Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

March 21, 2002 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


5A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 21, 2002

aturday night, after weeks of intense back-and-forth during the Graduate Employees Organization's
contract negotiations with the University, the two parties settled on a contract that GEO members
voted to accept at its membership meeting the next day.
This year's negotiations were highly controversial and garnered national media atten n. GEO has sent a
mailing to all members of the union in order to complete the mandato rocess of ail-in me bership
vote. As soon as GEO leadership gets the go-ahead - which appears immin - fro its me rs, it will
sign its 12th contract with the University and the months of tension at the Univ will finall ave ended.
4 i

Analyzedtthe history of
unionization on college
campuses and established
the historical framework for
this year's negotiations.
Allowed the University and
GEO, as well as a member of
SOLE to voice their opin-
ions on the state and the
importance of the issues that
were on the bargaining table.
Concludes the series with
a viewpoint from Irfan
Nooruddin, a member of GEO
as well as Daily analysis of
what will be GEO'sl2th
contract with the University.


GEO now has a contract that the leadership calls "signable." A GEO representative writes a viewpoint and the Daily summarizes the soon-to-be-signed contract.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


For the union makes
by Irfan Nooruddin
Since 1974, the Graduate Employees Organization's
priority has been to improve undergraduate education
and the quality of life for all graduate students on this
campus. But, judging by some letters and columns in the
Daily, some students think GEO "unreasonable" in its
demands. Why? Is it unreasonable for a worker to
demand that she not be harassed or discriminated
against? Is it unreasonable for a worker to demand that
her wages and benefits allow her to provide for her fami-
ly? Recall that many people once condemned labor
unions as being "unreasonable" to strike for 8-hour
working days, weekends and work safety protections.
Remember that Martin Luther King, on the day he died,
was in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers
whose demands many thought "unreasonable." (I can
see the headline now: "My garbage is more important
than your children.")
Few today would want to be remembered as
having vilified Dr. King and his comrades as being
"unreasonable" agitators who didn't know when to
be grateful for what they already had rather than
acting like "whiny little brats" asking for abstract
concepts such as equality, freedom and justice.
GEO's fight today is hardly on the scale of the
struggles to which I've alluded, but our non-violent
work stoppage and the issues for which we fight are
inspired by those who went before us. GEO is cru-
cially important because it gives power to those
who do the bulk of undergraduate teaching at the
University and because GEO has always fought for
the entire University community and not just its
members. So why do many students cross a GEO
picket line without a second's thought and resent
the courage of their teachers to fight for a better life
for all members of this community?

us strong
For five months GEO insisted that the University
require departments to provide a minimum of five
hours of training for new GSIs. For four months the
University refused, until our pressure got them to
agree to a minimum commitment of four hours of
training. (Why the University held out on the extra
hour remains a mystery to me.) Our efforts will
improve undergraduate education at the University
and underscore why GEO is important for students.
Consider our other victories: Higher childcare subsi-
dies, protection against harassment and discrimination
in testing, training and employment, transparent post-
ing of positions and a hiring monitor for affirmative
action and better conditions for low fraction members.
That's an impressive list of achievements, confirming
GEO's position as the flagship graduate employee
union in the country.
The University wants you to believe that the costs of
our victory will cause a tuition increase. Reject such lies.
On the last day of negotiations, the difference between
the University's offer and GEO's demands was about
$800,000 per year. To put this in perspective, consider
that the University just spent a million dollars adding a
solarium to the President's house, or that the annual
salary of the eight University bargainers approaches
$700,000. Clearly the fight had little to do with money
and much to do with the University's warped priorities.
GEO's priorities, on the other hand, are reflected in our
decision to accept a lower wage increase in exchange for
higher childcare subsidies.
Issues of social justice are difficult to fight for
because being an activist is hard. It is far easier to ignore
the injustices that exist, and to go on with one's own life.
It is just as easy and far more despicable, to use the suf-
fering of one group against a union of low-income
workers fighting to improve their lives. But many do just
this when they complain about "greedy GSIs" picketing
even as waitresses, staff and others get by without child-

