Strike Roulette Starts Today

The Orlando Sentinel has a better story on the UM strike than any I’ve seen in the Herald, although the Herald does report that the limited strike starts today.

Perhaps because the University is not actually the party against whom the union is striking, the consensus seems to be that if there’s no actual picket line at your building, it’s OK to go in (and, I hope, to leave it if the strikers turn up later?). As there are only 450 or so workers in the would-be bargaining unit, and we have three large campuses, they can’t be everywhere. So it’s sort of strike roulette. I do find this odd: I know that at Yale we considered the campus off limits whether or not picketers happened to be in a particular place. Perhaps there’s some subtlety about secondary boycott law I’m missing here.

Or maybe it’s just the times: shortly before I left Miami, a colleague told me an awful story. He opened class on Monday with some remarks about how he would deal with the strike, and after a while some students put up their hands and said, in effect, “what strike?”. They had heard nothing about it. Then another student put up a hand and asked what this “picket line” thing was that he was talking about. It emerged that the student had never seen or heard of a picket line in his entire life. Not in the news, movies nor books. The labor movement is indeed in trouble.

This entry was posted in U.Miami: Strike'06. Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Strike Roulette Starts Today

  1. bricklayer says:

    Csbr bttr dst ff hs cmm wrkrs f th wrld prpgnd, cn’t hv stdents thnkng fr thmslvs nw, cn w?

  2. Michael says:

    I warned you before: It’s one thing to insult me, quite another to insult others. You will be disemvowelled when you do this.

  3. Andrew says:

    That’s why it’s important for professors to do what’s right and teach by example. Do not cross the picket line even if there isn’t a physical one.

    Don’t give up on the students just because they don’t know the history of the labor movement…that doesn’t mean they won’t be sympathetic if given half a chance and a good example to follow.

  4. zwichenzug says:

    Some contracts, and I think this is generally true of Teamsters contracts, have a strike solidarity clause that requires there to be a physical picket line in order for workers to be within their rights to refuse to cross it. And, generally, a distinction is made between a picket line and an informational picket, where a picket line means that there is some minimal number of people with signs saying ‘on strike.’ When I’ve encountered teamsters,the minimum number has been three picketers.

    Given the way that universitys are laid out, it’s sometimes an existential question as to whether a building is picketed or not. Some unions have picketed a central location on campus and declared that picket to be symbolic of a picket of the whole campus. Where university’s have “entrances” (generally, symbolic gates named after wealthy alumni) these have been picketed to ease the semiotic translation.

  5. Adam says:

    Ha. Labor movement is in trouble? How about: Has run its course. Liberals of the world: Unite!

  6. bricklayer says:

    Andrew-
    You’re right, students should know the history of the labor movement.
    Perhaps this will help.
    And of course about the Teamsters too…

    Sorry if truth insults anyone this time.

  7. Joey says:

    Fellow students had a similar response in my Business Associations class this morning. When our Proffessor suggested moving class to a Church across the street from the university the class was completely indifferent about the matter. No one expressed strong sentiments either way, and the idea ended up being nixed because the Church didnt have enough outlets to charge our laptops.

    I dont get the sense the prospect of a strike is stirring student passions around campus.

  8. bricklayer says:

    What about the minority of students who wouldn’t feel comfortable in a Christian Church? Why not a Mosque or Temple?

    In the minds of UM Law profs does the workers’ right to extort trump the students’ contractual right to a secular environment?

  9. Michael says:

    Are there any such people? I’ve never met one. Certainly, as a Jew I would have no trouble having a class in a church or a mosque–as long as it doesn’t involve a prayer or a sermon and assuming the seating wasn’t too uncomfortable. Why should I?

  10. Sue Ann Campbell says:

    Of course the Law School kids at UM dont’ know what a picket line is, they are post Regan babies. Regan, that great communicator, managed to stop communicating with the air traffic controllers and bust their union and it’s been downhill ever since.

    Is it any wonder that these “well educated” but decidely well off twenty somethings have no clue?

  11. Andrew says:

    Brick –
    You’re right, labor has a checkered past. However, I challenge you to find something wrong with the basic premise of disenfranchised workers banding together to demand better treatment, and those of us who are not having a valid interest in living in a community where people earn a living wage. Sounds like a market solution to me.

  12. Sue Ann Campbell says:

    Regarding the “religious” aspect of having a class in a church/worship space of a different religion than yourself. Does the same feeling of discomfort apply when you’re in a car crash and sent to a “Catholic” or “Christian” Hospital ER?

    What about when nursing sister from a religious order or a Muslim doctor approaches the bedside? Is the religious belief of a hospital or the religious practice of the medical personnel a significant part of the treatment you will receive? Then why is the religious affiliation of a “room” all that important? Perhaps being there you might actually experience something from an angle that you had never considered previously. It’s called an educational experience.

