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June 20, 1980 - Image 3

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1980-06-20

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, June 20, 1980-Page 3

State Senate
bill won't hike
'U' staff strikes

A state Senate bill to legalize public
employee strikes would probably not
increase the number of walk-outs by
University staff membrs, according to
congressional, labor, and University
The legislation will only "make legal
what the (unions) have already been
doing," University Labor Attorney
William Lemmer said.
yesterday to veto the bill, under debate
in the Senate, unless a key penalty
provision referring to public school
employees is toughened.
State Senator Robert VanderLaan (R1-
Kentwood) said although public em-
ployee strikes are currently illegal,
they occur frequently because the
inhibition to strike "eroded away"
years ago. This lack of reluctance to
strike, he said, is due to the refusal of
the courts to enforce provisions to end
walk-outs until the strike "drags on and
incurs damage.''

American Federation of State,
County, and Municipal Employees
(AFSCME) local 1583 President
Dwight Newman said the proposed
legislation may actually decrease the
number of strikes in the future because
the legalization of public employee
walk-outs "forces the management to
sit down and negotiate."
In other states where similar
measures have been passed, public
employee strikes have decreased, he
personnel-including maintenance, and
food service workers, custodians, and
nurse's aides-at the Ann Arbor, Flint,
and Dearborn campuses.
"I suppose that if you polled the
University administration their reac-
tion (to the bill) would be mostly
negative," University General Counsel
Roderick Daane said.
Daane said he opposed the bill
because it may include a compulsory
See SENATE, Page &

Possible plates
Secretary of State Richard Austin displays in his office yesterday some of
the designs suggested by Michigan residents for 1984 license plates. Austin
said entries would be accepted until July 1 and a decision on the final
design would be made by the end of July.
History prof traces
views of neurotics

The American people of today are
much more similar to 17th-century
Puritans in their attitudes toward men-
tal health than they would like to admit,
according to a University assistant
professor of history.
In a book to be published in early
1981, John King discusses how people
regarded today as "neurotic" were
viewed in different periods of American
"A PERSON plagued by an obsessive
thought (an urge to commit a crime, for
example) would go to his minister in
Puritan times. . . The minister would
tell him it was a sign that he was
'saved,' since he had the thought but
didn't carry it out," King said in an in-
terview Tuesday.
"But by the end of the 19th century
(the Victorian period), he would be
going to a psychiatrist who would say,
'You are sick' and ask him to enter an
insane asylum," he continued. "The
Puritan culture would make you feel
good about yourself, whereas the Vic-
torians might make people spend their
lives suffering needlessly."
King said it is important to find out
how different cultures dealt with men-
tal illness because "people live and die
over these issues." He cited the Salem
witchcraft trials as an example of how
controversial the definition of
"neurotic" can become.
"THE PURITANS saw these people
as possessed by the devil ... Even the
women saw themselves as victims.
This explanation was good because it
allowed the victim to make sense of
what was happening," King said.
He added that it is important for the
mentally ill to make sense out of what

they experience. "We attempt to do this
today all the time," King explained. "A
housewife who feels sick and out of love
with her husband will be told she is
having an 'identity crisis' and she can
look at it in that light."
It is difficult to view history as a
"progression" of time because of these
cultural differences, according to King.
"There is no 'progression' in the way
Americans have viewed mental illness.
In the case of obsession, the standards
of the Puritans were better than the
Victorians, but in the case of witch-
craft, they ended up. worse for the
"ONE HAS TO look at each time
period separately and see how the
people then viewed mental illness,
rather than taking the psychiatric
theories of today and putting them on
the past,"he said.
King seemed to feel that today's em-
phasis on mental health and psychology
is a throwback to America's Puritan
roots. "The Puritans looked on
America as the 'devil's landscape,' and
so do we. To them, in order to prove
sainthood, one had to first go through a
'spiritual wilderness,' and this nation
was their wilderness. Today, what does
President Carter do about the oil crun-
ch? He doesn't offer an economic
solution, but instead tells us, 'We are
in a spiritual crisis.' It's a way we have
of looking at all of America," he said.
His new book will focus on five
American intellectuals of the Victorian
period including German sociologist
Max Weber and Henry James Sr.,
father of novelist Henry James. It will
discuss the Victorian construction of
mental pathology, King said.

Iopsiae~r. . ._
With thousands of "Topsiders" walking around Ann Arbor, it's easy to
forget that the shoes were originally intended for use on sailboats. Wearing
their Topsiders where they belong are two crewmen of an America's Cup
boat in Newport, Rhode Island.

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