care. Consider the reasoning: Because management
doesn't compensate its other employees adequately,
GSIs shouldn't have better pay or benefits either. Why
not the opposite? Through GEO, unorganized labor on
this campus gains a voice with management.
A perfect example is childcare. The lack of afford-
able childcare in Ann Arbor hurts all those affiliated
with the University, from undergraduate and graduate
parents to faculty, staff and service employees. Of all
these groups, only one has the power to force the Uni-
versity to make a financial commitment to improving
the situation. As that organization, GEO has a responsi-
bility, and we willingly accept it. The $450,000 we
made the University commit to the creation of new
affordable childcare slots in Ann Arbor will benefit
everyone who lives in this community, not just our
members, a fact that many of our detractors convenient-
ly ignore. Similarly, past GEO gains such as free health
care and full tuition waivers are now enjoyed by many
graduate students, including the fellowship recipients
who wrote anti-GEO letters and the GSIs who scabbed
on March 11.
a As disappointing as the attacks of some students
have been, we recognize the support of student groups
like Students Organizing for Labor and Economic
Equality and Students of Color of Rackham, and we
hope others will join us. GEO is at the forefront of a
social justice revolution where issues of race, citizen-
ship and gender share equal space within a labor union
whose membership is united in its promise to leave no
member behind. Together we can move mountains
and we intend to use our solidarity to fight the fights
worth fighting, strengthened by our conviction that we
fight on the side of justice and that history shall prove
us right.
Nooruddin is a member of GEO's negotiating team
and a graduate student instructor in Political Science.

A 'Tentative Agreement'
A summary of what were the core strike issues
-GEO secured $450,0000 of University
funding to fulfill the recommendations
The University has of what is effectively a childcare taskforce.
added three GEO-
appointed members Childcare subsidies have been
to a "Student-Parent raised to $1700 per semester for the
Task Force Imple- first child, a $700 increase, and to
mentation Committee." $850 for other children after that,
up from $500.

The University has
agreed to let GSIs
who have quarter-
appointments (.25
fractions) to "buy
into" health and
dental care plans.

GEO also convinced
the University to
increase the amount
of the tuition waiver
for GSIs who work
at low fractions by
20 percent.

Members of the
union at fractions
below .25 have
gained a $270 per
term stipend and full
payment of any
required GSI traing.

GE was able to negotiate for its members a wage increase of
2.5 percent, 3 percent and 3 percent again for the next three years.

If members of the College of Lit-
erature, Science and the Arts fac-
ulty get raises higher than that,
GEO members will receive the
same pay increase.

If LSA faculty do not get
raises as high as m .m-
bers of GEO do, GEO i

-Explicit protection against bottom line budgeting.
- Affirmative action
- A grievance procedure and definitions of harassment.
-A more transparent hiring procedure and free job training.

Chatting with the enemy: Horowitz and the state of liberalism
After his speech Tuesday night, David Horowitz spoke with the Daily about that evening's events and his thoughts on university liberalism.
by Aubrey Henretty, Manish Raiji turnout, but due to their status as student groups, Tuesday illuminates the relevance of his criti- advance without affirmative action, the questioner ing short of shame for the intolerance that the
and Zac Peskowitz could not properly handle the crowd. Limits on cism of higher education. repeatedly interrupted him with "will you answer called tolerant left displayed.
my"..uestA[__ _._Jou---- .l iA T. --w.1uig myLibui i lv I hour1a11.,,mV L) tn. IL na., i tJn u. llT/ha av One w o


Six hundred people filled the Michigan Union
Ballroom to hear David Horowitz speak Tuesday
night - with over 400 people standing in the hall-
way, unable to enter due to the fire code. He spoke
about slave reparations and why he finds them
insulting to black Americans, about national securi-
ty and why racial profiling is empirically sound and
about historical narratives that he feels leftists are
using to push anti-American ideals.
For those who did not attend, it should be obvi-
ous by this summary that his speech was con-
tentious. For those who attended, the inflamed and
raucous crowd showed that some people wish that
Horowitz would just go away.
The question is not whether we should agree
with Horowitz. The question is whether we should
accept him as a legitimate political thinker.
While there is a vocal and incredibly dangerous
minority that sought to disrupt and silence
Horowitz' presentation, the possibility for healthy
dialogue does exist at the University. The efforts of
r the Black Student Union and the Department of
Public Safety to maintain order should be praised:
The BSU for encouraging civil conduct within the
Ballroom and DPS for managing an unwieldy
crowd in a professional and respectful manner.
Besides the expected - though still entire-
ly immature - middle fingers, loud and pre-
tentious sighs, derisive laughter and barely
whispered comments about "this mother-fuck-
ing racist," there were plenty of tense
moments. When asked about the tenor of the
meeting, Horowitz said that it had gotten
somewhat out of hand. "At the University of

their funding and influence forced YAF and the
Review to settle for a smaller venue with an ill-con-
ceived ticketing system.
This forces us to question why the University
did not take an active role in presenting Horowitz,
or on a broader scale, why conservative student
groups feel the need to bring conservative speakers
to campus themselves.
Randall Robinson, a proponent of slave repara-
tions, Donna Shalala, former President Clinton's
Secretary of Health and Human Services and
Jonathan Kozol, author of "Savage Inequalities,"
are a few of the notable speakers that have recently
been invited here at the behest of the University.
The political bent of these speakers is obvious; they
are all very liberal. The University needs to reeval-

