Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Strike! (Or, Three Strikes? You're Out)

Update 11/18 (Patrick): Someone has kindly forwarded on an open letter purporting to set forth the reasoning behind the strike — complete with an entire section explaining why this strike is "not ironic." Given the ATL coverage, I have redacted names (if you read that as my attempt to protect the strikers from a future when they realize how silly this is, you are correct) and uploaded a pdf here.
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Someone in the comments on a thread below (9:44) assures us with regard to today's student/staff/faculty/ground squirrel strike that "these things aren't complicated." But if it is simple, it sure isn't making a hell of a lot of sense to me, or to anyone else with whom I have spoken.

So if you are a student who knows what this business is all about, consider politely addressing and rebutting this email from a fellow liberal, kind, caring, thoughtful classmate:
Ok there needs to be a nuts and boalts post about the strike and how stupid it is.
  1. Students are "striking" because they don't want their fees increased while workers are striking because they aren't getting paid. Seems to me that those two groups are each others enemies, not comrades.
  2. Students, as consumers of a service, cannot "strike." They could boycott or withdraw, but they can't strike. That would be like me claiming I'm on strike from Best Buy when I don't buy something from there.
  3. They are protesting in Berkeley; the decisions are made in Sacramento. Wrong forum.
  4. They are protesting at construction sites around campus. Why? Because they want the university to breach contracts and instead pay out for work without having it completed.
  5. The state is many billions of dollars in debt. Does no one think that might have something to do with the financial situation surrounding the UC system?
I concede that the compensation for the UC Regents is exorbitant and should be cut. But saving those few tens of thousands of dollars can help save some workers' jobs, not affect the fees for students. I'm constantly frustrated by how cheap Berkeley (undergrad) is for the quality of professor, yet the students here act as if they are being asked for their first born.
Those are good points. Add to that the fact that, as another commentator points out, few people seem to understand exactly who is striking and you can see why this grizzled survivor of countless Berkeley protestors might be tempted to roll his eyes.

Ugh. Pride.
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Update: Armen points out that this isn't new. At first skim, it looks like one could just apply the entire older post to this topic, part and parcel. People, I love Berkeley, but this isn't why.

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101 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually encourage all law students to show solidarity with whatever group is striking and not show up to class for the next few days.

And if you REALLY want to stick it to the University, don't show up for finals.

Meanwhile I will be over here collecting the HHs... err... I mean ... being a double agent and spying on the University!

11/17/2009 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand the student strike.

Are we protesting in "solidarity" with the union? Or is it about the fee hikes?

If it is about the fee hikes, what do the organizers believe is the solution? Isn't striking against the fee hikes essentially harming the union? Without the increased fees, there would be less money to go to pay those employees which means larger layoffs.

These two strikes seem to have competing interests, yet these are being done in solidarity?

I don't get it.

11/17/2009 10:20 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Though ultimately at odds with each other, both groups want the same thing in the short run: more money from the state. In that sense, it is not entirely inconsistent for the groups to "strike" together.

11/17/2009 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they want more money from the state, they why are we protesting the Yudof and the UC Regents?

Shouldn't we be in Sacramento?

I know the UC administration wants more money from the state too. Why are we attacking the people who want the same thing as us?

11/17/2009 10:25 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the whole point of a strike that it's indefinite? It's supposed to be a battle of wills between the strikers and strikees, and whoever can survive longest without the other has the upper hand. Right? That's how they work?

So why the hell do I see signs everywhere broadcasting that the "strike" is Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (if necessary)?

Never thought I'd say this, but I miss the TV writers' strike.

11/17/2009 10:28 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

My problem with the strike appears to have been articulated well by someone in the comments below. The problem here is that the state - and the voters of this state - have decided that education isn't important to them. By walking out of our classrooms and marching around Berkeley, of all places, we don't indicate to them, in any way, that they should (or why they should) increase funding for education. If anything, we do the opposite. The whole thing seems silly to me. I'm going to class. (Unless, of course, I don't go to class for other reason.)

11/17/2009 10:31 AM  
Blogger tyler said...

I agree with that liberal, caring student and the other commentators.