    I feel that if I don’t understand the significance of an object, or believe in the faith, a picture of Jesus or a statue of Mary is just another decoration.

  13. bricklayer says:

    Andrew: Assuming I agreed with you, use tax dollars to solve the problem, not insolvent students who are as poor as the workers. The faculty have always artfully dodged the idea that the University should be run as a business. They’ve always denounced the idea that students are customers. But here, they’re trying to use the business model of passing along labor costs to customers. But we’re not customers. We’re poor students, in a state where illegal immigration and undocumented below-minimum-wage-labor is rampant. Is it really fair to ask insolvent students to make sacrifices when right across the street Coral Gables homes are landscaped by $3/hr workers? (I wonder if the landscapers of the UM professors’ homes have health benefits?!) Shouldn’t the State solve the problem generally by allocating the burden where its due? Consider the law students who go into public service, they’ll be paying off their loans for years. Why should they be forced to solve society’s problems?

    Don’t say that Shalala can just go raise more money. That same money could be used for students. I know UM is a private school, but wouldn’t you be opposed to a school-book tax? How is this different?

  14. Buster says:

    I am in the BA class, and I feel very uncomfortable having class in a church. I go to a secular university that has perfectly adequate (albeit somewhat dated) classrooms. It’s one thing if the school’s classrooms are made unavailable, but the rooms are there, and they are as clean as they ever are (as a matter of fact, when I walked out of class today, one of the UNICCO workers who normally works at the law school was outside doing her job).

    As for Ms. Campbell’s comment about “these ‘well educated’ but decidely well off twenty somethings [who] have no clue,” these students have some of the highest debt load in the country, and are the ones who would end up footing the bill for any increase in salary or benefits that the UNICCO workers receive. That’s not to say that UNICCO employees don’t deserve better pay, but I don’t see Fischl, Abraham, Froomkin (I’m guessing you’re not crossing the picket line based on your comment about being glad you have lots of books at home), Alfieri, etc. volunteering to take a pay cut if the University puts the corresponding savings towards increasing UNICCO salaries. We know that Miller (Med school), Kozyak, BankUnited, etc. aren’t going to sponsor UNICCO salaries, so students will end up paying for this. While Dean Lynch thinks that UM Law is still a great bargain, it’s pretty damn expensive. We could fire the library’s Document Delivery Assistant and make these profs pick up their own books…… maybe walking down to the first floor will save the U some health care money too.

  15. Andrew says:

    Brick – Poor students? Give me a break – take a look at the parking lot. The fact is, anyone who could contemplate coming to a school like this on anything less than a full ride is far from poor. “As poor as the workers”? Do you think any of us had the experience of growing up in real poverty?

    I’m sick of hearing about how we have to take out these gigantic loans. I had to also. You know what this is? The smallest violin in the world playing for the poor law students with their student loan debt.

    As for the rest: where, exactly, is the “burden due”? Higher minimum wage laws? That still requires UM to pay more – and by your reasoning to get it from us – so we’re back at square one. And use tax dollars to fund a wage increase at a private university? I’m not certain that would work…

    Buster – So your solution for better pay (which I’m glad to see you’re for) is to lower the salaries of the professors YOU are paying $31,000 per year to teach you law, thus ensuring a lower caliber of teaching and new hiring, because you 1) feel uncomfortable (for reasons important enough to go unstated) attending class in a church and 2) have those impossibly high student loans (cue violin) that are so not worth it and you’re just kicking yourself in the head regretting your decision to come to law school? Just to clarify.

  16. Andrew says:

    Brick – Poor students? Give me a break – take a look at the parking lot. The fact is, anyone who could contemplate coming to a school like this on anything less than a full ride is far from poor. “As poor as the workers”? Do you think any of us had the experience of growing up in real poverty?

    I’m sick of hearing about how we have to take out these gigantic loans. I had to also. You know what this is? The smallest violin in the world playing for the poor law students with their student loan debt.

    As for the rest: where, exactly, is the “burden due”? Higher minimum wage laws? That still requires UM to pay more – and by your reasoning to get it from us – so we’re back at square one. And use tax dollars to fund a wage increase at a private university? I’m not certain that would work…

    Buster – So your solution for better pay (which I’m glad to see you’re for) is to lower the salaries of the professors YOU are paying $31,000 per year to teach you law, thus ensuring a lower caliber of teaching and new hiring, because you 1) feel uncomfortable (for reasons important enough to go unstated) attending class in a church and 2) have those impossibly high student loans (cue violin) that are so not worth it and you’re just kicking yourself in the head regretting your decision to come to law school? Just to clarify.

  17. bricklayer says:

    Andrew has convinced me to abandon my burgeoise materialism. He makes a strong point about the cars in the parking lot. Really, when you think about it, the government should make one standardized car for everyone. Given its friendly neighbors, Miami is just as good a place as any to start a “revolution” if you will, when you think about it.

