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February 11, 1993 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-02-11

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Page 4-The Michigan Daily- Thursday, February 11, 1993

1E £idtiigrn adtl

420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed
by students at the
University of Michigan

Josii Dulow
Editor in Chief
YAEL M. CITRO
ERIN LIZA EINHORN
Opinion Editors

Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Daily editorial board.
All other cartoons, signed articles and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

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CHILDCARE
Daycare presents dilemma for TAs with kids

() f.f

IILE RECENT EVENTS with Zoe Baird
and Kimba Wood have brought the
Wissue of childcare to public attention,
working parents on cam-
pus have already been
grappling with the issue
ontheirown. Here at the
University, Teaching
and Research Assistantsf
(TAs, RAs)arenotgiven.
any financial assistance.
with childcare..
Many parents have
complained that with ris-
ing cost of daycare and
increased concerns
about safety, finding af-
fordable and trustworthy childcare is nearly im-
possible. Some graduate students find them-
selves paying over $5,000 a year - more than
most TAs and RAs earn.
The Graduate Employment Organization
(GEO), the workers' union for TAs and RAs, is
in the process of bargaining with the University
for new employment contracts. GEO has in-
cluded achildcareproposal inits listof demands,
which needs to be given serious considerationby
the administration.
The current proposal asks that TAs and RAs
be given a voluntary "check-off option," so they
can donate a small part of their salaries to a
childcare pool. This money would be matched
by the University in a three-to-one ratio and

distributed on the basis of need, for the purpose
of supplementing childcare costs for those who
can least afford it. It seems highly unlikely that
the University will
match funds three-to-
one.In addition, the fact
that some people would
benefit far more than
others seems unfair.
However, the GEO pro-
posal is a start.
Another option the
j University should con-
2 sider is providing free
f on-site daycare for em-
ployees.Presently there
MICHELLE GUY/Daiy are a few daycare cen-
ters on campus. None - except the one avail-
able to Northwood Family Housing residents -
are within a graduate student's budget. The
daycare center at Northwood, however, only
accepts children older than two and a half years
of age. Northwood- which all but tells parents,
particularly mothers, to stay at home during the
first few years after childbirth - charges $117
per week. One mother estimated that other local
daycare centers charge an average of $135 per
week. Graduate students canearn less than$ 1,000
per year. Free, or at least low-cost, daycare is
essential to TAs and RAs. The University could
keep costs down by offering academic credit to
students volunteering to assist at daycare cen-
ters.

'I
S.

- .

,C141AN DL l k3

Childcare debate ignores women of color

ATTORNEY GENERAL

by Nancy Raquel Mirabal
and Frances Rivera
Rackham graduate students
The childcare controversy surrounding
Zoe Baird focused on a number of critical
issues. Childcare policy, women's rights to
work and the unfair division oflaboramong
men and women.
However, one issue that was ignored,
avoided and skirted around was therights of
undocumented workers in the United States.
Baird's in-house childcare provider re-
mained anonymous. Similar to most un-
In constructing a feminist
agenda around childcare,
white middle-class
feminists must recognize
the inherent and histori-
cal exploitation of women
of color in the United
States.
documented workers in the United States,
the Peruvian couple that Baird illegally
hired was silenced and rendered invisible.
While Ellen Goodman was lamenting
the problems concerning inadequate
childcare in the United States and champi-
oning the rights of middle-class women, the
Peruvian undocumented worker was being
deported.
During her confirmation hearings, Baird
argued that she had no other choice but to
hire this women. She could not find anyone
else to put in the hours that she needed.
What Baird failedtoexpandon was that this
women worked for her for eight months,
was paid only six dollars an hour, worked
12 hours a day as a live-in childcare pro-
vider, had no health benefits, no social

security benefits and no means for collect-
ing unemployment benefits. Clearly, Baird
benefited from a hiring an undocumented
worker.
The culture of fear in which undocu-
mented workers live and work in is sup-
ported and maintained by people like Zoe
Baird. Although Baird, whoearnedasalary

but a few of the programs that have been
implemented by the United States to con-
trol the ebb and flow of immigration.
The United States' ambivalent relation-
ship with countries who supply a cheap
labor force rests on the fact that the United
States' only interest in these laborers is to
exploit them economically while offering

While Ellen Goodman was lamenting the problems
concerning inadequate childcare in the United States
and championing the rights of middle-class women,
the Peruvian undocumented worker was being de-
ported.

Hearings show nation'
AST WEEK THEClintonAdministrationasked
Federal Judge Kimba Wood to withdraw
om consideration for U.S. Attorney Gen-
eral. They acknowledged she broke no law, and
her behavior both as a judge and as citizen has
been exemplary. However she was asked to
withdraw because Clinton feared her legal be-
havior would be associated with the illegal ac-
tions of Zod Baird - the former Attorney Gen-
eral nominee who stepped down after admitting
she hired an illegal alien to care for her children.
What these two nominees had in common is that
both are women and both sought child care
outside of the home.
Zoe Baird withdrew her name from the run-
ning when her hiring of an illegal alien and
failure to pay social security taxes became an
issue. While questions rose about other cabinet
nominees, the media paid much more attention
to Baird's infraction of the law. Suddenly, the
way a nominee cares for her children became the
most pressing issue.
During confirmation hearings, Baird was
asked how many hours a day she spent with her
children. That question, which hardly pertains to
the position of Attorney General, illustrates the
Senate Judiciary Committee's double standard
for men and women. No one thinks to ask a man
how or by whom his children are cared for. And
if they were asked, most men in Washington
would simply respond: "my wife." However,

s double standard
most working mothers, like Baird and Wood, do
not have a spouse at home caring for their
children. They must seek other options. This is
exactly what Kimba Wood - and her husband
- did. For this, Wood has been judged.
When Clinton began interviewing Kimba
Wood, he made it clear, he did not want anyone
with a "Zoe Baird problem." Wood did not feel
she had one. She hired an immigrant to take care
of her child in 1986, and even notified the
authorities when her employee's visa expired.
Her behavior was in complete accordance with
the law, and she even paid the social security
taxes. However, it seems this "Zoe Baird prob-
lem" does not merely refer to breaking the law,
but to hiring someone outside the home to take
care of children.
Meanwhile, Ron Brown, Clinton's recently
confirmed Secretary of Commerce, has come
forward and announced he also failed to pay
social security taxes for a domestic worker. He,
however, was told that as long as he rectifies the
situation, there will be no problem.
Clinton has now tried to placate women's
groups by requiring all of his appointees pay
taxes on domestic workers. This however is
difficult because it is unlikely that every indi-
vidual has the tax records for household help.
This standard still fails to justify Wood's treat-
ment. She has paid her taxes, and paid them on
time.

"

amounting to almost half a million dollars
a year, had connections in the Justice De-
partment and claimed to not be able to find
anyone else to provide the type of care that
her child needed, she made little effort to
render her childcare provider resident sta-
tus or a work visa.
If this Peruvian undocumented worker
was the only one who could adequately
take care of her three year old child, why
didn't Baird do everything in her power to
legalize her residential status?
The crux of the controversy is one that
has been glossed over and left by the way-
side. The bottom line is that Zoe Baird
exploited the Peruvian undocumented
worker. She took advantage of her "illegal"
status in this country and benefited from the
fact that this woman, like most undocu-
mented workers in this country, have no
avenues for complaint, protest or assis-
tance.
Labor and immigration policies have
historically been designed to penalize and
criminalize those who cross borders in
search of economic and/or political secu-
rity. Chinese Exclusion Acts, "Operation
Wetback" and "Operation Bootstrap," are

them no political or economic safety-net.
In her confirmation hearings, Baird ad-
mitted that she heard about this Peruvian
couple through an employmentagency and
that the agency made it clear that both were
undocumented. While institutional and le-
gal agencies have found methods to make
undocumented workers available to em-
ployers who need cheap labor, there have
been no movements, laws or discussion
concerning the protection of these workers.
We have to recognize that labor and
immigration policies in the United States
often work together to exploit the rights of
undocumented workers who consist of
mainly immigrants from Mexico, Central
America, South America and the Carib-
bean. These policies have been historically
discriminatory and disenfranchising to
people of color.
In constructing a feministagendaaround
childcare, white middle-class feministsmust
recognize the inherent and historical ex-
ploitation of women of color in the United
States.
This is not solely a childcare issue, it is
one that also involves unfair labor and
immigration practices.