Someone has to bear the burden of this budget deficit. It has to be some combination students, professors, other employees, or taxpayers. If you don't like the balance Yudoff has struck in allocating this burden, propose a different balance. If you propose to squeeze the taxpayers, then you should be striking against them, not striking against yourself. Like, maybe all UC alumni--dentists, lawyers, bankers, etc--could strike against their customers. But if we're all just striking in hazy solidarity with each other, then we're striking against reality--against the need for someone to pay for the resources we consume.

To those who tell me that I'm "crossing the picket line" if I don't support this strike, I want to know what picket line I'm crossing. Am I crossing the picket line of students who don't want to pay the fee increases the university needs to maintain salaries? Am I crossing the picket line of employees who would rather see fee increases than salary cuts? Am I crossing the picket line of a student-employee coalition that wants taxpayers to foot the bill? Or am I crossing a picket line that's declared war on reality?

11/17/2009 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a list available of current items of UC spending that the strikers argue should be diverted either to lowered (nonraised) tuition or to employee compensation?

11/17/2009 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tyler,

I think your comment is spot on. A picket line is not some kind of magical marking drawn in on the ground. It is simply a request by some people that you join in their boycott. And it is often accompanied by some attempt to shame you if you do.

People cross picket lines every day for completely legitimate reasons. (E.g. people going into abortion clinics)

I am going to cross this picket line. I have stuff to do, and I don't agree with the demands of any of the 1 million different groups organizing this strike.

11/17/2009 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favorite part about all this is the pressure being put on professors to adapt class schedules based on the strike. Shouldn't the strike be about accepting the consequences of the strike instead of trying to make it more of a sham than it already is?

11/17/2009 10:57 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

I would like to give 10:57 the Nuts and Boalts shiny gold star of the day.

11/17/2009 11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are any law students actually participating in this strike? I haven't met any and most people I've asked think that it is the dumbest idea they have heard all year.

11/17/2009 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:57 et al.,

I can understand an annoyance with the workers' strike and the students' "strike." I can understand a dislike of picket lines, which as someone said often take the approach of aggressive public shaming associated with abortion protestors. I personally have no problem with any of these things (including abortion protests), but I do understand where the N&B crowd is coming from.

However, like it or not, a lot of us have enormous emotional difficulty crossing picket lines. Often this is for family reasons. (I'm not trying to play any cheap trump card, but frankly I can't help suspecting that a lot of posters here might not relate to those reasons.) And it really isn't that difficult holding class somewhere two blocks away, or for that matter rescheduling class material slightly. Very little is being asked of you. Criticize the strikers all you want, but when it comes to extremely minor inconveniences, have respect for where some of your classmates are coming from.

11/17/2009 11:13 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

11;13, agreed and appreciated.

I do not, however, think this can be called a picket line. Put it this way: whether or not people cross whatever line this is will have no effect on the source of the protesters grievances. So, it's not a scab problem. And for me, not a threat to my values or history.

11/17/2009 11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ever heard of a "general strike"? Everyone strikes--workers, students, everyone--to achieve some common end by shutting down the organization (the university, a city, the British Raj). No one works, nothing gets done, and pressure is put on the people in charge. The Berkeley student/worker strikes may not be particularly effective, but that doesn't mean that such strikes are never effective.

11/17/2009 11:27 AM  
Blogger Joel said...

11:13-

if i were you, and i had family connections to actual labor struggles, i would be pissed they are calling this a strike.

this is a wimpy protest that wants to give itself legitimacy by calling itself a strike and piggybacking on the real sacrifices made in the past.

11/17/2009 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patrick and Joel,

All fair. I was specifically trying to avoid a position on the main debate here. I just think that walking two blocks to the YWCA is very little to ask. I also think we all might agree on this.

11/17/2009 11:31 AM  
Blogger tyler said...

11:13-

I'm not "crossing the picket line" because I feel too much is being asked me. I am a spoiled rich kid, but I'm happy to go to class 2 blocks away, or not at all, or whatever. Indeed, as 10:57 points out, what's being asked for is comically little.

Rather, I'm "crossing the picket line" because I oppose the strikers' position on the important political issue of how to respond to these budget cuts. I'm sure you don't think that "respect for my classmates" should compel me to manifest support for a cause I don't support, right? That would be a pretty insidious type of "respect." I might as well vote for Palin out of respect for the feelings of all the moose hunters who are less fortunate than me.