    Further, Micahel and Sue have convinced me that religious sensitivity isn’t all that necessary. They really got me thinking that religion is nothing more than..hmm..what’s the word…an…opiate?

    Vive la proletariat!

  18. Sue Ann Campbell says:

    Buster:

    Your student debt load was your choice. You choose temporary poverty (and it’s not even poverty it ‘s just not extravagent living) in the hopes that you will be able to make up for it later in life with higher salaries. You could have avoided your poverty by going to a cheaper school, FSU or UF if you are a Florida resident, your loan would be paid off in no time. No one forced you into debt.

    People who work for UNICO choose to work so they won’t be poor,so they can eat and pay their bills, but they are poor anyhow because you can’t pay to get into UM on $6 an hour . The money for need based scholarships is practically gone. There are very few scholarships available, all pahsed out so banks can make money loaning you the money. If you make $6 an hour can you get a loan? I doubt it. The Law School parking lot is filled with late model cars and SUV’s, because even though law students are in debt they can still afford the car. UNICO workers can barely afford to buy the junkers and clunkers they drive, many don’t own cars – too expensive – but rely on public transportation for their needs. No matter how hard they work they are still in debt, and at $6 an hour they will remain that way.

  19. bricklayer says:

    Right on Sue! The campus police should sieze those cars and give them to the UNICO workers, or recycle them into plowshares. But only the cars in the student lot. The professor’s lot (the “party” lot) should be left untouched as clearly our leaders “need” them.

    Hmm…there is one adjunct lit skills prof who rolls up in a Porsche. What do we do with him?

    I think you astutely recognized the broader issue, namely the mere existence of a private university like UM. As you point out, perfectly good government schools are available. Revolution is indeed blowing in the wind. Exciting times we live in indeed!

  20. Sue Ann Campbell says:

    My point is that debt is a choice. Poverty is not.

  21. Buster says:

    Sue, do you realize that UM staff and undergraduates park in the “law school” lot as well as law students? When I drove my used car to campus today, I parked next to a BMW with a staff parking decal. Let me get this straight, all Miami law students drive fancy cars and will be able to magically pay off their debt? No one says that law students are in poverty, all me and others have said is that those professors who are strongly behind this “stirke” should put their money where their mouth is. It’s not hard to cancel class or hold it at a church and then return to your office in the law school. Forget symbolism, return your paycheck or donate it to a health trust or the SEIU.

    “[D]ebt is a choice[,] [p]overty is not,” yet those who choose debt to avoid poverty bear the burden of both, while those with neither debt nor poverty park in the staff and faculty lots. Sounds fair to me.

    Speaking of choice, while many of us would have liked to go to public law schools, those of us who are in Miami for reasons other than the sun have no other accredited law school to go to.

    Sue, what is your plan? I’m guessing that you think Miami should demand increased wages for UNICCO workers. How does the school pay for it? If you want students to shoulder the burden (which I think you do), is it because you hate their nice cars (I hear that next year the financial aid office is factoring in $500 a month car lease payments into the cost of attendance), or do you envy the $25-30K salary they’re going to make from the State Attorney? Or how about the PD with no loan forgiveness?

    Sue, out of curiousity, did you take your lunch break at 9:25am and 11:45am today, or you trashing Miami law students on their own dime? The law school is pretty small, do we really need assistance delivering documents within it, or can we put your salary towards healthcare for contractors? At minimum you seem to have enough time on yours hands that the school could switch your job to a part-time work-study student with no benefits (yes, there are work study students at UM – they need the money to pay for their Beamers).

    PINK INK?

  22. Mark says:

    It’s good to see some–dare I say it?–discourse on the matter. I am having a hard time finding good reporting or information anywhere. NBC 6 has something, finally with at least a few quotes from students:

    http://www.nbc6.net/news/7611551/detail.html

    I heard about the BA class “discussion” too. The big problem there is that it happened on Wed. and, presumably, those who feel strongest about not crossing the picket line were already absent.

    I emailed the administration last night in an attempt to summarize some of the problems I see. Sadly, there is a total lack of leadership at the top (University or law school). So many questions, no answers. Last night’s email from Dean Coker barely scratched the surface of the problems. After an appropriately deferential and diplomatic opening, I attempted to sketch out the problems that have not been addressed. In the email I wrote:

    [begin email]

    The problems can be grouped into two distinct scenarios: either a professor moves class off campus, or does not.

    PROF. MOVES CLASS OFF CAMPUS:

    For the students who support this move, obviously there is no problem as they will support the strike however possible.

    However, for those who have no objection to crossing the picket line, some problems arise. For example: 1) 8:00 Prof. moves off campus while 9:30 Prof. does not, making it impossible not to be late to the 9:30; 2) student lives right by campus, has no car, and thus no means to get to the off campus site; 3) lack of ADA facilities at off campus site; 4) off campus site is at a church and student has a religious (or atheist) objection; 5) student has terrible handwriting and only takes notes on laptop but there are no outlets at the off campus site. This last one is dubious but I have heard every one of these objections raised in the last 24 hours.