FAMILY LEAVE BILL
Working parents still need on-site childcare

OUGH LAST WEEK'S signing of the Family
Leave Bill, twice vetoed by George Bush,-
is certainly a move in the
right direction. However, if Con-
gress wants to create an America
that embraces families rather than
just tolerates them, it must makes
strides towardexpandingthebill's
impact to include more families
and provide more options. The
bill - which requires all busi-
nesses with more than50 employ-
ees to give workers up to 12 weeks
of unpaid leave for childbirth, or
for family and personal medical
emergencies - neglects employ-
ees of small businesses and leaves a
workers without salary while car- M14
ing for newborns.
Without family leave, workers

financial burden on businesses, especially small
ones. Butif the governmentis truly committedto
family, these burdens could be alle-
viated with tax breaks. However, if
the bill affects the nation similarly
to the way it affected Dade County,
Fla. - which recently enacted a
familyleavelaw-taxbreaksmay
not be necessary. The county's law
has proved not to harm business,
and in some cases, has drawn cor-
porate support.
This law sadly lacks the practi-
cal provisions for new parents and
workers facing family crisis to take
advantageof familyleave. Few can
afford to forfeit up to 12 weeks of
IHELLE GUY/Daily pay. Therefore, only the wealthy
can effectively exercise this right.
The United States must follow the

Article overlooks
other Christian
group diversities
To the Daily:
Christian groups do lack
some kinds of diversity. And
the Christians in the groups
are both aware of and rightly
concerned about that fact, as
the quotes in the Daily article
"Christian groups lack
diversity," (2/5/93) reveal.
However, the presentation of
the article and its silence on
two points implies some
falsehoods about campus
Christian groups and diversity
itself.
First, because the article
provides no perspective from
elsewhere in the University, it
might lead the reader to
believe that most campus
groups are diverse. However,
numerous organizations
struggle with diversity;
Christian groups are not
unusual in that respect.
Second, the article
concerns itself with African-
American representation, but
ignores minorities such as
Asian Americans, Latino
Americans, Native Ameri-
cans, international students
and others. It also ignores
economic, academic, geo-
irnnhic and denAminationa1

To the Daily:
In 1993, women are still
not granted basic human rights
as citizens in many countries,
even advanced industrialized
nations. In fact, as the Daily
states in the article "New
refugees, Canada grants
asylumon the basis of
gender,"'(2/9/93) "many
governments do not provide
protections for women against
domestic violence, rape,
genital mutilation or sexual
abuse."
In fact, "in some countries,
a woman reporting a rape is
arrested for adultery." This
immoral reality has and will
continue to affect women
from the international
community such as the
woman from Saudi Arabia.

Canada's gender asylum sets example

Her life has been threatened
several times for her determi-
nation to pursue higher
education and abandon
wearing a veil.
This harsh and severe
treatment of women may be
politically, culturally, socially
and religiously accepted in
some nations. However,
women desperately seeking
asylum from gender-biased
persecution should be allowed
full domestic and interna-
tional rights in the immigra-
tion policies of liberal
democratic states and
international organizations.
The United States should
follow Canada's admirable
lead in granting the woman
from Saudi Arabia asylum on
the basis of gender bias.

Furthermore, the United
Nations must amend its
current refugee policies to
include domestic and interna-
tional women's rights. The
United Nations must follow its
aims as dictated since its
creation in 1945 to "reaffirm
faith in fundamental human
rights, in the dignity and worth
of the human person, in the
equal rights of men and
women and of nations large
and small..."
Without such vitalarticles
in refugee policy for the
protection of women's rights,
feminists and non-feminists
alike should be outraged and
protest such unconstitutional
irreverence to women.
Lori Glick
LSA Senior

U.S. pressure needed to help Armenia

,
..

To the Daily:
This past weekend, the
Armenian Student's Group
held a fund-raiser to assist the
people of the newly created
Republic of Armenia. The
food, medicine and fuel crises
in Armenia are recently
drawing the attention of
people in the West.
Armenia's current
problems are similar to

mortality rate. Infants are
dying of hypothermia.
People, such as the famous
singer Lucine Zakarian, who
require dialyses are dying
because there is no electricity
to power hospitals. The
elderly, refugees who fled
from Azeri pogroms, and the
homeless from the 1988
earthquake are left without
adequate shelter and food.

It is only with U.S.
pressure that Azerbaijian and
Turkey will drop the blockade.
The Armenian students ask for
community support to make
Washington understand that it
must act now to prevent
Armenia from experiencing
further starvation. No people
should be made to suffer as the
Armenians are suffering under
the oppression of the Azeries

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