(And I say the above with the caveat that I don't actually fully understand what the nature of the strikers cause is, which is why I hope that a strike supporter will respond to Patrick's invitation to help us understand what these goals really are.)

11/17/2009 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is pretty difficult holding class two blocks away. Does the YWCA really have that much space? I kind of doubt it.

Also, I just did the rough math and each classroom hour of instruction is costing me $125 this semester. Considering that I have 2.5 hours of instruction tomorrow and 3.5 hours on Thursday I would be losing $750 of instruction.

Sorry if some get a little annoyed that they might be inconvenienced by people who can't even articulate what they are fighting for. I plan to go to my classes tomorrow and get an the education that I paid for.

11/17/2009 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is 10:57. Another example of ridiculous student behavior: ELQ, who has been promoting the strike via email, has moved their cite checking party from 4 to 5 in order to "avoid the strike." It's still being held at Boalt. On the day of the strike. But I guess the strike ends at 5, right? I mean, seriously people, if you're going to do it, at least do it right.

11/17/2009 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

1. Imagine if you will: one group of one workers (say janitors) want a raise from their employer, while another group of workers (say secretaries) wants better health care. About 100 years ago, the American labor movement accepted the proposition that you’re advancing, which is frankly, always the boss’ approach: that these groups’ interests were opposed to one another, not aligned. It was called craft unionism and it didn’t work well. The alternative model really developed in the 1930s and worked a lot better, premised on the idea that even very disparate groups can make common cause when opposing very powerful employers and organizations.

Obviously students aren’t workers. But the unions have done a fantastic job of prioritizing the issue of fee hikes, and students (mainly undergraduates thus far) have done a great job protesting layoffs. They’ve done this because they realize they’re both being fucked over by the same privatization effort of our University.

2. Do you seriously care? Seriously? Dumb issue to be arguing about right now.

3. No, not really. No one in Sacramento told the UC to commit unfair labor practices. No one in Sacramento told Edley that we needed to model Yale University’s tuition model. No one in Sacramento determined that we needed bonds for 70 new construction projects while we lay off janitors. No one in Sacramento told the Regents they couldn’t dip into their multi-billion dollar rainy day fund.
But maybe I’m wrong on this, and Yudof really is taking commands on all of this stuff from Sacramento. (I might actually be wrong on the last two, I’m not sure). You have a really naïve analysis of how power works if you think shutting down the UC system won’t influence Sacramento. Let’s really stretch our imagination and say: a) it’s all from Sacramento, and b) Yudof’s really on our side. Do you think he has a stronger case when he goes there to beg for more cash if the campuses are calm, or if all hell is breaking loose?
4. The purpose of a strike is to stop business as usual at the struck place. Construction workers, because they’re often union members, understand the importance of solidarity and respect picket lines. Therefore, picketing a construction site will mean no work, which will mean a greater disruption, which is the goal of the strike.
5. Of course it does, to a certain extent (see #3). Saving public education is going to be a big project. We need everyone helping out, including coming out in the streets this week. You’re not helping.

11/17/2009 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Construction workers, because they’re often union members, understand the importance of solidarity and respect picket lines. Therefore, picketing a construction site will mean no work, which will mean a greater disruption, which is the goal of the strike.

Oh, god. One of the intended goals is to slow down the construction process? Please stop.

11/17/2009 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:11, some of your comments make no sense.

You know who is going to be most effected by people trying to shut down the UC system? Students who have already paid tuition for the semester and are trying to get an education.

Also, you know what is going to happen when you prevent construction workers from working? It is going to cost more money to complete that construction project.

11/17/2009 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I am going to strike the strike.

11/17/2009 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:45, the dipshits organizing these "strikes" are too dumb to realize things like that.

11/17/2009 12:26 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

Oh, the weight of the world! I will be so adversly effected by those "dipshits" that process my grades! The nerve!

Seriously, though, would anyone in the "I'm looking forward to crossing picket lines" contingent care to make a proposal about how to keep our fees down? Or is it that you don't care, or think that this surprise move by the Regents' is 100% the right course?

11/17/2009 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:11 should take a basic class at community college called "How Taxes and Spending Work in California."

