unfortunately two-faced. The university's
top administrator encourages us on Almanac's title
14] to be a drum major for
justice' but, alas, the verso of that
same page (condemning a graduate student
union) urges we strip away the
this president head a world-class
facility with a law school attached?
Isn't legal argument a more civilized
alternative to mob-action?
would Martin Luther King say to stripping
away legal arguments?
next, denying any moral obligation
to better a hired-hand's lot (never
mind agonizing over how many angels
can Morris dance on the head of a
pin: an employee is anyone whose paycheck
sports your corporate logo)? A union
is a revolution. This particular revolution
is responsible for the five-day week,
the eight-hour day and child labor
laws preventing tots from cracking
coal in mines or working more than
four hours on a film-set.
union, like a revolution, is not imposed.
A union is voted in. Tom Paine, John
Adams, Jefferson, Dr. Franklin and
Reverend King readily supported that
Rutman's conditions generally
imposed by trade union wage contracts
are not compatible with... scholarly
standards so necessary for free inquiry
and creativity' (Almanac, January
14) are hardly threatened by a
democratic election; not unless his
fury over the AFT finds him turned
into a character out of Charles Dickens.
union protects its membership against
capricious, hectoring drillmasters.
Careers in academe are especially
vulnerable to the whims of hierarchy.
Advancement in a chosen field can
be terminated if some scholarly patrician
is displeased by a grad student who
wants credit for authoring her advisor's
most recent book, perhaps by how little
time another spends walking his mentor's
recall a summer witch-hunt that ended
with a college junior and a pre-freshman
getting expelled because a professor
at the Vet School didn't approve of
the card game they were playing in
look at what mayhem corporations have
wrought in countries banning unions.
You're wearing overvalued clothes
produced by kids who ought to be in
school so they can one day get into
Penn and shop in stores that sell
overvalued clothes produced by kids.
The business community brought plantation-slavery
to this hemisphere. Wharton would
term it maximizing profits.
like labor unions, happen when the
governed go ignored. Once rebelled,
the disenchanted form a body with
sufficient kick both King and Crown
must negotiate with 'em rather than
continue to rule by Royal Command.
the university's response to my own
union's campus organizing efforts
not been so dismissive and high-handed,
our Jolly Roger would have lost wind
and fluttered lax on the horizon.
Instead, the decision to treat us
like serfs who came with the turf
goaded even the most timid among us
into roaring buccaneers.
hang in there GET-UP. The same university
which shamefully battled the Mayoral
Scholarships over a preposition, mission
to the community' and needs
of society' be damned--and lost not
only the suit's legal argument but
the dignity of its reputation will
play right into your hands. Count
on Penn to pull some jaw-dropping
stunt so bewilderingly ill-advised
it will tactically define bone-headed
behavior before the NLRB; precisely
because this ain't a vital,
vibrant forum' but a collection of
self-promoting martinets bent on lootin' n'
unfortunate, the geniuses who thought
up such capers as sacking hospital
employees after convincing them not
to join a union--then having to empty
the Philadelphia Mint each week paying
out overtime and new-hire bonuses;
who crafted a Medicaid fraud scheme
that earned HUP a $30 million Federal
fine, and who tried to swindle the
city over the Civic Center property
by inserting a cleared site'
clause in the purchase price agreement
are still here.
as GET-UP co-chair Elizabeth Williamson
suggests, it really is all about money,
let's save a packet by drum-majoring
for honesty. We can start our own
local integrity crusade. I know where
we can get our hands on a cool quarter
million just by calling in a loan
to a well-off borrower who hasn't
even paid the note's low annual interest.
Briggs, Van Pelt Library
at noon for
the following Tuesday's
Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 19, January 28, 2003