    PROF. CONTINUES CLASS ON CAMPUS:

    For the students who, like these professors, have no objection to crossing the picket line, this again poses no problem.

    However, problems arise for the students who refuse on moral or political grounds to cross the picket line.

    The primary problem here, I think, is a lack of information. Are all professors required to inform the registrar of their strike policy? I ask because, so far, many professors have not announced policies one way or another. This leaves students wondering: if I miss class beyond the number of allowed unexused absenses, am I really going to get a lower grade for my political and moral objection? Harsh as it may be, I understand that the answer might be yes. But if professors do not announce a policy, it is impossible for students to make a truly informed calculation of what they are risking by honoring the strike. (Note too that exclusively in-class strike policy announcements made after Tuesday are unhelpful to those who have begun honoring the strike.)

    A related question is whether faculty are arranging to have classes taped for the benefit of objectors. Those who refuse to cross the picket line are presumably prepared to suffer some consequences. But the scope of the consequences remains unclear when professors and the administration are silent.

    Lastly, it should be noted that while a “tough love” stance–i.e., school is open for business and if professors hold classes students are expected to be there–may be a reasonble solution, I think to adopt such a stance would be to ignore the political and social reality of the situation. Who is “the law school”? To many, it’s the professors. And many of them are trying to lead by example by not crossing the picket line. If the same entity–the law school–turns around and effectively punishes students for honoring the strike, that sends a wickedly confusing message to people.

    [end email]

    As I said in the email and will say here, I don’t know what the solution is. It would be nice if the administration encouraged (or required?) professors to provide amnesty for students who refuse to cross the picket line. I know some professors have decided to stop taking attendance for the pendency of the strike. That is a fair solution, but it is not compelled.

  23. SueAnnCampbell says:

    Yes dear Buster, after working for the University for a mere 18 years I do know about the fact that the Law School Lot , what is left of it, is for the use of the music school, law school and staff as well as the undergrads. I have probably been at UM for longer than many tenured faculty. I’m here long enough to remember a $15 parking fee yearly and a lots “specified” for faculty, employees and administration that was not a gated higher paying lot. You do know fauculty pay almost double the parking fee to use those lots, IF they can get in on the lottery system, you do, don’t you. And after all that time in service to the university, with a master’s degree granted at this hallowed institution, I still do not clear $25,000.00 per annum despite the many “raises” I have received. Oh and yeah, I know about work study students and how much they make, this department employs two of them to help get the job that isn’t necessary here to be done.

    As for THE Document Delivery “job” here. If it’s so unimportant to you then you are welcome to come do it for a week and deal with the professors, outside attorneys and various departments to which the department feeds or is supplied by. “Document Delivery” is not a mail room delivery service, so until you know what the job it don’t diminish it. Ask before you assume, might be a good thing for a lawyer to learn don’t you think?

    By law, even though we aren’t union here at UM , staff get two fifteen minute breaks and at least 1 30 minute lunch break, however the university graciously allows us to take an hour, unpaid of course. So if I take a break and post it’s still my time. But gee thank you very much for keeping such a close eye on how I spend my day. Out of curiousity, do you spend 24 hours a day studying to justify the huge sum of money you spent on tuition?

    No other accredited law schools in Miami? Obviously you never did the research, Try Nova Southeastern University or St. Thomas University, both ABA accredited Law Schools, one in Miami Shores, just off the Palmetto at NW 32nd and the other in Broward County very close to the Miami Dade County line and both private so the cost is higher. If the choice was convience over cost then you have to pay the price for making that choice. FIU is provisionally accredited so far, student could go there too if you wanted to save money.

  24. Joe says:

    “If the choice was convience over cost then you have to pay the price for making that choice”

    Sue,

    This is interesting. So someone who decides to go to UM and take on the tuition fees is responsible for their lot in life, but you are not? Did anyone hold a gun to your head forcing you to stay at your awful job where you barely clear 25K a year? Perhaps you should have chosen a different degree or an alternate path in life. We all have choices, yes, even you, and even the workers of UNICCO. Class warfare is a fun game to play, especially when you are dissatisfied with the path you have CHOSEN to take in life.

  25. Sue Ann Campbell says:

    Buster,
    I never said I was forced to stay at my job. If I did please point me the quote. It is something you infer because you feel it’s necessary to point out that I am here and I could be elsewhere. Not that my personal life is any of your business, I will supply it to you in a private post if you want the real reason in quite excrutiating detail I sill supply it to you all you have to do it ask. However I will not post my life in detail in a bog as well read as this one.

