The Strike of 2006: Day 10 (at the "University" House?)

As I mentioned the other day, I can’t be at the rally/protest/picket at the president’s house this afternoon at 1 pm this afternoon. Instead, I will be at my son’s ninth birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese (which I actually don’t mind that much because I like skee ball and I just see it as sort of a kiddie version of Vegas; and the kids have fun, and that’s what counts here).

I’ll try to swing by after the party to see if there’s still anything going on, but if you are reading this and you either are going to go or you went out there, let me know how it went. Feel free to post a comment, send me an email, email me some pictures, etc.

One of my colleagues who isn’t exactly crazy about all this strike stuff in the first place thinks that this picket in front of the president’s house is too personal, is futile, is trying to churn up the past, etc. I could not disagree more. I can’t think of any symbol of administrative hubris and bungling that resonates with the public more than that stupid house. We should have been out in front of that place on day 1.

Slight update:
It sounds like today’s protest was a fairly disappointing and depressing event, really. Not so much in regards of the strike, really; rather, it’s depressing because of the tail-spin this Board of Regents and this president is taking this university. I never thought that anyone could screw things up worse than Kirkpatrick; I’m beginning to think I’m wrong.

Some people think the standoff may have been orchestrated from the beginning because of the way things played out with ultimatums and deadlines. I’m beginning to think that’s totally correct. A lot of ill will has been generated, possibly because faculty really thought this administration was going to have some positive plans to move the university forward, but now it seems just like a few years ago.

The spirit of cooperation between the faculty and the administration is gone.

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6 Responses to The Strike of 2006: Day 10 (at the "University" House?)

  1. cheryl says:

    I agree that we should have been picketing the presidential palace right from the start of the strike. As the events of the past week have unfolded, it’s become increasingly clear that he is the architect of this mess with, of course, the assistance and endorsement of the regents. He kind of makes Kirkpatrick seem almost human.

  2. Labor Lawyer says:

    Glad to see you have your priorities straight. Your son’s 9th birthday will come only once!

  3. Faculty Member says:

    Take a look at the latest press release at http://www.emich.edu/univcomm/releases/090906salaries.html, where they say “Proposed 15% raise over next five years will keep EMU faculty salaries ahead of most Michigan universities”. That would only be true if none of the other Michigan univesities had raises over the next five years! What a load of….

  4. Another Faculty Member says:

    Commitment. If any faculty are feeling weak-kneed right now, they need to focus on the major priority. It’s not money, it’s not job security, etc. COLLECTIVE BARGAINING is at stake! We simply can’t permit management to RAM a contract down our throats!

    The HOUSE is a $6 million symbol of smug, immoral exploitation. It concretely represents every misleading, exaggerated, devious, dishonest statement issued by the management at EMU.

    So, do we want to be like the kamikaze pilot who flew 33 missions? He was there, but he couldn’t commit!

    The recent Echo editorial brought this up, and I think it is at the core of our struggle. INTEGRITY. I looked around the room on Friday afternoon and I saw strength of character that was awe-inspiring. There may even be administrators at EMU (Deans, staff members, dept. heads) who want to do the right thing. May they be strengthened and their voices increasingly heard!

    Morality, virtue, values, etc. are not just words used to dress up an automated e-mail response to pleas for justice and appeals to reason.

    Above all, as this situation plays out, I pray that moral strength of character and virtue will be vindicated.

  5. aginghippie says:

    Nothing happens with out Regent approval–including the hiring of a prez. Regents are appointed by the governor. There’s a gubernatorial race on, and perhaps there’s a hope that Amway Guy will buy/steal this election.

    I wonder if the regents who claim to take their duties seriously (thus no binding arbitration) are the sames ones that were asleep at the wheel and had NO idea (or so they claim) they were funding the starter castle.

  6. Kitchkitten says:

    Hi Steve,

    I was down at the rally today. It was much like the other events that you have been able to go to: some small bits of new information, little hope that the administration will return to the negotiating table anytime soon, but a lot of great conversations with fellow faculty members and, above all, with our fabulous bullhorn-carrying students.

    Several students had us moseying hither and thither, chanting en masse, and demanding that the negotiations resume. I am very bad at remembering rhymes & chimes & such — hence my appreciation of our enthusiastic students leading us through the grooves. All I can remember is that they had a nice rhythm going with “We are here at the [President’s] gate� and “negotiate,� as well as the now familiar, “What do we want?� in tandem with “A fair deal right now!�

    There was some chit chat about how funny it would be if the police went ahead and arrested such an otherwise affable, nerdy, and gray-haired group of folks as the faculty, which actually might not be all that bad considering that there was no media there and hence no way to garner community attention and pressure for the administration to negotiate. Yes, you heard that right: NO media there, though every appropriate TV and radio station was informed that it was happening.

    Apparently, we are a non-event in the scheme of things despite our 22,000 students, their tuition-paying families, and the restaurants that are suffering in the Ypsilanti area. I had lunch with some faculty and students at the Red Robin afterwards — with one of my delightful former students seating us (he playing Antonio in the Twelfth Night recently) — and the waitress thought that the restaurant had lost $10,000 in revenue so far with the commuters not coming into campus. I wonder if we could get the small businesses around here to put some pressure on the administration as well.

    We would make a fine crowd for the Washtenaw jail to be sure (not like we really are breaking any laws anyway), but apparently the Washtenaw jails are too full and civil disobedience seems unlikely at least for now, even if we could find a way to break the law and make a ruckus or media spectacle of some sort. A lot of the police have been really supportive of us anyway, honking and waving for us outside the admin building, which I really appreciate as well. Fellow service workers and public employees unite! (Please forgive the hang-over gusto from the rally!)

    It is starting to dawn on everyone how late it is in the term and how important it is to allow classes resume for the sake of our students. There were rumors that the people in Communications and Theater were going to cross the line, though thankfully everyone I have met seems united so far as I can tell.

    However, according to Howard Bunsis, the administration seems to be even more stubborn at this point than even it was before, though maybe the petition will help: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/262740466. (Don’t quote me on quoting Bunsis on that, however, because I had trouble hearing him through the street noise.) The administration seems to care more about breaking the union and making an end run around the contract negotiations than about educating, advising, and graduating our many students, which is very disturbing and disappointing to say the least.

    I also have a flyer with strong support from the Ann Arbor Democratic Party that I will send to you separately in case you want to post it somewhere else. I wish that Granholm would intervene to end this strike and get the administration back to the table, although I am sure that she has been very busy with the Detroit teachers’ strike among other things.

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