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April 08, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-04-08

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,1

OPINION

Page 4 Friday, April 8, 1988 The Michigan Daily

Mbr 3icign 1ai1Q
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVIII, No. 128 420 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.
Raising rap*aw*areness

University harasses workers *

THE STATE of Michigan has desig-
nated April "Rape Prevention Month."
The University's Sexual Assault Pre-
vention and Awareness Center
(SAPAC) has organized campus
activities throughout the month to
abolish myths and increasenstudent
awareness about rape and rape
prevention.
Activities for Rape Prevention Month
include tabling in the Fishbowl on
Tuesday, April 12 and a noon action in
the Diag on Wednesday, April 13. The
popular film "Still Killing Us Softly,"
Dealing with sexism in advertising,will
be shown on Tuesday, April 19 at
noon and 7:30 p.m. at Lorch Hall.
Rape Prevention Month will end with
,he Take Back the Night rally and
march on Saturday, April 23, starting
at the Federal Building, sponsored by
the Ann Arbor Coalition Against Rape.
The Take Back the Night march and
rally protest the fact that women can't
walk at night without fear of being as-
saulted.
Rape is an act of violence primarily
directed against women. According to
the Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI), 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men
will be raped in their lifetime. The ac-
tual number of victims is higher be-

cause many assaults go unreported.
Rape is a seriouscrime that has been
dealt with unjustly by the courts for far
too long. There is little incentive,
however, to report a rape as the cases
are extremely hard to prosecute. For
the victim, reporting a rape involves the
stigma of publicly acknowledging that
they have been privately violated.
Typically, the defense engages in
victim blaming techniques such as cit-
ing a victim's prior sexual history or
events which took place before the
rape. In many cases the victims are
counter-sued for defamation of charac-
ter for alleging that a rape occurred.
Society, and therefore most juries, re-
sists taking the word of a woman over
that of a man in cases involving sexual
contact.
Rape is preventable. The activities
this month seek to reduce the number
of women and men who suffer from
the emotional problems caused by rape.
Since January, SAPAC has been
printing posters and bookmarks con-
taining a "Myth of the Month" about
rape. The April Myth of the Month is
"There's nothing we can do to end
rape." Join in the activities of SAPAC
,this month, and find out what can be
done to prevent rape.

By Judy Levy
As an elected leader of AFSCME Local
1583 and very likely one of the "certain
leaders" referred to by James Thiry, Direc-
tor of Personnel, I would like to respond
to his letter of April 5, 1988.
James Thiry stated that the AFSCME
Local 1583 leadership has made false alle-
gations of discrimination and harassment
in the Plant Building Services Depart-
ment. He also complained that "certain
leaders" have unfortunately made this
"sensitive situation" a public issue. Fi-
nally, he stated that the grievance proce-
dure was the only effective and appropriate
avenue to address these issues.
First of all, University management en-
courages and supports institutional racism
and sexism in hiring and promotions.
Plant Building Services (PBS) custodians
are among the lowest paid union workers
at the University. They are also largely
Black and women workers. Maintenance
workers on campus are paid $3.00 more
per hour and include only one Black
worker and one woman worker. Mean-
while, Moving and Trucking workers who
earn $3.26 more per hour, Upholstery
workers who earn $4.67 more per hour,
and Heavy Equipment workers who earn
$5.01 more per hour are all white males,
except for one Hispanic worker. In addi-
tion, there is the daily harassment and dis-
crimination against workers in Plant
Building Services.
Workers, both Black and white, cannot
stay off work due to legitimate illness
more than three times in six months
without facing disciplinary action up to
and including discharge. A physician's
statement that is obtained on the second
day of illness rather than the first is not
considered valid. With only four absences
in 2 1/2 years Nelson McEwen, a Black
worker in PBS, was forced to pay for a
special physical examination to prove that
he could "fulfill his obligation of regular
and reasonable attendance." Another Black
worker with diabetes was forced to con-
tinue working after vomiting in the pres-
ence of her supervisor.
Speed up is a constant problem. Man-
agement refuses to hire enough staff to
Judy Levy is the Bargaining Chair for
AFSCME Local 1583.

