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June 10, 2002 - Image 2

Resource type:
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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2002-06-10

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, June 10, 2002

NEW ERA
Continued from Page 1
changes in the committee's views. "i think coming to an
agreement is a good thing but that doesn't alone solve the
problem," he said.
The alleged violations were noted in a published assessment
by the Workers Rights Consortium from July 2001, which stat-
ed that "the rate for cut and puncture injuries at Derby is 15
times the industry average ... (and) 46 percent of current
Derby workers have been diagnosed by a doctor with a muscu-
lo-skeletal disorder."
Jackie Bray, a member of the steering committee for Stu-
dents Organizing for Labor and Economic Equality, said
SOLE was attracted to the "alarming" health and safety stan-
dard violations in New Era's factories.
Members of SOLE, along with United Students Against
Sweatshops members from other universities, have spent the
last year pressuring colleges across the country, including the
University of Iowa and Duke University and the University of
Wisconsin, to cut their contracts iith New Era unless they
improved their working conditions.
In addition to the violations, Jane Howlad, president of the
Local 14177 chapter of the Communications Workers of
America, said workers went on strike when New Era proposed
to cut wages by 50 percent while raising production quotas.

They wanted "more hand movement for less money," she said.
Though Root admitted to not hearing of any problems with
New Era until last year, he, said the committee cautiously
reviewed its information before making its decision because
they wanted to correct violations of the labor code, not cut
jobs. "Different people have different views to get a change,"
he said. "No one wants to be hurting workers."
Howlad said students offered a "tremendous" amount of
support. Before they showed interest in the cause, no one knew
where Derby was or what the workers'produced, she added.
"I can't imagine where we would be without the stu-
dents," Howald said, adding that the pressure students
placed on campus administrators helped draw national
attention to the issues in Derby.
Bray said that she is pleased with the impact she believes
SOLE had on the company. "I think when students organize
and connect to workers' struggles, we win and t think that's
empowering and incredible. Students can change industries
and (affect the lives of) community members. We need to con-
sider these workers part of the community."
But SOLE was not the only group working to spread
awareness about the conditions at New Era. Through infor-
mational pickets in four feet of snow, letter writing cam-
paigns to Major League Baseball players and appealing to
religious and political leaders, Local 14177 informed the
public of its cause.

REGISTRY
Continued from Page 1
"It will impose danger on existing
victims and increase victims of sexual
assault," he said. "The issue of victims
is something that is so often forgotten."
He also said he agreed that the reg-
istry needs work in the area of minors
and should offer some discretion when
labeling them as sex offenders, especial-
ly where dating issues are concerned,
Frank Ochberg, the former mental
health director for the state of Michi-
gan, said he feels it makes sense to
have a "good registry."
"If there were a known sex offender
in the neighborhood, my family would
want to know," Ochberg said, although
he said he feels there are some dangers
attached.
"It is always a problem to generalize
too much and have a society-wide
approach."
He said people have to be careful
about grouping those charged with
sexual offenses together into one cate-
gory of "sex offender." Instead, he said
it is important to focus on adequate
care and treatment for sex offenders so
that they can defeat that part of them-
selves that leads them to commit sex
crimes.
"I think it's important to have the
opportunity to pay your debt to society
and leada civilized life," Ochberg said.
Like Ochberg, Kary Moss, the Michi-
gan American Civil Liberties Union
executive director, said she found fault
in the registry because it lumped togeth-
er many degrees of sexual crimes.
"It publicly broadcasts names (of
sex offenders), many of whom don't
pose a danger to society," which leads
to vigilantism, she said.
Moss said there needs to be hearings
to decide individually whether each
person poses a danger to society.
"People have served their time and
then they're forever branded," she said,
adding that there is no need to "punish
nan l .. nr4 :-V f_ :- ; "

"if there were a
known sex offender
in the neighborhood,
my family would
want to know."
- Frank Ochberg
Former Michigan Mental Health
Director

I
4

I I

The idea for the registry is derived
from Registration and Community Noti-
fication Laws, also known as Megan's
Law, which was enacted by the New Jer-
sey State Legislature in 1994.
Chuck Davis, a spokesman New Jer-
sey Attorney General, explained that
Megan's Law creates three tiers for cate-
gorizing sex-offenders. Tier one is for
those less likely to become repeat
offenders; tier two is for moderate 4
offenders and tier three is for the most
dangerous offenders and those most
likely to repeat the crime.
The current law allows the state to
provide pictures and relevant informa-
tion, such as driver's license number and
county of residence, of sex-offenders
classified either as tier two or tier three
offenders.
"The intent of the law is to help par-
ents protect children by identifyinig sex~-4
ual predators in the area," Davis said.
"I think its effective."
Last year, a federal judge limited the
amount of information available to
New Jersey residents online, a decision
that was appealed in January and is
now awaiting argument in the 3rd Cir-
cuit Court of Appeals.
tDespite the limited amnount of infor-
mation currently available, Davis said he
felt there was statewide support of the
law. "It's been upheld in both the state
and federal court (and) it's certainly
accepted within New Jersey," he said.
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