign imports and
competition.
While the political and economic
wisdom of Bieber's proposals is
highly questionable, they have one
aspect that merits consideration: the
enactment of legislation to curb
trade with countries that abuse
worker rights. Since a list of
countries that abuse worker rights
would include many United States
allies, the passage of such
legislation is more than doubtful.
But Bieber's proposal is promising
in that it reflects growing union
concern for the conditions, of
foreign workers.
Voicing concern for the rights of
foreign workers does not indicate a
sudden outburst of
humanitarianism within the UAW
leadership. Rather, it results from
4 an increased appreciation for the
self-interest which U.S. workers
have in foreign unionization.
When repressive foreign
governments deny their people
; collective bargaining and other
: political rights, wages are kept
low. Thus it is that corporations
_like GM have made profits in
South Africa five times as great as
lik GM hav mad prfthi
anywhere else in the world. The
oppression of blacks and black
workers create the "ideal" business
conditions. Drawn by the lure of
cheap labor and high profits, multi-
national corporations move jobs
out of the United States. In
addition, the exploitation of
indigenous labor by foreign
companies, such as occurs in
South Korea, allows those
companies to undersell United
States manufacturers. This, too,
eliminates domestic jobs.
It is in the self-interest of United
r4 States workers to support the rights
of foreign workers. Reducing the
exploitation of foreign workers
f reduces job loss in the United
States. Unfortunately, most
United States unions have, been
everything but supportive of
worker rights in foreign countries.
The largest domestic union, the
AFL-CIO, has done great harm to
the cause of foreign labor

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organization.
Through its American Institute
for the Development of Free Labor
(AIDFL), the AFL-CIO has
supported false unions and
repressive governments in other
parts of the world. With vast
financial resources, the AFL-CIO
establishes unions friendly to host
governments. These unions
remain "apolitical" and oppose
legitimate labor organizations that
strive for the true improvement of
workers' lives. A good example of
how this works can be found in the
Philippines. While Marcos was in
power, the AFL-CIO sponsored
union called for "free and fair
elections," a political impossibility
under the Marcos regime. The
officers of this AFL-CIO affliate
lived in obscene luxury relative to
the rank-and-file members and
consistently thwarted strike efforts
by their own constituency.
Meanwhile they opposed the
efforts by legitimate unions to
affect necessary socio-political
change.
The role of the AFL-CIO
sponsored unions in foreign
countries is not to alleviate the
suffering of oppressed workers,
but to control labor and legitimate
authoritarian governments. This is
the task such unions perform in
countries like Guatemala and South
Korea. It is no coincidence that
$38 million out of the $42 million
dollar budget for AFL-CIO foreign
programs comes from the United
States government. The AFL-CIO
programs are, at least in foreign
countries, mere extensions of State
Department policy.
These activities of the AFL-CIO
are certainly not in the interests of
United States workers. This being
the case, the foreign programs have
come under increasing attacks from
rank-and-file members. At AFL-
CIO conventions, opposition, led
in part by the UAW, has grown
more vocal and widespread. The
UAW has cause to be angry. The
AFL-CIO programs in South
Korea contribute to the exploitation
of labor that helps foreign
competitors undersell domestic
auto manufacturers.
The growing support for worker
rights in foreign countries and
revolt against AFL-CIO policies is
encouraging. United States labor
must recognize its own self-interest
in promoting rights for and
solidarity with foreign workers.

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Letters:
Daily's data is sound, but logic faulty!

To the Daily:
The editorial, "LSA
elections are a joke: Write in
'referendum' "(Daily, 11/17/86),
calling on students to write in
for an overhaul of the LSA-SG
is based on sound data but
faulty logic. Criticisms of
LSA-SG's voter turnout rate,
investment pool management,
and fund allocation process
show that the Daily has written
a damaging editorial. We are
not arguing that LSA-SG is
faultless: rather that the Daily's
editorial irresponsibly attacks a
legitimate student organization.
LSA-SG receives $8,250
per term from the mandatory
college government fee. Of
that, $3,500 is reserved for
fund allocations to student
organizations. Requests for
allocations far exceeds the
budget and LSA-SG has re -
sponsibly allocated its funds
over the past two yeras. As
students intimately involved
with the allocations processes
of LSA-SG, MSA, the
University, and Hillel
Foundation, -e find the
guidelines follo, Ad 1-y LSA are
reasonable and re posiuible and
relied upon by the other
funding sources as a measure of
worth to LSA students a
particular project may have.
Particulary distressing is the
Daily's attack upon the $8,000
reserve fund (investment pool)
LSA-SG has built up,
claiming we have "failed to
spend the ...budget." In these
days of fiscal concern on
campus and in Washington,
this is the first attack on
responsible budget planning
and fiscal responsibility we
have ever heard. It is optimal
for any organization, student or
otherwise, to build an
investment pool in case of a
drop in the number of LSA
students, a revocation of
funding, and capital improve -
ments. LSA-SG has purchased
a computer system this year,
just as the Daily has. Rather
than taking money from our
fund allocation pool ( and
consequently student
organization's mouths) to
finance the computerization,
the pool will be the source.
The Daily, UAC, MSA and
other student organizations
have for years, upon University
and regental advice, built up
substantial investment pools.
LSA-SG's $8,000 fund has
been an on-going trust

