Ashe Building Compromise

I just drove by the Ashe Building, and all is quiet. No crowd, no police cars, no media except for one Channel 7 truck with two slumped and sleeping figures in the front.

The Miami Herald reports in UM students end their protest, that

The protesters ended their sit-in having agreed with the administration on three issues:

• The university would put out a statement saying it would not tolerate intimidation or coercion of workers;

• The university would encourage Unicco and the union to reach an agreement over the labor dispute;

• The university would host a meeting within 48 hours involving the union, Unicco workers, faculty and student groups.

This isn’t exactly a statement of support for card-check elections, but it’s a better outcome than one might have feared given President Shalala’s record of stomping pretty hard on people who get in her way. It’s a tribute, I think, both to the maturity of the students for accepting half a loaf — for now — and to President Shalala’s savvy in being willing to tender any loaf at all. The late Bart Giammati, Yale’s President, whom I got to know pretty well during the year I covered him for the Yale Daily News, would not have been capable of this–angry confrontation of any sort put his back up and seemed to be the only thing that could shut down the reasoning powers of his formidable brain.

Picketline blog claims victory:

At about 1.30 am Farther Frank Corbishley and the students occupying the Admissions Department in Ashe came out of the building, unarrested, unexpelled and in good health. In return for their leaving, Donna Shalala released a statement to the Associated Press (we have not double-checked that) that within 48 hours there will be good faith talks to resolve the situation with the participation of the administration, the faculty, the law faculty, the students, UNICCO, the SEIU and the workers themselves. This will be the first time the workers’ voices will have been officially heard (not to mention the voices of some of the other parties).

This is an incredible step forward. The students were magnificent and this achievement is due to their courage and integrity. They were prepared to stay there for as long as necessary; they were prepared to get arrested and possibly expelled.

That might be a bit strong, but it’s still a good outcome.

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