L-I: OSU President Kirwan's Raise, Etc.

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at SPAMOSU.EDU
Thu May 4 07:51:21 MDT 2000

>Date: Thu, 4 May 2000 08:08:59 -0400
>Reply-To: furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
>Sender: owner-engrad at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
>From: Yoshie Furuhashi <furuhashi.1 at osu.edu>
>To: allfac at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu, serj at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu,
>        MMflint at aol.com
>Cc: libby.1 at osu.edu, engrad at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu,
>        AAUP at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
>Subject: OSU President Kirwan's Raise, Etc.
>X-Sender: yfuruhas at pop.service.ohio-state.edu
>Here's to your reading pleasure before the Board of Trustees meeting
>on Friday, May 5 at the Longaberger Alumni House, 2200 Olentangy
>River Road (from 9 AM) and a discussion on "Academic Priorities and
>Budget Policy in a Changing University," chaired by Provost Ray,
>from 3:30-5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9 in the Grand Lounge of the
>Faculty Club.  (The forum is open to the public.)
>*****   Bob Fitrakis and Jamie Pietras, "Dark Side of the Boom:
>Striking OSU Workers Demand Fair Wages and Economic Justice,"
>_Columbus Alive_ 4 May 2000: pp.10-11
>...As president of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local
>4501, Josephson represents the maintenance and medical workers who
>keep the Ohio State University up and running. Yet 30 percent of his
>CWA members make less than $8 an hour, and half make less than $10
>an hour. This, in a period touted as the greatest economic boom in
>U.S. history.
>Welcome to the dark side of the boom at OSU.
>On May 1, after weeks of increasingly tense protests, the CWA's
>2,000 service and skilled trade workers went on strike, leaving OSU
>struggling without many essential custodial and maintenance services.
>The pre-strike protests came to a head last Wednesday, April 26,
>when some 100 union workers and their student allies stormed the
>entrance to Bricker Hall, where President Brit Kirwan mans the OSU
>flagship. As they streamed into the administration building, and
>then stayed put for an impromptu sit-in, the protesters chanted, "No
>money, no peace." Ironically, with graduate students T.J. Ghose and
>Yoshie Furuhashi in the forefront of student support, the sit-in
>coalition actually reflected diversity in ways that the land-grant
>university can only dream of otherwise.
>Don Slaiman, spokesperson for the national AFL-CIO, insisted at the
>start of the sit-in in front of Kirwan's office, "We have to build a
>movement for low-wage workers. We can't expect private companies to
>do the right thing and pay sustainable wages if our institutions of
>higher learning don't. Every worker has to supplement his job with
>another job here. It's the best economy ever, yet none of these
>people are feeling it."
>Josephson, echoing Slaiman's sentiment, pointed out that for many
>workers, their strike benefits are higher than their regular wages.
>Dave Caldwell, Franklin County AFL-CIO president, noted that OSU
>wages were lower than many of the fast food joints in Columbus.
>"It's an absolute obscenity, especially because it's public money,"
>he said.
>It seems like everybody, or at least everybody other than OSU
>employees, is doing well. In February, 35,000 state employees,
>already better paid than OSU's CWA employees, won an 11 percent pay
>hike over three years. In March, Ohio Department of Education
>Superintendent Susan T. Zellman received a $45,000 raise after her
>first year, raising her salary to $180,000.
>OSU President Kirwan's raise last July was a mere 5.8 percent, which
>added $16,000--or the yearly salaries of approximately 400 CWA
>workers--to boost his annual salary to $291,000. That pales in
>comparison to OSU Athletic Director Andy Geiger's 39 percent hike,
>which took him from $179,000 to $250,000. Now, when the lowest paid
>workers at the university ask for a modest raise, the administration
>pleads poverty.
>Last Friday, when Columbus Alive visited the "liberated zone" in
>front of Kirwan's office, a dozen students and community supporters
>busied themselves making signs and preparing for the May Day strike.
>They also incessantly worked their clickers and drums, creating a
>din in Bricker Hall that proved quite unnerving.
>That same day, the OSU student newspaper The Lantern announced that
>it supported the workers' demand: "In a feeble and insolent attempt
>to end the dispute, university administrators offered the union a
>$1.90 [an hour] pay raise [over a three year period] to only the
>lowest paid members of the union. And this only months after they
>selfishly decided to raise their own salaries at huge percentage
>Ghose told Alive that students are being urged to bring the
>accumulating trash normally picked up by striking CWA workers to the
>president's office. "We're encouraging students not to scab, and
>particularly not to do the jobs done by the striking union workers,"
>he said.
>On Saturday morning, April 29, 1,000 members marched 10 blocks from
>the CWA union hall to Bricker Hall, stopping traffic along the way.
>Josephson continued to dismiss OSU's wage offer as paltry....
>...On Saturday, Josephson stressed this point, noting that CWA
>workers in terms of real wages, adjusted for inflation, were
>actually make less money than 15 years earlier.
>A study last year by the Northeast Ohio Research Consortium
>demonstrated that despite the strong economy of the 1990s, the
>median income for workers in Ohio and Columbus actually declined
>between 1979 and 1997. In Columbus, real wages dropped from $12.19
>and hour to $11 an hour in 1997, a point stressed by Mayor Michael
>Coleman in his 1999 election. Coleman frequently told audiences that
>part of the problem in Columbus was that 44 percent of city
>households lived on $21,000 a year or less.
>In 1979, roughly one in five workers in Columbus earned poverty
>wages. By 1997, the figure had jumped dramatically to nearly one in
>three. Despite all the rhetoric from corporate media sources about
>the soaring economy, workers all over Columbus are finding it more
>and more difficult to make ends meet.
>OSU actually offered maintenance workers at the university's medical
>center a $1.40 an hour raise over three years--50 cents an hour less
>than "campus workers." These are the people who work with biohazards
>on a daily basis and keep the hospital's patients and corridors
>clean. It's no wonder that a March survey by the Ohio Nurses
>Association (ONA) found that nearly half of their members would not
>feel comfortable having a family member or friend stay in a hospital
>or nursing home where they worked.
>Betsy Waid, ONA's director of economic and general welfare, told the
>Dispatch that "rather than cutting staff to save money, hospitals
>should be decreasing CEO's salaries. There's always money for
>building new buildings and increasing salaries for top executives,
>but no money for care."
>On Sunday night, counting down the hours to the strike, 200 people
>gathered at a candlelight vigil in front of Bricker Hall pledging to
>stand in solidarity against a university where there's always money
>for sports arenas, new buildings and increasing salaries for
>football coaches, athletic directors and top level administrators,
>but where attempts by OSU's lowest paid workers to make ends meet
>are seen as a "budget buster."
><http://www.alivewired.com/2000/20000504/news3.html>   *****
>awaiting a Corporate Crime Fighting Chicken,

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