Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Immigration and Ann Arbor–The Restaurant Workplace Project

Posted by Chuck Warpehoski on 19. May 2006

As the national immigration debate rages, it can be useful to learn what’s happening with immigrants locally. The Restaurant Workplace Project surveyed local immigrant restaurant workers. You can read their Brochure (PDF, requires Adobe Acrobat Viewer).

Among their findings :

  • The majority earn between $6.50 and $8.50 an hour, although a few workers reported that they earn less than minimum wage.
  • Nearly half of the workers are on the job more than 40 hours per week, and one in five works more than 50 hours per week.
  • Only 37 percent said they consistently receive overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a week, as required by law.

I guess not all “immigration policy” is set in Washington.

Comment [68]

The Coke Coalition Responds

Posted by Ari Paul on 12. April 2006

Here is a selection from the UM Coalition to Cut Contracts with Coca-Cola’s official statement:

The University of Michigan’s decision to immediately reinstate the Coca-Cola contracts is nothing short of an affront to democracy, justice, and accountability. Not only was the decision made without the mandatory consent of students as required by the Dispute Review Board recommendation; but by making this decision with a complete lack of transparency the administration violated its own established due process.

...Coca-Cola has had to do nothing to get this contract back, aside from calling their friends at the International Labor Organization to create the façade of an independent investigation. Ed Potter, Coke’s Director of Global Labor Relations and author of the full-page ads placed (at great expense) in the Michigan Daily, is a long-time employer-representative to the ILO. He has worked for the ILO for decades. This personal and financial relationship alone completely erases any possibility for a truly independent investigation on the part of the ILO. Even if the investigation uncovers Coke’s true crimes, bringing back Coke’s contract before an investigation is even formulated provides Coke with absolutely no incentive to take any corrective action. The administration has been made aware of the conflict of interest between Ed Potter and the ILO.

The members of the Coalition to Cut Contracts with Coca-Cola have engaged constructively with the administration on this issue for over a year. In our most recent meeting on March 31st, students were assured that: 1) no action would be taken regarding the Coca-Cola company without first consulting with students, in accordance with the Dispute Review Board recommendation; 2) the administration would outline in writing the procedure by which Coca-Cola would be eligible for renewing its contract with the University; and 3) that the University would not renew the contract unless plans were formulated and implemented for investigations into both Colombia and India. No such plans exist. “Active dialogue” does not constitute a meaningful commitment to a comprehensive, independent investigation or by any stretch of the imagination meet the requirements set by the University’s own Dispute Review Board.

Comment [26]

Coke Back at U-M

Posted by Ari Paul on 12. April 2006

According to the U-M News Service, “U-M Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Timothy P. Slottow stated that the University will resume procurement of Coca-Cola products, effective immediately.”

Comment [10]

Rally Against UM Sweatshops! Today 5pm

Posted by MarkDilley on 29. March 2006

Fast for Justice!
Stop Starvation Wages!
Wednesday, March 29

Join SOLE for a one day solidarity
fast with U of M Sweatshop workers
from sunup until the
5:10 RALLY
on the Steps of the Union!!!

show your support!

Email to sign up today!

Comment [3]

Why the Review Didn't Publish the Cartoons

Posted by Ari Paul on 26. February 2006

James David Dickson, the editor of the Michigan Review—a right-wing publication at the U-M—chimes in on the National Review’s website on why it decided not to publish the famous Danish cartoon.

He writes:

We based our decision on several factors. The most important is that we aren’t Danish.

Our choice, as American college students, was fundamentally different from the one faced by Flemming Rose, culture editor of the Jyllands-Posten, which commissioned and published the cartoons that set off riots around the world. As Rose recently explained in the Washington Post, the cartoons came in direct response to “several incidents of self-censorship in Europe caused by widening fears and feelings of intimidation in dealing with issues related to Islam.” European fear of offending resident Muslims led to the closing of an art exhibit and forced an illustrator of a children’s book on Mohammed into anonymity.

Comment [8]

Japanese Womens Solidarity Tour

Posted by MarkDilley on 7. February 2006

This is a friend’s project. Tomomi is a person that brought focus on international students within GEO, the Graduate Employees Organization at U of M before I worked there.

Thirty Years of Sisterhood

On the US tour of a Japanese documentary film by Yamagami Chieko and Seyama Noriko, “Thirty Years of Sisterhood: Women of the 1970s Women’s Liberation Movement in Japan” in Feb. 2006.