    For the record I have never said that I was not satisified with my lot in life, at least not here. Why? Did you know that the UM employee handbook makes it a “bad thing” to do? We must not criticize the university or cause the university any embarassment. (And you thought our jobs ended when we left the campus?) Gee golly gosh, everything here is just peachy, yes sirreebob.

    I have made comments on labor relations and unions and the lack of support for such things at the University here, using some of my own experiences to illustrate a few points. However you seem more interested in proving to me that my job is useless, and my life not worth living because of the choices I have made.

    I have made the choices I made because I wanted to. Because choice means you weigh one option against another and pick the one that is best. Sure there were times I could have left, but the consequences to my family had to be condsidered. Now there are other considerations. As I said if you want the long boring details just ask – personally, or better still. Read my blog. Michael has ithe link listed on the left side of the page. I’ll make sure you know as much as you think you want to.

  26. Andrew says:

    I agree with you, Mark. I have been emailing extensively, and have received more replies from other parts of the administration than our own deans – actually, no replies at all from our deans. It is weird, especially considering that one of them is a labor specialist.

    We all make choices, true, but it would be a different world entirely if they all had the desired consequences.

    You know what? It’s not so funny, in this situation, to ask whether anyone put a gun to anyone’s head forcing them to stay at their awful job. I have worked with people to whom that actually happened. Probably some of the UNICCO employees who are showing up for work have that in the back of their heads. I’ve known a lot of old, poor people, and you know what? They get that job and hold on no matter what – never rock the boat. They have about as much chance of getting a better education or job as I have of lactating.

    It’s very comfortable to go on about class warfare being a game if you have never been of or known anyone of a different class. It makes you feel good to go on about how people have choices and so on if you’ve always had them. Ultimately though, you’ll be judged by how you treat those less fortunate than yourself.

  27. student says:

    I fail to see the significance of professors “not crossing the picket line” by cancelling classes. Are these profressors actually sacrificing anything? Sure, it is a nice symbolic gesture. But a better symbolic gesture would be to forego their salaries (like the workers who are really striking) for the days they miss. (Perhaps they could even donate this money to union) Do you really think the workers on strike at Miami care if some professor, who is making 5x more than they are and getting paid for the days they miss, is taking a day off on their behalf? What about the students who are choosing to miss class in a show of “solidarity”? What exactly is their sacrifice? Most of these students are probably at home watching TV or at the beach. They certainly aren’t giving up a paycheck. I think it is insulting to the workers (who are giving up a lot by taking a stand) for professors and students (who are giving up nothing) to skip out on class and act like they understand the plight of the working class. Enjoy your days off guys!

  28. another student says:

    I am one of the not-so-blissfully ignorant twenty-somethings referred to in the above comments. I admit that I had never given much thought to “crossing the picket line” until Froomkin’s recent posts.

    What I am skeptical of is the idea that students and professors (but especially students) are morally compelled to stay away from the law school while the UM/UNICO janitors are on strike. I simply don’t see the connection. Even as a symbolic gesture, that we are all a part of the same institution, it seems feeble.

    I would especially like to hear a response from Mark and other students who didn’t go to class because of the strike. What compels this response? How did you and other students spend the strike day-off? Did you march in the picket line, or do you know of other students who have?

    I don’t understand how one’s absence from class will help or support these workers and their cause. If you didn’t get amnesty for the absence, would you then hesitate to miss class? What are you giving up by accepting your professors’ go-ahead to miss class?

  29. Sue Ann Campbell says:

    Dear student;

    Ever heard the term moral support?

    That’s what someone does when they approve of your action, but have no way of suffering through it with you.

    Knowing that other’s care is often a great boost to ones cause.

  30. Joe says:

    “It’s very comfortable to go on about class warfare being a game if you have never been of or known anyone of a different class. It makes you feel good to go on about how people have choices and so on if you’ve always had them. Ultimately though, you’ll be judged by how you treat those less fortunate than yourself.”

    Andrew,

    Wow…a shocking amount of assumptions are riddled throughout these statements. You know nothing about me, yet seem to think I have spent my entire life in the Hamptons or Beverly Hills. Why? It’s just as easy to go on about class warfare if the decisions and choices you make have led to your current state. It’s also a lot easier to blame society, “the man,” capitalism, or Ronald Reagan than it is to get off your ass and make something of yourself.

    I was merely speaking of choices to illustrate the hypocrisy of Sue Ellen’s statement. Furthermore, I resent the implication that me or anyone else who doesn’t blindly accept the ideas of a living wage, free health care for all, and the other liberal talisman’s view those “less fortunate” with contempt or apathy. Then again, what would Liberalism be if it didn’t ooze with moral indignation.

    Cheers!