A major cause of the budget crisis over the last decade has been skyrocketing, gold-plated benefits for public employee unions in this state. We pay public employees far more than do even comparable cost-of-living states like New Jersey and Connecticut. We continue to sink money into defined-benefit pension plans that are bankrupting the state and municipalities. We have byzantine union contracts that prevent anyone from being fired (hence the furloughs).

And for all this we get....what in terms of services? Have you ever tried to deal with a bureaucrat in Sproul Hall? Have you ever tried to use a bathroom in Sproul Plaza?

12:11 also seems ignorant of the basic moral and economic distinctions between private and public unions. A private union has to be cognizant of the finances of the company against which it wants to strike. It can't bankrupt the company, or everyone loses (as the UAW is learning). Private unions can often point to their own increasing productivity or other efficiency gains to justify higher wages. That's the basic yin and yang of labor bargaining, which I whole-heartedly support.

But it's a different story with public unions. They win benefits not by leveraging their economic position, but by purchasing legislators in Sacramento who then do their bidding -- and who do so completely irrespective of the fiscal realities of the state, or the productivity of the workers. They can do this because there is always more debt that can be assumed by the state (well, maybe), or interests not as politically powerful who can be raided. Anyone even remotely familiar with SEUI, or CCPOA, or CTA knows how this works.

As a result of all these shenanigans by public employee unions -- getting the state to commit to wages and pensions that it can't afford -- the state has had to cut services to the poor and middle class as a result, and one consequence of this is -- get ready to have your mind blown -- rising tuition!

So your "solidarity" talk is nonsensical bullshit. When you go out there and oppose furloughs to UPTE, CUE, and SEIU, and demand higher wages, what you are really saying is, "Please continue to support public employee unions with money the state doesn't have, and if that means I have to pay $50,000 a year in tuition for the same level of 'services,' I'm willing to do it."

And yet I can't help but wonder if you were one of the people bitching on the thread below. What a helluva dialectic for you.

11/17/2009 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thomas wrote "Oh, the weight of the world! I will be so adversly effected by those "dipshits" that process my grades! The nerve!"

Sorry for my confusion but what on earth does that mean? The only thing that I could come up with is that the Registrar's office organized the strike. I don't think that is accurate.

11/17/2009 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thomas wrote: Seriously, though, would anyone in the "I'm looking forward to crossing picket lines" contingent care to make a proposal about how to keep our fees down?

Coming up with an alternate proposal to the fee hikes is the responsibility of those supporting the student strike, not those opposed to the strike.

I've asked several times about what the protesters solution is but no one has answered.

Those opposed to the strike are likely okay with the hikes so they don't need to articulate an alternative with they have no problem with the status quo. The protesters are the ones that are taking some sort of action against the school so they are the ones that need to spell out an alternative proposal.

11/17/2009 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The research skills of the people commenting on this blog disgust me. Is it the strikers' job to find each and every person in the world, sit them down, and paternally explain basic concepts of student/worker power, the history of the labor movement, and why collective action gets the goods? Is it the responsibility of the strikers' to do that same over the issues? I don't think. Look at ucstrike.com, which has a resources section as well as several cogent explanations of the issues.

Feel free to agree or disagree with the strike, but understand that disagreeing because you aren't willing to read a newspaper article or a one page fact sheet is exactly the same as disagreeing on the merits and taking food out of the Boalt workers' mouths and money away from their families.

11/17/2009 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Hersh said...

What the hell is a strike going to achieve for law students? The university is already in the red, how is disrupting operations going to improve the situation.

If the strikers had a concrete plan (that they all agreed to) I could see there being some reason behind the protests. Otherwise its just a lot of sound and fury.

What is Edley supposed to do? Pull cash out of his butt to make everyone happy?

The construction is a convenient scapegoat ... but its ALREADY UNDERWAY!!!!! Stopping it now would be idiotic -- we'd have a giant hole in the ground.

Perhaps years ago Edley should have been a prophet and foreseen that California would nosedive financially. Maybe he should have taken all the alumni donations and parked them in a savings account, instead of building new classrooms. But we are here now. And furthermore we aren't even sure if the expansion plans are what is hurting us at the moment. I doubt the fixed costs are what is causing tuition increases -- its more likely things like salaries (for both faculty and staff).

