r."':-~ '路 ...:.:~~.,~f"(:: "路 .r ! '~ I Bentley Historical Library 1150 Beal Avenue I"'LI :~ f"" I M Ann Arbor, 48109-211~ '- T1;le GEO Fights for Change BY KEVIN COONEY I N DREARY FEBRUARY, MOST students wouldn't mind having classes cancelled , Nevertheless, the fruitless negotiations between the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) and the administration will not result in any off-days for quite a few months, if at alL On February 1, GEO's contract with the university expired without a new contract to replace it, A bargaining extension has ensured that the negotiations which began on October 31 oflast year will last until at least February 15, In the following week, GEO members will receive strikeauthorization ballots, which will be tallied on February 22. As can be seen from this schedule, a strike can be averted in many ways. Even if the negotiating teams fail to agree by the fifteenth, they could pass another bargaining extension. Or, if that fails, the GEO members might vote not to authorize a strike. Or, if the strike is authorized, it could still be averted, because a strike-authorization ballot only grants the union the power to call a strike - it does not force the union to engage in one. The last strike began on Februaryll,1975,lastinglessthanamonth. The result was the first GEO contract. The most recent 'contract dispute was over health care in 1993. After the strike-authorization ballots were tallied and 83 percent voted to empower a strike, the administration signed the ninth GEO contract. 37 proposals are on the table - 8 of which have been signed. Two of those signed proposals are rather unremarkable in that they require the university to conform to federal laws regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act respectively. Aside from gaining the same photocopying access as faculty, the GEO 3 The Insensitive Ponytailed Guy Gene skewers the Internet Decency Act and trashes politicians like he's never trashed anything before. has successfully negotiated two rather per term. This salary yields $3532.08 weighty proposals. The first changes after taxes. The estimated cost oflivthe title "Teaching Assistant" to ing in Ann Arbor is $4623.72, accord"Graduate Student Instructor" (GSl) ing to the Office of Financial Aid. - - -- - - - -- - - -- - - . _ _ Thus, the disparity between cost and earnings is $1024.33 persemester, or roughly $256 per month. GEO has proposed that such GSls receive a living wage, a wage at which the cost ofliving is offset. This proposal translates into a raise of $484 per semester in the first year, $408 in the second, and $444 in the third. Or more simply, salary increases of12percent, 10 ,p ercent, and 11 perWin the dispute shut do"" classes? cent respectively. Their The second guarantees benefits for reasoning is that GSls can provide same-sex domestic partners. better instruction ifthey are not forced Among the yet unsigned proposto take a second job to support themselves. als, class size and affirmative action issues are underscored by the GEO The administration counters that and downplayed by the administra路 a living wage is simply not a factor in tion. The class size proposal would the determination of GSI salary inrequire departments to confer with creases. It proposed an alternate inGSIs when determining the sizes of crease in the minimum full-time salary of a GSI by the level that it grants their sections. The affirmative action proposal is noteworthy in that it deto the average tenured professor in fies the prevailing winds of the LSA. This means that GSI salary conservativism. In a year that saw increases could vary from nothing at the dismantling of higher education all to a 4 percent increase. affirmative action programs in CaliWith such chasms between the fornia, the GEO proposed ajoint GEO/ salary proposals, it is not difficult to U-M committee that would have as understand why negotiations have its purpose the gathering of data on lasted so long. And with the issue of patterns of hiring discrimination and the living wag~ , a percentage wage the scrutinizing of departments in increase so large that it would make the University in which discriminaeven the most generous soul flinch, tion seems to occur. and in spite of the numerous possiBut towering above all of the unbilities of reconciliation, it is fairly signed proposals is the proposed sallikely that a strike will begin in early ary increase. Currently, ,a GSI workApril. If such is the result, then deing 17 to 19 hours per week (the most spite all the GEO's posturing, the common appointment - though by undergraduate students would be the no means the only) will earn $4040.80 real victims. l\R From Suite Lost in the 4 One 6 Eighties Opening the Presidential search, a look at the Allianc Four Justice, the ongoing Clinton saga, and more. Publisher Ben Kepple takes Qn invigorating and venemou$ look at today's news ~ia Allrigtnyi , " Alliance Four Justice By EVAN KNO'IT T HE ALLIANCE FOUR JUSTICE, a student-led coalition of Universityminority students, has addressed the University community again after its first press conference several weeks ago. Comprised ofleaders from the Black Student Union (BSU), Alianza, the Native American Student Association (NASA), and the United Asian American Organization (UAAO), the Alliance formed last October out of mutual frustrations expressed by members of the four groups. The Alliance first confronted the University with an open letter expressing concerns and demands it believes should be addressed within the campus. Then, on Monday, February 5, the coalition invited all members of the University community to engage in a session directed toward answering questions about its demand~ and gathering support from other students and student-led organizations. With a strong turnout ofUniversity students and members from the Michigan Student Assembly (MSA) and other minority organizations, the Alliance also had hoped to meet with President James J . Duderstadt. Former UAAO chair Johnny Su stated that the Alliance had tried to meet with the president on several occasions, but were unable to schedule sufficient time to discuss all of its concerns. Members of the administration have just now begun to acknow ledge and consider the demands put forth after the Alliance's first press conference and its placement of signs renaming various University buildings with names of minority activists 14 Issues Forum. Should GEO members be entitled to increased pay and benefits, or are their claimes unjustified? See ALLIANCE DEMANDS, Page 9 Living 18 Culture A look at Ken Bums' upcoming projects, the future of science fiction, and original poetry await you.