  31. student says:

    Dear Sue Ann,

    The problem with that argument is that the professors could suffer through it with them… they could do this by donating their salary from each day they are on “strike” to the union. I don’t understand how cancelling class and still getting paid is a show of moral support. I will concede that if professors and students are actually sitting out in the sun for 8 hours with the workers participating in demonstrations, that this can boost their cause. I would hope that, at the very least, those professors and students who are choosing to miss class are doing this. However, it is much easier to do this when you know you will be able to return to work/school with no consequences.

  32. Joe says:

    “It’s very comfortable to go on about class warfare being a game if you have never been of or known anyone of a different class. It makes you feel good to go on about how people have choices and so on if you’ve always had them. Ultimately though, you’ll be judged by how you treat those less fortunate than yourself.”

    Andrew,

    Wow…a shocking amount of assumptions are riddled throughout these statements. You know nothing about me, yet seem to think I have spent my entire life in the Hamptons or Beverly Hills. Why? It’s just as easy to go on about class warfare if the decisions and choices you make have led to your current state. It’s also a lot easier to blame society, “the man,” capitalism, or Ronald Reagan than it is to get off your ass and make something of yourself.

    I was merely speaking of choices to illustrate the hypocrisy of Sue Ellen’s statement. Furthermore, I resent the implication that me or anyone else who doesn’t blindly accept the ideas of a living wage, free health care for all, and the other liberal talisman’s view those “less fortunate” with contempt or apathy. Then again, what would Liberalism be if it didn’t ooze with moral indignation.

    Cheers!

  33. Andrew says:

    Yeah, I was hoping you’d notice all that. Now apply it.

    When you get down to it, what philosophy worth living for doesn’t “ooze with moral indignation”?

    Cheers!

  34. Joe says:

    The big logical leap is that it’s a philosophy “worth living.”

  35. Mark says:

    All–but esp. “student” and “another student”–

    The main point of my response is this: the strike is only effective to the extent it disrupts the daily workings of the University. Think of it this way: if every single student and every professor refused to show up all day Wed. and Thurs., I suspect this thing would be settled by now (or would be very shortly). The more who honor the stirke–i.e., don’t cross the picket line–the stronger the message to the University. The stronger the message, the more likely it is that the Univ. higher-ups will meet the demands of workers (and the community).

    To “student”– the professors cannot really give up their salary today in any way that would solve the problem. If I’m a professor and hand over $5K to the first Unicco worker I see, the service contract remains unaffected. Institutional and contractual reform is what’s needed. That cannot come from the professors; it must come from the university management.

    As for the student sacrifice, I might be in the minority here but I genuinely enjoy being at class. In recognition of the strike, I missed Prof. Massey’s and Prof. Gudridge’s classes today. I love class. Every word out of Prof. Massey’s mouth is golden. It’s the highlight of my week. Same for Guddy. So that is not an insignificant consequence. Beyond that, if I continue to the honor the strike, and if, say, Prof. Massey continues taking attendance, my grade necessarily will suffer.

    For “another student” I think I answered most of your questions. You asked how I spent my day at home. I stayed home, took care of some schoolwork, and spent some quality time thinking through the various dynamics of the strike. I did not go to the beach; I watched zero TV. I did not join student protests on campus because I did not know of any. I hear there is one tomorrow. I am looking for opportunities to further the cause of the workers. But, as I said above, I think staying away as a sign of solidarity is not an insignificant action. If we all did it, crippling the university, drawing banner headlines, the administration would be forced to find a solution.

    I really appreciate this dialogue. Let’s keep it going….

  36. student says:

    Mark,

    Will you continue to honor the strike if it lasts through the exam period?

    Really, the main point is that students and professors aren’t really giving the workers any support unless they are marching with them on the picket line. Even if every student and professor decided not to show up to campus, it is still an empty gesture unless every student and professor is out there on the line. It seems like if one really cared about the cause of the workers, they would do more than the bare minimum. Besides, if classes are still being conducted off campus, it is not disrupting the University. If anything, it is helping the situation. If you really want to disrupt the university in this particular situation, you can do so by leaving your trash in the classroom and pissing all over the toilet seat. This is more likely to disrupt the daily workings of the university (and be noticed) than sitting in a classroom off campus or staying at home.

    As for the professors, I did not say that they should give their daily salaries to the workers. If they really sympathize with their cause, they should give it to the union so they can hire better negotiators. Or, better yet, as lawyers themselves, they could directly participate in the negotiations.

    Just so you know, the strikers have been marching all around the outside of campus. If you are looking to show support to the workers today, the are holdong a demonstration in the parking lot behind the Communications School at 1:30pm.

    I would like to make it clear that I fully sympathize and support the cause of the workers. But I just don’t see the significance of canceling, skipping or moving classes off campus in this situation, without anything more.

  37. Sue Ann Campbell says:

    Joe,
    The name is Sue ANN not Sue or Sue Ellen, My first name is a compound word, two words separated by a space, both words begining with a capital letter.

    Thank you.

  38. Michael says:

    Every little bit helps. It’s important in all aspects of life to be very suspicious of the argument that “because I can’t do a lot, I needn’t even do a little.”.

  39. student says:

    Again, it is not that the professors and students “CAN’T” do a lot. In fact, they are quite capable of doing much more (given the free time they now have as a result of skipping/canceling class). In lieu of going home and thinking about the situation, the professors and students could at least join the picket line. I am still unconvinced that skipping class and going home is even doing “a little.”

  40. Joe says:

    Sue Ann….my apologies.

    I think I was watching the Seinfeld about the Oh Henry! candy bar heiress Sue Ellen Mishke when I typed that post. Do you have a middle name?

  41. another student says:

    “It’s important in all aspects of life to be very suspicious of the argument that ‘because I can’t do a lot, I needn’t even do a little.'”

    True, and I don’t think anyone here has made that argument. (see student’s last couple comments)

    Even assuming what Mark says is true (that all students and professors missing class would disrupt the workings of the University to such a degree that it would result in swifter negotiations), that is not what has happened. In fact, there has been no concerted effort to achieve that goal. At the law school, I have seen no flyers, banners, tables, emails of any kind from any students encouraging their peers to stay at home. The only word-of-mouth buzz is which professors aren’t counting absences this week.

    I can’t help but be skeptical of Sue Ann’s “moral support” argument. Refraining from going to campus, and nothing more, does not communicate support to workers who are actively picketing and have no idea who you are.

    (I, too, am enjoying the dialogue, and thanks Mark for answering my questions)

  42. another student says:

    “It’s important in all aspects of life to be very suspicious of the argument that ‘because I can’t do a lot, I needn’t even do a little.'”

    True, and I don’t think anyone here has made that argument. (see student’s last couple comments)

    Even assuming what Mark says is true (that all students and professors missing class would disrupt the workings of the University to such a degree that it would result in swifter negotiations), that is not what has happened. In fact, there has been no concerted effort to achieve that goal. At the law school, I have seen no flyers, banners, tables, emails of any kind from any students encouraging their peers to stay at home. The only word-of-mouth buzz is which professors aren’t counting absences this week.

    I can’t help but be skeptical of Sue Ann’s “moral support” argument. Refraining from going to campus, and nothing more, does not communicate support to workers who are actively picketing and have no idea who you are.

    (I, too, am enjoying the dialogue, and thanks Mark for answering my questions)

  43. Sue Ann Campbell says:

    A middle name? Not officially. However the nuns in grade school told me that after my Confirmation my Confirmation name officially became my middle name and was duly inserted in my “PERMANENT RECORD” which as we all know is not ever to be changed – EVER. So written in stone it is and my Social Security card (I am old enough to not had one issued at birth) so states it.

    Will I supply it to you? No.

  44. another student says:

    sorry for posting twice, but I got a “server error” both times. Just FYI for Michael

  45. Mark says:

    I have a brief minute to respond to the very legitimate questions posed. In the end, I suppose we can never know exactly what effect defiance (i.e., moving class off campus, not attending class) will have on the fate of the workers. But I still maintain my basic theory: causing a row puts pressure on the administration to solve the problem.

    Flip around my earlier hypothetical: if nobody did anything to support directly or indirectly the workers’ cause, I suspect the administration would not budge. Unicco would find replacement workers and the status quo would continue. It’s true, the workers have no idea I am sitting at home. But if (and I know it’s an “if”) the musical classrooms forces the administration to address the issue–because I think it’s clear that things on campus have been disrupted this week–then there is a better chance the workers’ demands will be addressed.

    As for how long I will honor the strike…I don’t know. At some point I will have to take exams so I can graduate. I got principles, but I ain’t stupid. I also point back to one of my earlier concerns: it’s tough not having any information on how exactly professors will treat absences by objectors.

  46. Sue Ann Campbell says:

    Mark:
    Well if you don’t know something isn’t the easiest way to find out is to ask. So call your professor or e mail him/her and ask how absences are treated.

    As for moral support, “another student”, do you know what support is being offered behind the scenes? Are supporters supplying lunches for picketers? Are supporters contributing to a strike fund so that those who are not working can receive some money to pay their bills as they protest? Do you know or are you just assuming that because no one is talking out loud about the personal kind of support they are providing that none is forthcoming?

  47. another student says:

    “As for moral support, “another student”, do you know what support is being offered behind the scenes? Are supporters supplying lunches for picketers? Are supporters contributing to a strike fund so that those who are not working can receive some money to pay their bills as they protest? Do you know or are you just assuming that because no one is talking out loud about the personal kind of support they are providing that none is forthcoming?”

    Sue Ann — I’ve assumed nothing of the sort. If there is actual support going on, I think that is wonderful, but it’s not what my argument was addressing. My point, again, was that “[r]efraining from going to campus, and nothing more, does not communicate support to workers who are actively picketing and have no idea who you are.” I remain skeptical of the “moral support” and “solidarity” arguments in this situation.