The self-proclaimed "intelligent" liberals who
polluted Tuesday's mostly respectful gathering
with inane and ultimately self-defeating mono-
logues did nothing to advance debate. Certain liber-
al students have put on blinders, refusing to
acknowledge conservative perspectives yet hypo-
critically becoming indignant when they feel that
conservatives do not take them seriously. The intel-
lectual right voraciously consumes leftist literature;
the left is complacent, reading Chomsky and con-
sidering themselves well-informed (Horowitz
noted that "Chomsky is a sick human being"). "A
true liberal should be very concerned about the
one-sided nature of the debate," he said.
We are liberal, yet we begrudgingly agree
with his indictment of intellectual liberalism.
The antagonistic spirit
of Tuesday's event
showed a liberal cam-
pus unwilling to create
Q constructive argu-
ments, a campus that
refuses to dissect argu-
ments, instead relying
on the sort of scream-
ing retorts common on
elementary school
The first critique of
Horowitz' speech can be
ALYsSA wood/Daily quickly and summarily
while it was still calm. dismissed; Horowitz did

my question? You aren t answering my quenn
This may reflect poorly on Horowitz' oratorical tal-
ent, but it does not suggest that he shies away from
debating his points.
The second critique is that Horowitz spits the
same sort of rhetoric that he vehemently
denounces when it comes from liberals. On this
issue, Horowitz is guilty. When confronted on his
use of sensationalist device, Horowitz at first
tried to distance himself from it. "I often have to
work myself out from under what students have
done," he said of the fliers advertising his speech,
plastered with the title of his 1999 "Hating
Whitey." But Horowitz has gotten a deserved
reputation for using the bully pulpit; his posture
and language are extremely confrontational.
When pressed regarding these accusations,
Horowitz replied that his duty in the face of liber-
al rhetoric was to "teach conservatives bad man-
ners." Horowitz' ad campaigns, his speaking
tours and the phrasing in his works speak to a
somewhat self-serving nature. He denounces lib-
eral rhetoric while sinking to the same depths; he
feigns disapproval when emotions run high, yet
he ceaselessly encourages its development.
This critique of Horowitz places him squarely
in the rhetoric-flinging crowd that we address in
this viewpoint. While speaking with Horowitz,
his demeanor was very different from the man
who spoke from the lectern - he was calm,
seemingly regretful over the night's events and
was genuinely interested in discussion. Horowitz'
interpretation of the past and his statistical evi-
dence is dubious and his reliance on counter-fac-
tual history disturbs us. When speaking with us,
he was prepared to speak about his views - a
quality that he did not display on stage. Horowitz

Leransm is . nas lust is way. m vuu
embodied the worst aspects of last evening. Stand-
ing in the jammed area just outside of the Ball-
room, she repeatedly expressed her desire to shut!
down the meeting. Pressed to explain what she
hoped to accomplish by shutting down the rally,
she argued that Horowitz would not feel welcome
here and would never return to the University.
No matter how unpalatable or distasteful any-
one finds particular ideas, he or she should always
be willing to confront them. If this does not occur,
Horowitz' and other conservative intellectuals will
continue to attack liberal policies, freed from the
burdens of having to defend their ideas against seri-
ous intellectual critiques.
"Their jaws drop; they've never heard the argu-
ments," Horowitz told us, referring to liberals who,
refuse to acknowledge conservative thought. "The.
conservatives who are in think tanks (who present a;
minority point of view) are carrying the arguments;
on a lot of these issues." Perhaps the conservatism.
of American politics rests heavily on the fact that:
liberals are too busy using BAMN-style epithets{
instead of SOLE-style moderation.
"When I became a conservative, all these
names were foreign to me; I'd never heard of them'
before! That's not the sign of a good education,"
Horowitz said when asked about conservative,
views in higher education.
In essence, liberalism isn't just about being able
to quote Susan Sontag on command; it isn't just:
about reciting Paul Ehrlich's "The Population;
Bomb" in your sleep, it isn't just about breathing,
the (noxious) vapors of Cornel West's "Race Mat-.
ters." It's more than that; it's about deconstructing;
the arguments of Milton Friedman, Thomas Sow-
ell, Robert Nozick, Alan Bloom and William F.
Buckley. It's about reading The Nation and The.

David Horowitz addresses the crowd Tuesday night -

Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan