Wednesday, April 12, 2006

David Bonior Friday at UM -- and an update on the Ashe lockdown!

Dear All,

You will surely all have heard by now that Ashe was locked down again today. A peaceful march headed for Ashe, where some of the hunger strikers, in wheelchairs, were hoping to meet with President Shalala. They found the doors locked, both literally and metaphorically.

Several administration officials were there, taking pictures of students and anyone else they could find. I talked to a professional photographer who was working for an agency employed by the university. He was there to take pictures of "people who looked like they didn't belong".

President Shalala has sent out a letter to the university community (she remembered to include faculty this time), in which she repeats the old anti-union canard that the protest is being fuelled by potentially dangerous outsiders. The idea that the protest, enjoyed by a number of children, might have been dangerous is, of course, absurd.

In her letter she emphasizes again how she takes the union to be anti-democratic because it is against NLRB elections. There will be an op-ed in Friday's Hurricane that addresses that charge. And check picketline again in the next few hours for a response.

Meanwhile the hunger strike continues, the workers now being joined by students. This Friday, Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Alvarez will come to visit the hunger strikers and, hopefully, talk to President Shalala.

In all this, we are really fortunate to have David Bonior, former Democratic congressman from 1977-2003, and the majority and minority whip for many years, coming to talk to faculty and students about the strike. He will speak (and I'm sure answer questions) at 10.30am at the Strike Sanctuary (Episcopal Church) THIS FRIDAY, April 14th.

I hope many of you will be able to come and hear him, and join him at noon when he speaks to the hunger strikers at Freedom Village across the road. I know many people may still have questions about card check versus NLRB elections. This is Bonior's specialty and it will be a great opportunity to learn about this and to thank him for his solidarity with the workers.

Simon Evnine

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