exceed this average. The last
three MSA and LSA-SG
elections have averaged a 15
percent turnout, even in last
year's controversial MSA
elections. Two points are in
order: first, students have been
described by Republican and
Democratic leaders as the worst
age bracket in an election
concerning turnout: Michigan
Republican Party Chairman
Spencer Abraham said last year
that" their (students') vote is
not dependable." Second,
national turnout in the recent
Senatorial and Gubernatorial
elections approached an
underwhelming 38 percent.
Daily ignore
To the Daily:
This letter is in response to
the editorials, "Vesel and
Jones" and "Write in
'referendum"'(Daily, 11/17/86).
The position of the editorial
board on LSA Student
Government '(LSA-SG) is
riddled with misleading
information, gross misjudge-
ments, and inconsistency.
Their claim is that the SAID
party claims credit where none
is due. They base this on the
fact that the state legislature
put pressure on the University
concerning the English
competency of foreign TAs. If
the Daily had their dates
straight, they would know that
LSA-SG started working with
the English Language Institute
and had received confirmation
of its goal to allow a non-
voting student to sit on the TA
testing board long before the
state legislature had intervened.
Secondly, the idea of
reprioritization of CRISP was
presented to LSA-SG by
Jonathan Corn, an executive
council member. This
"mystery" administrator that
the Daily fails to name never
presented his "brainstorm" to
'either LSA-SG or CRISP
officials. Trying to dig up dirt
and take credit away from LSA-
SG is of no benefit to the
student body. The point is the
goal was achieved through
months of negotiation with the
director of CRISP, and a lot of
legwork on the part of LSA-
SG members such as designing
a CRISP questionnaire for
students and publicizing this
project.
It is auite contradictory that

Relatedly, the last Ann Arbor
school board elections had a
nine percent voter turnout,
despite a -controversial
reorganization plan opposed by
many parents. Unfortunately,
the U.S. electorate as a whole
does not exercise its democratic
rights, and unless we impose
penalties on students for failing
to vote (hold credits, perhaps?)
we doubt that turnout could
exceed 20 percent in a normal
student election.
In short, the Daily's
editorial is long on data and
short on logic. We trust you
will rectify the injustice caused
by an irresponsible editorial.

Valid points regarding the
structureof LSA-SG are raised,
and could be valuable,
constructive criticism for a new
administration to explore; but
the Daily's mudslinging
reminds this past MSA
president of the College
Republican's ill-fated attempt
to defund MSA last year,
which you opposed in the
strongest of terms.
-Paul Josephson,
LSA-SG co-election
director,Past
president,MSA
-Michael
Rolnick,LSA-SG vice-
president November 18

s LSA-SG accomplishments

"appropriate agenda" and that I
would "have the opportunity to
implement several important
programs" which I had already
begun in my first term and
which were most definitely
completed this past year. The
Daily has some constructive
criticisms to offer but

discrediting all previous efforts
the day before the election is
only counter-productive and
petty, sensationalist journalism
at best.
-Michelle Tear, cur-
rent LSA-SG president
November 18

Media and Blanchard mislead voters

To the Daily:
Isn't it funny how things
can happen coincidentally;
especially around election*
time? The governor's race was
never even close and Blanchard
won by a landslide. Two main
issues of the campaign were
crime and the prison system
and Michigan's revived
economy. Yes, according to
what I read and hear on the
T.V., old Jim Blanchard has
supposedly pulled our fair state
from the depths of economic
ruin.
How convenient that
General Motors waited to have
their massive 29,000 worker
plant closisng until three days
after the election. We wouldn't
want to make Blanchard look
bad when he takes care of us so
nicely would we? I am sure
that General motors and Jim
Blanchard have a fairly close
working relationship, evident
from the many special tax
breaks afforded certain
Michigan Businesses. These
plant closings will devestate
Michigan, especially the
greater Detroit area. Plant
closings...used to hear those
words a lot during our last

recession.
The media makes or breaks
a campaign, and the Detroit
Free Press covers one of our
state's largest readerships and
voting block. They didn't
want to let Blanchard down
either. They waited to publish
a full front page article about
Michigan's prison problems
(plus three inner pages ) until
the Sunday after the election.
With all the bickering about
crime and early prison release,
this could have shifted the
popular tide. I'm glad that the
Free Press did not embarass the
governor with this sort of "fly
in the ointment." It was
probably better the public not
know this sort of thing until
after the election-(unless you
wanted Lucas to lose that is.)
I just want to thank G.M.
and'the Detroit Free Press for
not confusing me with this
sort of trivial information
concerning an election or else I
might have voted somewhat
differently. Maybe a lot of
people would have voted
differently...
-Andrew J. Davis
November13

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