Friday, March 31, 2006


Been busy being turned down for jobs, so that’s why I haven’t been blogging much this week. But here goes…

*Why can’t the law school maintain working bathrooms in the library? The stall in the third floor library men’s room has been out of order for the entire week. (I know what you’re thinking – blame the strike. But no, we can’t blame UNICCO because skilled tradesmen like plumbers on campus are employed by the university, not UNICCO). Earlier this week the entire second floor men’s room was out of order. I used it anyway. This is really pathetic that the school can’t provide working bathrooms on every floor of the library.

* To the idiot who made a comment on one of my earlier posts that said “No one is entitled to a job just because they got good grades in law school”: Well, you’re an idiot. No one – well, not me, anyway – is suggesting that I am “entitled” to a job. If that’s what you think I am trying to say when I lament the fact that I haven’t gotten a job, well, nothing I can say will set you straight because that’s so far off base that you just don’t get it. I am working at finding a job. Hard. I am old enough and I’ve had enough experience in the real grownup world (ie. not college or law school land) that I know nothing is guaranteed when it comes to jobs. And I don’t think anyone else here really feels entitled to go to a job. Maybe they feel that way at the Ivy League law schools, but not here…

*There was a sit-in and big protest at the university president’s office this week. Shalala keeps astounding us with the unbelievable statement that even a third grader would understand is totally hollow that the university is neutral in this dispute because it’s between the workers and their employer (the contractor, not the university). I literally can’t understand how she can say this to anyone or write it in a statement to the campus with a straight face. This particular aspect of the dispute is not about politics. Whether or not you support unions or support this strike, you can’t possibly believe her.

*In addition to the awesome news on Thursday that I didn’t get a job I really, really wanted and thought I had a good chance at getting, my computer also keeled over and died again later on Thursday. Cool.

*We had a meeting yesterday about registration and someone from the career center gave a talk that was so, so helpful. I feel so much better now. How do those people justify their salaries? It’s inexplicable…

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

less hopeful every day

Another week and another phase of OCI has passed. This time the Career center went all out. Unlike Supplemental Phase III, a total of one employer participated in Supplemental Phase IV. So I -- and presumably about 250 other students - bid on it. I have high hopes for the next phase. Maybe they'll have two employers! And three for the sixth, and final, phase! Wouldn't that be something...

All these problems I'm having finding a job have me really excited about this time next year when I'll be struggling to find a full-time job instead of just a summer job. Fortunately, this fine institution is here to help. To wit, if you click on the "Attorney Openings" section of the jobs database, one of the listings is for a web site called "Law Practice In a Box." I hate when people get all bold and stuff, but ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This is their suggestion to graduating 3Ls? Sign up for a "free starter kit" that apparently is a box full of discount offers for office supplies, legal forms, office furniture and web hosting? Is this somebody's idea of a joke? Is the job market that bad that the best they can offer is Law Practice in a Box? Hey, I guess one or two new graduates might set off on their own immediately after law school, but that's not feasible for 99.9 percent of new graduates (because, in case you're reading this blog and you're not already in law school, of two reasons: (1) when you graduate you have no idea how to actually practice law unless you had extensive experience clerking and (2) unless you had another career where you made a name for yourself in a niche industry, you won't get clients).

Goddamn, I love The Sopranos.

Monday, March 27, 2006

So far, no good

Nothing much going on these days. This week should be a big week because I'm hoping to hear from two places I interviewed at and I have another interview tomorrow. Anxiety is killing me. Nothing else even remotely interesting is happening, unfortunately...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Apathy in law school

Shalala said the other day that “democracy is messy.” Here at the law school, ever since the impeachment fiasco ended last year, I’d say that “democracy is boring.”

I voted in the law school election earlier this week. I only checked three names on the ballot – president, ABA representative and one senator. I know the three people I voted for actually care about doing that job well and will do a good job because they are the type of people who are committed. I could have voted for six senators and a bunch of other offices like historian and secretary and quartermaster. (Maybe there wasn’t a spot for quartermaster. I’m not sure.) But I didn’t bother.

