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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

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    Chǭvez no hero for workers’ rights

    Yusra Tekbali’s Friday column extolling union thug CǸsar Chǭvez was riddled with inaccuracies. She claims Chǭvez used “”peaceful tactics”” to defend “”workers’ rights.”” No – he violently attacked them.

    His picket lines heckled, harassed and cajoled workers until they couldn’t bear coming to work. Some workers joined the union at gunpoint, and in 1973, more than half of the union’s 6,500 members had been arrested. His union only gained national attention by breaking the law in 1965; he maintained his spotlight by publicly supporting Alianza in 1968 after 20 armed members stormed a courthouse and shot two policemen.

    In his infamous Delano grape strikes, less than 1 percent of California grape workers joined Chǭvez’s union. He bullied businesses selling grapes into forcing their suppliers to sign with Chǭvez. Chǭvez destroyed the other 99 percent of the workers’ rights to freely negotiate the terms of their employment. They were forced to join the union – and pay dues to Chǭvez.

    More personally, Tekbali is flat wrong in her assertion that at the renaming of the Economics building “”there were protests and opposition by people who had never even heard of him.”” As one of the protesters who knew the other six, all from the Student Objectivist Society, I can guarantee each of us knew a great deal about Chǭvez. Some of us even read lengthy biographies and old newspaper articles to learn about him.

    Unlike the harassing ways of Chǭvez’s union thugs, we sat at a table and distributed literature – club members’ essays and newspaper articles of Chǭvez’s documented aggression. These articles are available online for anyone to read at www.sabkha.com/Chavez. It is strange that in spite of her seeming firsthand knowledge of the protest, I do not remember seeing Tekbali approach our table.

    Chad Mills
    senior majoring in electrical engineering and computer science

    Not all reservations languishing

    In March 27’s “”Reform the Rez,”” Jon Riches presented dire statistics regarding American Indian poverty, unemployment and life expectancy. The numbers are, regrettably, largely accurate. Riches’ conclusions, however – that reservation homelands are “”rural slums”” whose reluctant residents are “”economically isolated and distressed”” – are deeply flawed. More than 550 American Indian nations recognized today by the U.S. government (plus dozens not officially “”recognized””) are marked by a diversity of languages, histories, geographies and economies. Economies range from depressed (a fact shared by many rural, even urban, non-Native communities) to vigorous. Some of the vigorous economies Riches tells us “”have cashed in on lucrative casino operations (which come with their own huge array of problems).”” Riches paints the most negative picture possible of American Indian lives, without considering how his criticisms might apply to non-Natives. Surely he fears for the future of Las Vegas? Surely Donald Trump should eschew the “”huge array of problems”” casino profits generate? Similarly, democratically elected tribal council members can be “”swept from office every two years,”” leading to “”political instability.”” Heavens, the executive leadership of the U.S. is prey to being “”swept from office”” every four years. Is the fabric of American life threatened by the resultant political instability?

    Many American Indians consider reservations to be home: a treasured foundation of cultural and linguistic identity, belief and practice. American Indian people choose to identify and live as American Indian people because we know the value of our heritages and our histories. We “”dwell”” on our history, a practice Riches advises us against, because we value the wisdom of those who came before us. Do tribal nations and peoples face political, economic and social challenges? Yes. American Indian peoples and communities have the skills, capacities and knowledge to address those challenges and build futures of their choosing. That future might include the “”uniform commercial code”” Riches posits as a sine qua non of civilized living; then again, it might not. People have a right to make that choice.

    K. Tsianina Lomawaima
    chair, American Indian studies

    Union fee important for all students

    When the activity fee was proposed in 2004, I voted it down. When the Arizona Student Unions began to talk about initiating a mandatory meal plan in 2005, I spoke with union directors Dan Adams and Bill Shiba to voice my concern over such a plan. It turns out I was not the only one; both the Residence Hall Association and Greek Life also voiced concerns over having a mandatory meal plan and suggested a union fee instead. That fee has since been developed, not to replenish reserve funds, as the Arizona Daily Wildcat has reported, but to enhance the quality of student life on campus. It is now time for students to decide if they value the programs, leadership opportunities and operations offered by the student unions. This fee most directly affects sophomores, freshmen and those students who will still be attending the UA come fall 2007. I encourage those students to become educated on the purpose and uses of the fee. I encourage them to visit the union fee Web site at www.union.arizona.edu/fee to see for themselves where their money would be going. I encourage all students not to think about their own personal agendas but to consider the opportunities they have had at the UA that will not be available to future Wildcats should this fee not pass. As for those students who may not be involved at the UA, this fee affects them too. It affects the coffee carts, the hotdog stands, the vending machines they stop at in between classes. It affects whether or not there is a still a sandwich cart at McClelland Hall. It also affects whether or not they will be able to enjoy future concerts, such as the Death Cab for Cutie and Franz Ferdinand concert. Get informed about the fee, visit the Web site, attend the forums to be hosted in the next two weeks and, most importantly, vote on April 11 and 12. It is our turn to determine the type of college experience we will have now and what the Wildcats of the future will have as well.

    Carrie Bawolek
    marketing junior

    Union fee the result of poor planning

    It would seem that the student union operation still struggles with fiscal solvency. I used to work for the student union as a restaurant manager, and I am hearing the same old saw. These proposed $40 union fees, which are essentially assessments born of poor financial planning, should not be placed on the backs of unsuspecting students. The union needs to become financially autonomous by providing quality products that, by whatever means, keep sufficient money on campus to support basic infrastructure. Governments typically don’t compete well, even university governments. When things get tough, they use venues to recover costs that are unavailable in the private sector. Secondly, as was the case during my tenure, economic forecasting was rooted in a curious fiction: a failure to adequately measure the impacts of competition before setting budget objectives. The pattern has always been unwarranted optimism followed by a surprise shortfall. If union administrators functioned more like the private sector in the first place, they wouldn’t need to roll incoming freshmen to buy roofs.

    The staff of the union has always been first-rate. In my view, I would start looking for some of the suits that meander about that have never held a spatula and tell them to get cooking.

    Bruce Munroe
    UA alumnus

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