'Plant Building Services custodians are among the lowest paid
union workers at the University. They are also largely Black and

perform the work. Currently in the Natu-
re' Science and Chemistry Building three
workers are being forced to do what used
to be assigned to six workers.
Also, there are the individual racist,
sexist and anti-gay comments and actions
from supervisors. PBS supervisor Jim
Boyd referred to Jon Bow as "nigger" and
then made good on his "promise" to fire
this worker. PBS manager Linda Bowling
tried to laugh off the racist vandalism of
Mary Clark's work area. Armondo Lopez,

grievance hearing after McEwen was as
saulted by his supervisor in the work
place. Supervisors do not have the right to
cancel a grievance and, worse yet,:
McEwen's hearing on the assault had al-
ready been delayed for two days. Further,
there is Art Greenhaughl, a district steward 0
and bus driver, who is forced to sweep
buses after each grievance hearing he con-
ducts! There are the hundreds of PBS cus-
todians who are frightened to even receive
union flyers for fear of retaliation!

women workers. Maintenance
$3.00 more per hour and include
woman worker.'

workers on campus are paid
only one Black worker and one

-Judy Levy, Bargaining Chair Person Local 1583'

head of the PBS Department, made an
anti-lesbian remark to me in the course of
a grievance hearing when he asked me
whether my wife was present during the
investigation of a grievance.
Pages could be filled with names, dates,
and witnesses to support our just claims
of harassment and discrimination but these
supervisors go unchecked.
Now let's look at the grievance proce-
dure that James Thiry claims to support
and hold in such high esteem. Through
the current employee grievance procedure
management gets to review its own ac-
tions! They know that of the approxi-
mately 1,500 grievances submitted per
year, the union can only afford to arbitrate
a small fraction. The Dean Steiners of this
institution sit in hearing rooms across the
campus and attempt to badger and accuse
the employees of various misdoings. So-
called investigations are limited to U-M
Security reports and the word of manage-
ment. Our witnesses and material evi-
dence in support of the grievants are
rarely, if ever, considered.
And then, despite James Thiry's stated
support for the procedure, there is intimi-
dation, harassment, and retaliation regard-
ing lawful union activity. District steward
Avis Maria and grievant Nelson
McEwen, both Black workers, were
threatened with termination for their al-
leged "misconduct" during a grievance
hearing. The supervisor canceled their

Beyond this is management's obstruc-.
tion of the grievance procedure itself. Re=
peatedly
they delay hearings, delay responding
"lose" grievance papers, "forget" to call
stewards, and refuse to allow stewards ads:
quate time to investigate grievances.
Finally, the issue of publicly disclosing
"sensitive issues." First, I can only as
sume that these "sensitive issues" are the
racism, sexism and aiiti-gay bigotry that
exist in PBS. Second, it is clear that
James Thiry would rather sweep them into
the grievance procedure and from there un-
der the carpet, into closets, anywhere but
into the minds of the active student body.
For James Thiry and I both know that it
student activists saw even a glimpse of the
real worklife of campus and hospital
workers, they would be outraged. An al-
liance of students and workers could prove
to be powerful and threatening to man-
agement's continued unfair practices;
Critics of worker movements have always
claimed that the problem would cure itself
if kept from the public.
So, Mr. Thiry, we have read loud and
clear that you think we've made false acr
cusations and ought to stay quiet. Unfor-
tunately, we can't comply. Too much has
been done to us and it's time to fight
back.
There is a rally to support Nelson
McEwen and other workers today at 1
p.m. at the UGLi.

Wasserman

IN NOJ.T11RN
I(.-AD.

.AN4D WILL WORK F~OR A PROMPT W'tE CANNoT TOLRAE TIHE TI'AM' A 3o
RE~TURNW To LAW VIGILANTE KILLING F:OR 'I5N
AND ORDER . OF UNARMED COMMNDOS
/t \
00

Forests are a very scarce resource

-Associated Pres

Four Kurds who were victims of a mustard gas attack in the Iran-Iraq war. Thousands
of Kurdish civilians have been massacred by chemical weapons in the last month.
U of Military complex