You see, not a single candidate came into any of my classes to give a speech. No one was insincerely nice to me during the "campaign" season. Everyone running is allowed to put up one poster on the wall of Subway so I have no clue what these people stand for. People put out a one paragraph statement that you can read at the voting booth –it typically would say something like ‘My name is [name] and I promise to make next year the best year ever!’ Oh, okay, I see why I should vote for you now. I thought we left that stuff behind in high school, but I guess not. Give me something substantive. In fact, anything remotely resembling substance that sounds like a good idea is enough to make me vote for you. I realize on a scale of importance, law school elections rank fairly low, since these people have little bearing on my life or on the law school experience. But just because the guy running for vice president is running unopposed, or I have had a few conversations with a guy running for senate and the black and white photocopied mug shot of the historian candidate looks like a woman who I’ve seen around campus doesn’t mean they’re getting my vote just so they can put this office on their resume.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

ok, now panic

Here are four strange (as in out of the ordinary; not totally wacko and bizarre) things I saw this week at the law school:

1. I was taking care of business in the third floor men's room in the library. A small dog walked under the stall door. That was unexpected. Luckily his owner said something like "come here, boy" and the dog turned around and walked right out before it had the chance to you know, do some damage to important stuff.

2. Three Muslim men praying, apparently facing Mecca. I'm not saying it's strange for Muslims to pray. I'm just saying that I've never seen this before at the law library. They were on the landing above the fourth floor stairs in the library.

3. A guy driving around campus on a Segway. Cool.

4. It rained today. It's the first rain we've had in about a month. Seriously.
Remember in Airplane (or Airplane 2?) when the fasten seatbelt sign started saying things like "Ok, now panic"? That's how I feel about my job search. Classes are over in four weeks. In less than two months the entire semester will be over. I don't have a job. I don't get it. I'm trying. I'm really trying. I'm not exactly willing to work anywhere, like a lot of people I know, so I haven't blanketed the entire region with resumes, but I've applied at tons of places.

I had two interviews on Tuesday. I would take a job with the first firm I interviewed at in a heartbeat if offered. Great firm. I'd be doing interesting work. But who knows what will happen there. It went well, but they haven't yet decided if they will be hiring anyone yet.

The second one was a dud. The guy said he'd let me know in a couple of days. Today (Thursday) I got a letter saying the firm wouldn't be hiring me -- or anyone. This was after spending 30 minutes in his office, for some reason being introduced to all the other attorneys there. And he didn't have the courtesy to even call. Nice. Fortunately for me I have another interview next week for a firm in the same building. Maybe I'll get that job and run into the jackass and um, I don't know, press all the buttons in the elevator as I get out or something.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Read this blog and save $100!

Here’s a tip for how you can save $100: Don’t Join Phi Delta Phi.

I got suckered into paying the $100 fee last year and I’m a member. So that’s good, right. It’s a legal honor society that’s really old and counts people like Senators and Supreme Court justices as members. I’m not really into these things, but I figured I’d join and it would look good on a resume – presuming, of course, that the group actually did a few things during the year that I could tell someone about in an interview. (You know: “Oh, you’re in Phi Delta Phi. I was in that when I was in law school. Do you still do X, Y or Z? No? Ok, then what did you do?)

Turns out we’ve done absolutely nothing. Not a single thing. We had one meeting in the fall where the president repeatedly told everyone that he is unable to come up with ideas for anything to do, but if we had ideas we could let him know. The group had a booth at the Canes Carnival, but so did pretty much every other group on campus.

I think the value of having this on your resume zero. That $100 is better spent elsewhere.

By the way, do you know what today is? It's March 21. Why is this day important? It's the end of Supplemental Phase III of OCI. The grand total of employers hiring in Supplemental Phase III is zero. Not a single one. Nada. Nothing. I'm sure glad they have six supplemental phases. Now I'm sure I'll get a job through OCI. @#$%#!#$#@#$@...

Oh yeah, and as for the strikers, Prof. State and Local Government moved class back on campus by sending out an e-mail 30 minutes before class started. Looks like these poor strikers are losing popular support. That's not good, but what am I supposed to do? Stop going to class?

Monday, March 20, 2006

What planet do you live on?

Who the fuck are these people? Look, I get it. It's OK to carry on a conversation in the library. People do it all the time. Usually it's just a temporary thing, although often it lasts a really long time. Anyway, it's not like I think it should be totally silent all the time.

Then there are the two fucking morons who are currently sitting on the third floor of the library, where I am now, in an area that is dead silent except for the two of them quietly (but not that quietly) doing some kind of group project at one of the desks (the one-person, individual desks which do not have an attached desk, a hint to most people of average intelligence that only one person should sit there). Are they too stupid to realize that no one else in this entire section of the library is talking and the place for working on stuff together is, um, ANYWHERE BUT HERE? Or do they just not care?

/end of rant. I feel much better now. Thanks for listening. I'm so glad spring break is over...

business as usual

Business as usual here. Classes have started, but of course no professors have told us whether classes are still being held off campus now that the administration raised the janitors' wages, but they're still on strike. Cool. It definitely is par for the course -- this intense 'communications barrage' I've been anxiously awaiting for the past two weeks never happened. But it's not really surprising.

You would think someone could compile a list of all classes being held off campus that could be updated and that maybe a professor who before break said he would hold class off campus after break if the strike was still on would inform the students where to go for class that starts in less than an hour. I don't know, maybe I'm just a little crazy, or I have warped expectations about these things.

So we'll see what happens. I guess I'm going to the synagogue...

Friday, March 17, 2006

over or not?

So university caved and raised wages, but the strike isn't over yet because that's not good enough. But no one from the university has told us anything, probably because it's still spring break.

An organization called Picketline is urging faculty members to start holding classes back on campus, but my one professor holding class off campus hasn't said anything or sent out any e-mail. Who knows who Picketline is and if any faculty members will be reading their blog and deciding to hold class back on campus instead of off campus.

Monday is gonna be great.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

spring break -- party!

It’s spring break. Not much going on. They’re still on strike and you still wouldn’t know it.

Here are some gems from Professor Pessimist that I compiled over the past couple of weeks. I’ll let you guess which professor I’m talking about (here’s a hint: some people also call him or her Professor Paranoid):

*I’m perfectly willing to agree that all words are crap
*One reason to be a republic not a democracy is because people are stupid
*If I had to bet, I’d say the human race will not survive the next century…which doesn’t bother me.
*I don’t believe in the decency of the human race
*Bird flu is going to kill us all
*In New York city, instead of shaking hands, people will start touching elbows
*A lot of rich people in the 1930s did not survive
*All our health problems can be traced to High Fructose Corn Syrup
*In basketball, contact is allowed
*It’s better (safer) to wash my lettuce in my toilet than in the sink
*Salad bars are bad
*They never clean ice machines
*I have no idea what the world is going to be like when you’re practicing law in five years…there may not be a lot of law jobs…a lot of stuff is going to be outsourced
*We’re reading opinion after opinion that could’ve gone either way; what’s the point?
*My mother was high school valedictorian
*If I could figure out a way to do it I’d rather be in Canada or France right now…France is kind of iffy given the anti-Semitism
*For those of you planning to retire here [FL] remember that in 75 years there will be no here
*A nurse specialist from Minnesota called me to ask “What are my wellness concerns?” and I said to her “My concern is dying of neglect.”
*Balancing is a crock

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Spring break and the strike continues

Spring break has more or less started. I have one more class later today, but there was no reading and it’s not a very stressful class so I guess I’m almost officially on spring break.

So that’s good, I guess. It means we only have five more weeks of classes. But that means I have five weeks to get a paying summer job. That isn’t so good. (I sent out 13 resumes this week. That's something). And five weeks to get my ass in gear and um, you know, learn stuff.

This might sound a little strange, but I’m not really sure how hard I’ve been working this semester. I still compare everything to my first semester of law school and of course I have never come close to working as hard as I did in that first. I mean I’ve done all the reading and gone to every class this semester and held down a job (where my hours are slowly decreasing as the law firm seems on the verge of falling apart, but never mind that now) and done other law school things I have to do. And I’ve spent a lot of time looking for a job. So I fear I’ve done only the minimum to get by – my classes, except for State and Local Government - are stress-free and not that difficult or complicated, unlike last semester with Evidence, Civ Pro II and Business Associations.

Anyway, it seems that in each successive semester, I put in less work (although as I said, I think that might be a mirage because technically there was less work, but I’m also a much more efficient reader of cases and I have a much better sense of what is and isn’t important…I still remember the first couple of weeks of Civ Pro when I spent God knows how long reading every assignment because I tried to figure out the answer to every one of those practically unanswerable questions in the notes between cases…so fewer hours working doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve done less work). But at the same time, as I put in less work, my grades slowly went up. Who could have predicted that those two things would be inversely proportional to each other? It’s probably because the first semester of 1L year was so stressful that I had a lot of anxiety about it, and about my ability to make it through three years of law school. Now, the anxiety has turned to other subjects – will I get a job? Will it be a job I like, or at least don’t hate? Do I even want to be a lawyer? How do I get a job practicing law in one of the few areas of law that actually interest me? Remind me again why I went to law school? Oh yeah, wasn’t it because after the career you liked ended you had no passion for what you ended up doing and so you figured you’d go to law school because you could envision having a passion for some lawyer jobs? Who is the Bricklayer and what’s his deal? Why did I take my seminar instead of ADR, which I got into on the last drop/add day but was too lazy to go buy the book so I didn’t add it? Have I learned anything in law school? Has it really changed me, the way I saw myself changing during that first semester, or have I changed back? Can you believe this lasts three years?

So anyway, that’s that.

Oh by the way, the “communication barrage” about the strike so far has consisted of two things. Yesterday I got an e-mail from a professor whose class I dropped before the semester even started saying class would be held in the “atrium” last night. Then another e-mail saying the “atrium” is the bricks because I guess students e-mailed asking where to find this atrium. In this e-mail, which was actually sent by the professor’s assistant, was a reminder to wear a jacket because it might be a little chilly at night. Seriously. Are we nine years old?

And, apparently, Dean Coker has started a blog about the strike. Not really sure where that’s going, but OK, so now the Dean has a blog. That’s something, I guess, although there isn't much in the way of content yet so I'll reserve judgment.

Oh, and the good news is that the strike is moving to the medical school and the airport. More importantly, probably, is that this donor is withholding his $300,000 pledge until the administration caves. If a few more alumni had the guts to do that, this thing would be settled within the hour.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

funny or lame?

I don't know if this is funny or just sad. The professor had a blog post yesterday about a coming "communications barage" about the strike from the law school administration. That was yesterday morning. As of now, the only communication I've had is a flyer handed to me by one of the striking workers. I know there was a big meeting about the strike yesterday at the law school but I couldn't go because I work on Tuesdays. It's possible they sent out some e-mails but since the computer system here was designed by a third-grade science class, e-mails to my student account show up as many as three or four days after they were sent out, so I wouldn't know.

Was anyone else disappointed that only one person is running for SBA president and vice president? I guess I could see why no one wants to challenge the incumbent president (why don't we just elect him emperor...or better yet, make him dean?) but surely he's pissed off someone. And why only one vice presidential candidate? Who knows. My favorite part about election season here is when the people who normally wouldn't give you the time of day suddenly become all friendly. I like seeing who can fake sincerity well enough to actually come across as genuinely sincere, and who can't fake it at all. Those are the people you know not to vote for, but who will probably be wealthy attorneys one day.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Union busting under the sun

Ok, in case you missed it, here’s the latest from here, suddenly a hotbed of student activism, union-busting and labor strife:

1. The strike is still on. Garbage is piling up on campus, lawns are more than ¾ inch high and trees are not being pruned. Or not. The part about the strike being on is true, but if you just flew into town today and strolled around campus, you’d have no clue that workers were striking.
2. A student got roughed up by the “campus police” over the weekend passing out flyers. Read her first-person account here in Prof. Froomkin’s blog.
3. I had a class off campus today. I really felt like I was making a powerful statement. [/sarcasm]
4. Bricklayer, another student here, has a rambling, barely coherent screed in which he clarifies that not only does he believe that the labor movement is the embodiment of evil, the union organizing the striking workers here may as well by run by Tony Soprano. Fortunately, he provides many links (all of them to totally unbiased sources, I'm sure) and even bolds and italicizes some phrases so you know he means business.
5. Allegedly, the faculty are having a big meeting to “discuss” the strike. It’s being held off campus at, according to prof. state and local, a location “with no place to park.” According to the same source, it’s being held off campus because that was the only way to ensure a lot of people would attend
6. There is a mythical campaign being conducted by the university administration in which they are contacting parents of students and urging them to complain about off campus classes. I say it’s “mythical” because I haven’t seen any evidence of it.
7. I still don’t have a job. (I know it has nothing to do with the strike. I’m just saying…)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Solidarity? Ok, sure, whatever...

This is what I think about the fact that one of my professors (and lots of other profs) is holding class in a synagogue until the strike is settled and another has also promised to have class off campus, although he hasn’t yet told us where.

At first, when a Professor said class would be in a synagogue until the strike is resolved, my reaction was “oh crap, where will I park when I come back to campus?” Then I thought to myself: “Self, what’s wrong with you? Don’t you think the inconvenience of riding the shuttle from the parking garage is minor compared with these poor janitors who don’t make minimum wage and don’t have health insurance? Of course I can make this sacrifice.”

But after thinking it over, I think something else. I’m not complaining about being inconvenienced. I’m really not that selfish. Honestly. I realize that my inconvenience is nothing when you think about all that these poor workers are doing. (In fact, I agree with these professors in their view that this strike is something worth sympathizing over. I support the workers 100 percent on this. That’s not the point.)

But what bothers me is the sanctimonious abuse of the power that professors are committing when they decide to hold class off campus. If professors want to make a statement, why don’t they do what normal people do who take job actions in solidarity with strikers? Strike. Or do a work slow down. Or physically walk the picket line. (Maybe I’m wrong but in the old days, I don’t think when the mechanics struck at a plant and the engineers walked off the job in solidarity that the engineers did their work off site – when they walked off the job, they walked off the job).

Better yet, why don’t they use their positions of power to help the colleagues they think they are standing in solidarity with? They’re lawyers. I know nothing about labor law, but surely someone could file a lawsuit fixing, at minimum, the pathetic policy that has the picketers squirreled away on a side street that 90 percent of the public will never see. Use the legal system to get help for these people. File a class action lawsuit.

Even better: donate a portion of their paycheck to a fund that would go toward a health insurance pool type account for these workers. If professors donated one percent of their paychecks for the next year to an endowment it could create some kind of emergency health care fund for uncovered university employees or subcontractors. (I realize that that’s not the point of the strike – they deserve health insurance and a minimum wage, not charity from their fellow university employees; but that’s not what we’re talking about here – we’re talking about taking a job action that shows solidarity and holding class off campus doesn’t make any sense to me as a way to show support. Professor state and local government went on a nearly hour-long rant about the injustice of the system yesterday. That’s fine. I agree that the system is unjust. But if you’re that upset about it, do something about it. And not some empty gesture where you force other people to go along with the action.)

Personally, I support the strikers. I think Shalala has transformed herself from a champion of the working people into a despicable symbol of all that’s wrong with corporate America. But at least she’s honest. In the New York Times article, she all but admits she basically is only interested in one thing now: accumulating personal wealth and making as much money as possible for this school. (She doesn’t admit it, but it doesn’t take an idiot to figure this out. Hey, I don't begrudge her that massive salary, but she needs to be honest with herself -- she's in it for the money and only for the money. She's no longer interested in helping the working poor as she was when she was secretary of HHS.)

But although I support the strike, I just don’t know what to do and how to help them. Sitting at home and not crossing the picket line makes no sense to me. It feels like an empty gesture. Because here’s the thing: I am paying a lot of money to this school. A whole lot. Should I ask for my money back? Should I drop out of school until the strike is resolved?

So no professor has the right to mess with my education for his political statement. Ok, technically they’re not ‘messing’ with my education just by holding class in a church or synagogue. But that’s only a small part of the problem.

I’m at a total loss to understand what kind of a statement this is. If the prof chooses not to cross the picket line, then don’t cross the picket line. Don’t teach at all. Is the prof never going to set foot on campus until the strike is over, or is this just for classes? That doesn’t make sense. So you’ll do some work for the evil university but not other work? Will you check your e-mail? Will you check phone messages? Where do you draw the line?

Let’s also not forget that the professors taking this stand are, for the most part, tenured faculty members. But I’ll bet there is some provision that says if they choose not to teach the classes they’re assigned to teach, they’ll get fired, even though they have tenure. So, what? Just holding class off campus is the best they can do? Forcing hundreds of students to go along with their statement is the right thing to do? And don’t give me that garbage about not taking attendance. If you don’t go to these off campus classes, you’ll suffer later when it’s exam time.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The strike of 2006

So the workers have gone on strike here. It's not noticeable at all. Apparently there is a picket line but I have no idea where it is, even though this FAQ from the school says what street it's on. Apparently some profs have cancelled classes already but I've only heard from Prof. Seminar.

The Orlando Sentinel has a good story about the strike in today's paper.

One of the odd things about this strike is that the services these workers provide won't get interrupted. I'm a little confused about how effective a strike can be if the work still gets done, although the pressure is clearly building on Shalala. Maybe she'll go escape the pressure by taking a ride in her 29-foot boat...

Oh, and the law school signed this statement, which was apparently crafted by faculty members:

We are heartened by President Shalala's decision to establish a working
group to study the compensation and benefits issues facing the many
contract employees who work on UM's campuses. If this initiative indeed
signals a genuine willingness on the Administration's part to rethink
longstanding policies that encourage outside firms to compete for UM's
contracts by paying poverty-level wages, then we applaud the change of
heart and thank the President for responding in such a constructive
manner to the many UM constituencies that have spoken up for the workers who
make life and learning on this campus possible.

But we would have to ignore a lot of history - some of it ancient, some
of it quite recent - not to sound a note of caution to those who think
the UNICCO workers' struggle for workplace justice is over. For one
thing, the target of the strike vote scheduled for this weekend is the
unfair labor practices alleged against UNICCO by the National Labor
Relations Board, which has charged the firm with unlawfully interrogating
workers about their union support; prohibiting them from talking about
the union at work; forcing them to sign a statement disavowing the union;
accusing them of "disloyalty" for participating in off-hours union
functions; threatening reprisals against union supporters; and conducting
unlawful surveillance of a union meeting. Moreover, as recently as this
week, UNICCO fired one of the leading union supporters after she spoke
about the union campaign to a reporter from the Orlando Sentinel, so
there is reason to believe that the antiunion campaign has escalated
rather than abated.

The President's statement offered no mention of either the NLRB's
proceedings against UN ICCO or the substance of any of these allegations,
let alone any suggestion that the University expects better from its
campus contractors. But if the charges against UNICCO are true - and the
agency of the federal government that is charged with protecting the
organizing rights of American workers has found reasonable cause to
believe that they are - the firm has engaged in a disgraceful campaign to
thwart its workers' organizing efforts. Should the employees vote to
strike to protest this conduct, we will support their effort in every way
we can that is consistent with our professional responsibilities to our
students and to the University, and we urge other members of the UM
community - faculty, students, administrators, and support staff - to do
so as well.

The University's own record on the issue of justice for campus contract
workers is equally troubling. The UM Administration has, after all,
been aware of the effects of its contracting policies at least since
August 2001, when the Chronicle of Higher Education reported - to the
mortification of virtually everyone in the UM community - that UM was the
second lowest in janitorial pay among 195 institutions of higher learning
and that we were one of only a dozen institutions that paid their
custodial workers below the official Federal Poverty Wage.

For those of us who participated in the ensuing effort to persuade the
University Administration to adopt a living wage policy, there is a
disturbing sense of déjà vu here. Responding to criticisms from faculty,
students, and other members of the University community, and to a spate
of unwelcome publicity, the President at that time undertook a
six-month study of compensation and benefits policies for contract workers. At
the end of that process, she announced the health awareness and
education initiatives outlined in yesterday's statement. That was obviously a
step in the right direction, though the SEIU reports that many workers
view those initiatives mostly as an opportunity to learn about
treatments they can't afford and in any event as no substitute for a wage and
benefit package that provides them with health care rather than merely
health fairs. (We suspect that the larger South Florida community -
whose taxes and charitable contributions are currently covering the lion's
share of the health care costs of such low-wage workers - would readily
agree.) In any event, the President also announced that the University
would continue to adhere to its "market-based" approach to pay for
contract workers, meaning that outside firms could continue to compete for
UM contracts by paying poverty-level wages, as indeed they have.
Nothing was done about those embarrassing pay levels in 2001; in 2002; in
2003; in 2004; in 2005; or indeed in 2006, until three days before the
scheduled strike vote.

The timing of the working group initiative thus speaks, loudly, for
itself. In the eloquent words of Supreme Court Justice John Marshall
Harlan, "[t]he beneficence of an employer is likely to be ephemeral if
prompted by a threat of unionization which is subsequently removed." The
same is surely true of beneficence that is also prompted by a community
outcry in support of its workers' protests, and so we urge all members
of that community to continue the outcry until the Administration
commits itself to a living wage policy for all workers - UM as well as
contract employees - who serve this University.

We would have more confidence in the likely results of this second
round of study and consultation if the working group the President
established had broader representation from the University community and in
particular from student and faculty groups that have been critical of the
contracting policies that the President is now willing to reconsider.
And we would have more confidence still if those most directly affected
had a voice in the decisionmaking process. Indeed, a voice in the
process is exactly what the UNICCO workers are seeking through their
unionization effort, and it's exactly what UNICCO has evidently attempted to
thwart through a continuing campaign of unfair labor practices. We
stand with those workers in support of their efforts to secure "a place at
the table" when decisions are made about their working lives, and we
urge other members of the University community to stand with them as