There is the separate issue of whether or not student's were given adequate notice about the tuition increases. I don't know whether they were or weren't but both sides of the argument seem to have some merit. However, a strike doesn't help the situation in either case.

Its true, students are customers. You can complain all you want, but at the end of the day you are paying the university for a service. If you don't go to class, they still keep our tuition.

Now if I could get a refund for skipping a class, well then ...

11/17/2009 1:44 PM  
Blogger L'Alex said...

I plan on lowering student fees (for myself) by attending class Weds/Thurs and selling my notes during finals week.

11/17/2009 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) 12:45's post is a must read.

2)1:36, I looked at the websites already. I really don't understand what the strikers expect the UC system to do, or where they expect it to get the money, other than from students.

And yes, it IS the strikers job to convince each and every person to support the strike.

11/17/2009 1:47 PM  
Blogger tyler said...

Thomas,
Your first response helped me understand what the strike is about, so thanks for that. Now I understand that the strike is by a labor union-student coalition, and that it is against: (1) government’s decision to cut education funding (2) UC management’s decision to allocate too much to construction projects (3) UC management’s decision to allocate too little to salaries (4) UC management’s decision not to dip into a “rainy day fund” and (5) UC management’s decision to raise student fees.

But as the last commentator implicitly noted, this is a bill of grievances, not a plan, let alone a plan with numbers that check out. And in the absence of a plan, my instinct is that students should embrace the proposed fee hikes as a way to prevent deep salary cuts to employees, rather than holding out hope for a taxpayer-sponsored bailout. When I show up at school tomorrow to show my support for fee increases--the very fee increases that will help forestall salary cuts to union workers--should I really be accused of crossing the union picket line?

As the commentator that talked about the public unions said, the whole spirit of this strike, like any strike, is "we'll drag everyone else in this ship down with us before we give an inch." That's pretty cool when you're a laborer and the other people in the ship are business owners with profit margins to spare. It's not as cool if you're a middle class white collar worker or a soon-to-be-rich lawyer and the other people in the ship are the state of California. When you're doing that, can you really talk about solidarity?

11/17/2009 1:47 PM  
Blogger tyler said...

Also, 1:36: take a second look at these one-page fact sheets and emails. They routinely contradict themselves whether its a student picket line they're going to accuse us of crossing or a union one. And their position statements amount to: things like "no student fee hikes-stop layoffs & furloughs-bargain with unions-end Yudof’s emergency powers-budget transparency."

I'm in favor of babies and puppies too, but I don't think my poor research skills are the reason I have a hard time figuring out what this strike is about.

11/17/2009 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know your strike's a fail when you have to defend it as "not ironic."

11/17/2009 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you to Tyler for pointing out that any time someone disagrees with the student strike, the strike supporters say that this is really about supporting the union.

It was probably a really bad a idea to schedule two strikes (which are for very different things) at the same time. This is why there seems to be so much confusion. Some students want to strike to support the union. Some want to strike to protest the fee hikes.

When Edley explained his opposition to the student strike against the fees, the only response was strike organizers was "This is about supporting the union."

So just on the issue of the student strike about the fee hikes, can someone please now give an explanation about the the strike organizers' plan is? What is their proposal?

11/17/2009 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In case anyone is wants to know where the State is getting its money from/spending its money, there is a good chart here (yes, it's a pdf):
http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/pdf/BudgetSummary/SummaryCharts.pdf

I can think of a number of programs I would cut before higher education, but then again, I would cut a bunch of programs without this deficit.

11/17/2009 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"my instinct is that students should embrace the proposed fee hikes as a way to prevent deep salary cuts to employees," -- Tyler

I don't think the workers agree. They want to be able to afford to send their sons and daughters to the schools they work for, and do not want to be priced out by higher fees. Both the unions and students are asking (and started asking a long time ago) for budgetary transparency and a more democratic administrative system. The lack of responsiveness on the part of UC necessitates concurrent and coordinated action between the two groups. Essentially, both groups are saying 'give everyone a seat at the table.'

11/17/2009 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The student strike organizers honestly believe that Yudoff and the UC administration is "hiding" money from us.

They completely ignore that the UC system is not the only system that is facing these same problems. Every school system is facing similar problems. They too have to raise tuition, cut salaries, cut courses, layoff workers, or all of the above. Unless they think there is a vast conspiracy among all administrators of public schools in the state, their beliefs of administrators "hiding" money is unfounded.

11/17/2009 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:29,

Students aren't workers. They are consumers. They demonstrate their preferences in choosing which school to attend.

If the students really wanted protest, they would do what consumers do to send a message and boycott.

They would boycott by withdrawing and not giving the school the money it is asking for.

Of course, no student wants to give up her precious spot in the school so no one would actually do that.

But as consumers, students shouldn't strike because that doesn't do anything. In the end, the school still has its money and will have it when you pay it next year.

Consumers boycott and refuse to give money. Consumers don't strike.

11/17/2009 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:13-

Students with union sentiment in their families may be very uncomfortable crossing anything calling itself a picket line. Fair enough. We all see that that discomfort isn't the same thing as supporting the strike. None of the scorn for the strike is directed at that feeling. And very few of us would argue that walking two blocks is a serious burden. But you should acknowledge that other people crossing this self-described picket line in no way disrespects your feeling.


Everyone else-

The Call for a Strike on UCStrike.com doesn't inspire a ton of faith, but it does specifically call out two items of spending:$1.35B on construction projects and $800M on "excessive bureaucracy" in the form of "administrative positions." Whether the numbers add up or not, to me that constitutes an implicit proposal: back out of the construction projects and lay off some bureaucrats. Criticism of the strike should acknowledge and critique that proposal.

11/17/2009 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In this thread http://boaltalk.blogspot.com/2009/10/n-photo-caption-contest.html#comments I said that Boalt didn't need construction. I was criticized by someone else saying that I must not be a Boalt student to believe we didn't need construction. I don't know what that person's stance on this strike is, but it is clear that there are people that believe that construction of new facilities is absolutely necessary to the point that fees should be increased.

Sure, we may not think that others do not need the construction, but to those that benefit from it, they surely would disagree and see it as an imperative.

11/17/2009 2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When a group of employees go on strike and put up a picket line in front of their employer, it is a call for everyone to refrain from crossing.

It doesn't matter whether you are a fellow employee, a student, a customer, etc.

11/17/2009 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, and when people picket an abortion clinic it's the same call. These aren't all legitimate calls to not cross. This call could be perfectly illegitimate. I don't give a fuck if you go picket, but the picketers sure seem aggressive and condescending towards those of us who are on the fence or going to attend class.

11/17/2009 2:51 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

2:41, I think a bit of perspective is helpful.

In 2004, DE took the helm at Boalt and promised to rapidly change the school's culture of legal education on the cheap (read: using lecturers and practitioners in place of permanent faculty), as well as expanding interdisciplinary study centers. He succeeded. We hired or poached some top rate faculty and expanded current research centers while adding new ones. The whole thing though rested on a plan to build a new building between Boalt and Haas Castle, to be shared by the two schools.

Then BP announced the $500 million grant to Berkeley that required the use of Calvin Lab, sitting in the spot of the proposed new building. This led to plan B, the courtyard construction.

At the time is certainly seemed like expansion was an absolute necessary. Of course at the time, we also felt royally pissed at the unions for screwing over graduation ceremonies. But that was then.

11/17/2009 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Hersh said...

1:36 you are a real hero. First of all, if you are disgusted with us and need to express it, have the balls to sign your name, Hercules.

In addition, did you read the website yourself? What exactly does it say there? Please explain the plan they propose there, because I am too stupid to read it for myself.

Don't look down on people because they aren't seduced by the heroic vision of the glorious proletariat standing up to the iron fist of the man. This situation is not that situation.

Maybe that simplistic us/them bullshit works 99% of the time when you type nonsense out on the internet, but this is a Boalt blog, not the Michael Moore fan blog.

If you have something to say that isn't a two-para rant about how dumb we all are, then lets hear it. But it strikes me, based on the tone of your post, that you have no idea what the fuck you are talking about; and the sum of your philosophy is that if you see people with placards on a street yelling at a guy in a suit, you join in.

11/17/2009 3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:25, I've never voted for a Republican in my life, and I'm usually pro-(private sector)-labor, but that. was. HILARIOUS.

11/17/2009 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto what Hersh said.

11/17/2009 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pwned.