  48. Andrew says:

    I will cross the picket line on Monday to give my Moot Court Oral Argument. I asked my prof if we could do it somewhere else, and apparently we can’t. I hope that makes you guys feel appropriately self-righteous, and that you can enjoy the thought of me doing something I feel to be morally repugnant.

  49. SueAnnCampbell says:

    Andrew:

    Welcome to the world, where moral (and other )choices are never easy.

    Not many people care enough to even feel replused by boing something they disprove of. That’s what makes you a good person, no matter what your choice. You care.

  50. student says:

    Andrew,

    If it is so morally repugnant to you, why not skip your oral argument? The workers on strike are skipping out on paychecks, some of which they desparately need to pay rent and feed their families. Most of them need the paychecks more than you need to be heard at an oral argument. Why not take a stand? It would be a powerful statement for you to skip your oral argument. Of course, you would actually have to sacrifice something for your cause (albeit not as much as the workers) and the cause probably is not worth it to you. It is easy to take be self-righteous and say “I do not cross picket lines” when there are no consequences for not crossing them. It’s a little harder now, eh?

    The reality is that going to an oral argument (or class) is NOT crossing the picket line. You are:
    (1) Not replacing any of the workers who are going on strike (and thus not undermining the power of the strike)
    (2) Not an employee of the University
    (3) Not receiving a paycheck from the University

    Not to mention that this strike in particular is a “limited strike” in which some members of the union are still working. In order to make you feel better about yourself, you can say that this is a limited strike for students as well – as long as students aren’t negatively affected by not crossing the picket lines, they are on strike.

  51. student says:

    Andrew,

    If it is so morally repugnant to you, why not skip your oral argument? The workers on strike are skipping out on paychecks, some of which they desparately need to pay rent and feed their families. Most of them need the paychecks more than you need to be heard at an oral argument. Why not take a stand? It would be a powerful statement for you to skip your oral argument. Of course, you would actually have to sacrifice something for your cause (albeit not as much as the workers) and the cause probably is not worth it to you. It is easy to be self-righteous and say “I do not cross picket lines” when there are no consequences for not crossing them. It’s a little harder now, eh?

    The reality is that going to an oral argument (or class) is NOT crossing the picket line. You are:
    (1) Not replacing any of the workers who are going on strike (and thus not undermining the power of the strike)
    (2) Not an employee of the University
    (3) Not receiving a paycheck from the University

    Not to mention that this strike in particular is a “limited strike” in which some members of the union are still working. In order to make you feel better about yourself, you can say that this is a limited strike for students as well – as long as students aren’t negatively affected by not crossing the picket lines, they are on strike.

  52. Joe says:

    Andrew….

    I apologize that you are put in an uncomfortable position. However, based on the tenor of your previous posts, you calling someone self-righteous is like Teddy Kennedy calling someone an irresponsible drinker. Good luck with the argument.

  53. another student says:

    andrew:

    I am perplexed at your accusation of “self-righteousness”:

    self-right·eous: adj. (1) Piously sure of one’s own righteousness; moralistic. (2) Exhibiting pious self-assurance: self-righteous remarks.

    I’ll refer you to your first comment: “…it’s important for professors to do what’s right and teach by example. Do not cross the picket line even if there isn’t a physical one.”

    Ironically, if anyone is self-righteous, it is those who preach that not treading on the law campus is somehow supporting those who are on strike. I am *not* labeling anyone as such; I’m merely clearing up your clear misunderstanding of the term.

  54. Andrew says:

    Eh, I have to admit that I have been pretty self-righteous about the whole thing – and I laughed when I read the Ted Kennedy quip – that was clever. So this argument is not really working – let’s try something else.

    You’re right, I was pushed to the breaking point by the possibility of failing a class – and I caved. But I did sacrifice, many classes so far, and believe me, I’m not enjoying them on tape.

    The thing is, I don’t expect anyone to fail their classes to support the strike. I just wish you guys would show a little support for the strikers. I grew up fairly poor – family of six on $10K/year – but eventually my parents were lucky enough to be able to go back to school and get union jobs. Everybody has heard of the corruption of unions, but in most cases they really help people provide for their families.

    You don’t have to kill yourself – you don’t have to fail your classes, or even miss too many of them. But if we had all stood together at the beginning, it might’ve sent a powerful message to the administration. Now, if you don’t think it’s wrong to be paying $6.40/hr to begin with, that’s a different story. Raising it may not even be the best way to combat poverty and inequality in society. But I say do what you can with what you’ve got. I think we had a great opportunity to make a powerful statement without too much sacrifice, but a lot of students said, “well, this could last forever,” and simply didn’t do anything. Maybe I did them a little disservice by being so self-righteous. Oh well, live and learn I guess…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.