'IMAGES OF DEATH by chemical
weapons surfaced recently in newspa-
#per photographs of the thousands of
Kurds who died from mustard gas
poisoning in Iraq. Today, campus
WAND (Women's Action for Nuclear
Disarmament) will hold a noon rally on
the Diag in order to confront people
with images of how weapons like these
are created and developed.
With nearly 13 percent of University,
research dollars now spent on military
research, this rally could hardly be
more timely. Currently, seven SDI
projects are being conducted on
campus, supported by 1.5 million in
defense dollars. A host of biological
and chemical weapons research is done
in the buildings we walk by everyday
on our way to class, supported b y
more than $1.7 million from the

students. It contributes to the maiming
and killing of human beings. It directly
and indirectly contributes to racism and
deforestation.
Science is a profoundly political ac-
tivity. Scientists do not just stumble
upon technologies or discover them.
Rather specific directions are chosen,
according to specific ideologies, for
science to proceed. The values of our
society are reflected in the kinds of re-
search that gets funded and published.
This is why nearly half of this na-
tion's scientists are involved in military
research of some kind while nearly half
of the world's population suffer from
diseases caused by drinking unsafe
water. Lasers in space has been
deemed a more pressing problem to be
solved than finding a way to keep toxic
waste or human feces out of water
Sinnnies

By Jim Burchfield
We in the first world tend to think of
rainforests as peaceful, idyllic Gardens of
Eden. In fact, rainforests are theaters of
some of the most violent dramas taking
place on the planet right now. And war is
one of the main agents of rainforest de-
struction. With the focus of military re-
search this week on campus, it's impor-
tant to consider some of the ecological
consequences of militarization. About one-
third of the earth's surface is covered with
forests, with close to 58 percent of these
in developing countries in the tropics. The
outlook for the world's tropical forests is
bleak. At the current rate of destruction,
the tropical forests of the world could be
gone in our lifetimes.
The dimension of this potential loss is
staggering. The world's forests are price-
less ecological resources, protecting land
and water, controlling floods, storing and
cycling nutrients, and providing the habi-
tat for wildlife. Humid tropical forests
(often simply called the rainforest), occu-
pying only 7 percent of the earth's land
surface, are the richest storehouse of the
planet's evolutionary material, with over
half the world's species in a narrow belt
along the equator.
In the poor nations of the tropical
zones, the maintenance of forests is a life
and death issue. Over one billion people
already depend on the forest for their sur-
vival, and by the year 2000, more than

How has war contributed to this
devastation? Countries seeking to protect
their borders carve roads throughout the
forest and those engaged in war devastate
vast areas to expose their enemies. For
example, the U.S. was responsible for the
defoliation of 70 percent of the rainforests
in Vietnam during the seventies.
Honduras may rapidly become another
rainforest debacle. In this country, where
44 percent of the people are landless, and
U.S. military maneuvers have already de-
stroyed 10 percent of Honduras' pine
forests. As military roads are built, land-
less peasants have a new pathway to colo-
nize untouched areas. The contras have
displaced thousands of Honduran peasants
along the border area. They flee further
into the forests, and some of the experts
estimate that 100,000 acres of rainforest
has disappeared as a result of this massive
displacement.
In Guatemala, a country where 80 per-
cent of the land is owned by 2.1 percent of
the population, U.S.-sponsored spraying
of defoliants by the army has destroyed
vast areas of forest. The ostensible reason
is to destroy marijuana fields, but it is
widely believed that the actual agenda is
counter-insurgency.
In El Salvador, where two percent of the
population controls 60 percent of the land,
U.S.-sponsored aerial bombings along
with white phosphorus, napalm and
scorched earth campaigns have created for-
est fires, dust storms, siltation of rivers
_na gr _ nt %I% f _...'V

even foreign aid have done nothing but
solidify the continuation of non-sustain-
able economic investments, and a further
skewing o the distribution of the wealth.
The poor have little or no access to the
land, and if they do, very few of the
amenities necessary to make it productive.
We are left with the duality of haves and
have nots: the wealthy northern nations
and the poor nations in the tropics. And
for very pragmatic reasons, the poor are
cutting down the forests to meet their sur-
vival needs.
These "shifted agriculturalists" cut the
forest, burn the residue, plant lin the
ashes, and when productivity drops in a
few years, move on. In the face of enor-
mous institutional sector, peasants have
almost no choice but to play out this sad
and destructive cycle. You and I, if stuck
in the same situation, would do exactly
the same.
But you and I are not stuck in that
situation, we are here in Ann Arbor, and
we have access to tools and information to
begin to challenge the institutions which
have allowed and even promoted this eco-
logical crisis. Attend the Rally against
Weapons Research on the Diag at noon
today. For more information contact the
Rainforest Action Network at 764-6932,
or visit their office in the Student Lounge
of the School of Natural Resources.
1*1 ||IN: %

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