11/17/2009 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tree sitters:real conservationists::boalt "strikers":real labor activists.

11/17/2009 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Hersh said...

2:36,

$800M for redundant bureaucrats? I don't doubt at all that the UC is burdened with a completely inefficient bureaucracy, that costs more than what an equivalent private school would have. However, I doubt very much that these are all jobs that can be slashed with no political consequences.

Also, how many of the people holding up placards are included in that $800M? I would really like to see a concrete list of who they propose gets axed. I'm sure there would be a shitstorm when that list gets out. Just regent and chancellors and deans and such don't add up to $800M. There's going to be some working middle class people in that figure.

As for the $1.3 billion in construction, I believe that is just a convenient scapegoat. Its certainly possible that the school has taken ridiculous loans to build absurd infrastructure projects that we don't need, but from what I've seen at Boalt, the things being built are exactly the things students have been bitching about. i.e. not having a student center, having crappy classes. Granted some things are a waste ... like the auto towel dispenser and (in my opinion at least) a sports center, but again, they need to point out what is objectionable.

I think you'll find that students appreciate much of this so called "wasteful" construction.

As for the call to place more students and workers on the administrative body of the University, thats a totally political decision. Its not clear to me that that would improve the state of the University. I'm sure many students, faculty, and workers would like it, but who knows if that would actually improve the administration of the university.

Its possible that it might. But again, maybe thats something for the people of California to decide at the ballot box, and not something to be forced by a strike.

Or if people want to strike to try to get their way, then students that don't agree with the move should feel free to disagree.

11/17/2009 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, how many middle class jobs would be pwned if the UC system halted all of its construction?

11/17/2009 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a good question. Who are these administrators that the union proposes to lay off instead? Are any of them members of the union?

11/17/2009 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this may be a record for most times "pwned" has been used in a thread. A truly spectacular achievement.

11/17/2009 3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the strike has definitely been pwned, mostly by its own student representatives both in the letter they sent out, their participation in this thread and general behavior.

11/17/2009 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So is the library going to be open/staffed tomorrow and Thursday, or are the library employees part of UPTE? How exactly is the strike going to disrupt "business as usual" over the next few days?

11/17/2009 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Charles Ci. said...

I will not be attending class on Weds. or Thurs. (total of 4 hours missed instruction). Someone asked in an earlier comment if anyone was actually not attending class, so I figured I would post.

11/17/2009 6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I had a class today with about 80 people or so in it and the instructor asked how many people wouldn't be attending class because of the strike. Seemed like there might have been 3 at the most. If that is the case there are going to be a lot of people walking through those picket lines.

11/17/2009 6:05 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

I agree with the people who compare labor strikes with abortion protesters. For instance, I'm going to Admin tomorrow...because of incest.

11/17/2009 6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joining a strike is something every white person holds in extremely high esteem.

The Boalt strike allows grad students (#81) to feel like they’re making a difference and raising awareness (#18) without actually having to make any sacrifices or come up with actual solutions to the problem they’re striking about.

It also allows the white person to feel superior to his or her peers for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the strikers will be outdoors while the scabs remain in class (#9).

In fact, you don’t even have to be clear on what you’re striking about to participate in the strike, the point is to show everyone how much you care, that you are raising awareness and that you’re supporting non-profits (#12) and telling poor people how you can help them (#62) before you go off to be a big shot corporate lawyer (#56) who crushes unions so you can afford that condo in one of San Francisco’s (#91) up and coming neighborhoods (#73).

The strike has a diverse (#7) group of constituents and will be sure to raise awareness. Solutions are not white people’s thing as long as important voices are being heard. And of course, it’s not ironic to denounce detractors of your strike for calling it ironic (#50) as long as you keep a straight face and take enough umbrage at the very suggestion.

Your striking will be more effective if you get there first (#71). Remember, this is just as much about you showing how conscientious you are without actually having to make sacrifice.

Cited to: http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/full-list-of-stuff-white-people-like/

11/17/2009 6:31 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Sorry, 10:57. Someone just stole your shiny gold star.

11/17/2009 6:33 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Best.

Comment.

Ever.

11/17/2009 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I think the strike is kind of ridiculous, and I think all the antagonism between the parties here is kind of ridiculous. All the parties striking tomorrow have interests that are exactly aligned with the parties they're striking against!