The screening of the film, as well as the panel discussion with the directors and feminists featured in the film, will be held in the following university campuses and community locations in Feb, 2006.

Feb 10 (Fri)—University of Chicago
Feb 11 (Sat)—University of Iowa
Feb 12 (Sun)—Grinnell College
Feb 15 (Wed)—Yale University
Feb 16 (Thu)—LGBT Community Center, NYC
Feb 19 (Sun)—Bluestockings Books, NYC
Feb 21 (Tue)—University of Michigan
Feb 23 (Thu)—University of Minnesota
Feb 27 (Mon)—University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Feb 28 (Tue)—Washington University in St. Louis

Comment [2]

"New campaign to combat sweatshops"

Posted by Ari Paul on 5. February 2006

The Students for Labor and Economic Equality are off again to keep University apparel from being made by sweatshop labor.

The Michigan Daily has the story:

The campaign submitted to the University last fall a proposal to require brands to only use factories that meet the requirements of the Designated Suppliers Program – a program under the watchdog group United Students Against Sweatshops, which maintains a list of factories with good labor practices.

The proposal is still under consideration, said RC sophomore Adri Miller, a SOLE member.

Members of the Committee on Labor Standards and Human Rights could not be reached for comment.

According to the USAS website, the factories that meet the requirements of the Designated Suppliers Program have been “determined by universities to have affirmatively demonstrated full and consistent respect for the rights of their employees.” Two other main stipulations regard rights of association and livable wages.

This is not the first time SOLE has campaigned on Michigan apparel.

In March 2001, the University implemented a supplier code of conduct that required all factories producing licensed University attire to enforce a set of labor standards, including a limit on work hours and fair pay.

Comment [5]

[Raise] Wages against the [corporate] machine: Michigan campaign to raise minimum pay

Posted by David Boyle on 5. January 2006

Since not only Donald Trump has the right to make money, activists including Ryan Bates have been busy setting up websites to campaign to raise the minimum wage in Michigan for all us non-Trumpies, including Michigan ACORN: Minimum Wage Center, and a weblog to discuss the issue, “Michigan ACORN Minimum Wage Campaign” blog. (Click links to connect)

Give that man a raise. (Not Trump)

The effort looks good so far; and out of little ACORNs, mighty oaks may grow…

Comment [7]

Supporting LEO; or, "What would Aslan do?"

Posted by David Boyle on 8. December 2005

     The big LEO ad in the Daily today, lion logo on top, is just too reminiscent of Aslan from Narnia, so here we go.
     It looks like LEO is doing 15-minute teach-ins in LEO members’ classes today. (UM is unhappy about that, according to the Daily.) Regardless of the teach-in issue, LEO’s grievances seem serious (job misclassification, late pay raises, etc.), so they deserve some serious attention, despite my humorously-meant and timely Narnia tie-in.
     (Note: Arbor Update is a nonsectarian blog last time I checked, so the mention of “Aslan the Magic Lion” is not intended to privilege or promote any sect here…)

Comment [3]

Graduate Worker Strike at NYU

Posted by MarkDilley on 25. November 2005

If you haven’t seen the new show on Comedy Central, The Colbert Report, you should. (it is on the internet too) One of the segments is great, as it does a little free association. Here I present that for you. NYU—> Graduate Employee—> UM.

The education system, the media, religious institutions, and the labor movement itself have all failed to properly draw attention to the importance of unions or even accurately portray what a union is. First of all then, I’ll share some thoughts on unions to illustrate why I believe the workers’ cause at NYU deserves your support.

Brushing aside the jargon, legalese, and rhetoric, a union is simply a group of workers looking out for each other in the face of a highly organized employer. Certainly, forming a union is partially about bread and butter and GSOC at NYU has fought for significant gains in wages and health care. It should be axiomatic that a worker deserves decent compensation whether or not that worker is also a student. However, NYU doesn’t see it that way and without a union presence sooner or later it will make a move to roll back these material gains.

But forming a union is about much more than bread and butter. Organizing a union is how workers move towards democracy on the job and away from the notion that we shed our right to liberty when we walk through the factory, shop, or university door. John Sexton attempted to enfeeble the union by offering to enter into a contract regarding financial issues but not over working conditions. He primarily wanted to do away with the independent grievance procedure that enables union employees to meaningfully redress problems that arise on the job. GSOC rightly scoffed at Sexton’s public relations-driven offer, as he must have known they would.

via IWW

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