This isn't a traditional labor situation, where "management" is reaping greater profits by cutting costs at the expense of "labor." I can't imagine that any dean, president, chancellor, or whatever of any UC is interested in or enjoying having to put people on furlough, lay people off, or raise fees.

What I think is conspicuously absent from all this is a discussion about why the groups aren't working together to protest or strike or whatever against the people who can actually do something about this-- the legislature and the voters.

There's obviously a tremendous amount of energy and political capital at stake here, and I think all parties-- UC "upper management", professors, staff, and students-- are all screwing themselves by not working on this together.

11/17/2009 8:07 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

I'm really sorry I haven't been able to contribute to this little online fracas.

But I've got to say that the mostly naively sweet part of this student strike is the idea that the university (and its professors) are negatively affected when students don't use the resources that they've already paid for.

On a related matter, I joined a gym, but I don't like their social policy. I'm still going to pay my membership fees, but I'm not going to actually work out there. That'll show 'em.

11/17/2009 8:36 PM  
Blogger Toney said...

Finally! Now that Carbolic has chimed in, this thread can officially be declared "a complete clusterF%&$".

btw, your comment reminded me of a great running gag on the short-lived Dana Carvey show. Just me?

11/17/2009 8:39 PM  
Blogger tyler said...

The fact that the strikers want to cut $800 million in administration salaries reinforces my feeling that somebody is going to have to feel the pain of these budget cuts, and that its not only going to be taxpayers. If the strikers are claiming to represent us as students, asking for our support, and chastising us for crossing their picket line, they owe it to us to be totally honest about who they’re asking to feel the pain.

The broadsheet they passed around today included “administrative services” as one of the many types of employees supporting the strike, so presumably its not all administrators, only some. Which ones? How can I in good conscience sign on to a program of firing a whole lot of people I don't know just because the UPTE, which I didn’t know from Adam until yesterday, tells me those people deserve the axe more than its membership does?

You want to accuse the Regents of a lack of transparency? Level with us first. You want to talk about solidarity? Be honest with us about where the boundaries of your solidarity stop.

8:07, I could really see myself getting on board with a strike and going all out under the right circumstances. But the organizers of this one seem to have skipped the tedious steps of calling meetings about the problem, listening to the voices of the people they claim to represent, and crafting a strategy--they went straight to the heroic picket line part. Nor did they worry about making their first interaction with us was a threat to label us scabs if we didn't obey their ambiguous commands. Not a good way to drum up support.

11/17/2009 8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:31, fucking amazing.

11/18/2009 7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ATL picked up this story:

http://abovethelaw.com/2009/11/berkeley_tuition_on_the_rise.php

11/18/2009 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we get a public shaming of the NLG?

They represent the fee increases are almost 80,000 even though they're more like 74. The result is a 29% increase according to their numbers, when really it's only 22%. SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

11/18/2009 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, can you liveblog the strike?

11/18/2009 9:24 AM  
Blogger L'Alex said...

I second 9:24.

11/18/2009 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Bren said...

I'm going to go on strike against Loan Repayment Assistance and Financial Aid. I hope NLG will join me in my courageous strike to destroy these unfair programs that raises student fees and divert resources away from the salaries of the downtrodden workers.

11/18/2009 9:40 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Hahaha, that is a great idea, 9:24. I was planning to get stuff done today, but I'll see what I can do.

11/18/2009 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

I was on the fence about this strike until I heard which labor unions were involved. The clerical workers? They've made an enemy out of me since the main campus registrar began telling my lenders I dropped out 2 months ago.

11/18/2009 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Additional punchline:

I don't think they'll mind me going to class today because according to their records I'm not even a student here anymore.

11/18/2009 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't attend high school football games after I walked at graduation, I didn't hang out at local bars with the townies after I got out of college, and I sincerely hope my life after law school will be fulfilling enough that I won't feel compelled to post on the student-run blog of my alma mater.

Carbolic, I don't know whether I know you or not. My understanding is that your status as an emeritus contributor suggests that you've graduated. You had your 3 years to suggest that Asian students don't deserve office space and to tell Sudanese refugees to accept what they're given or transfer to Hastings (among several less incendiary comments, I'm sure). For most people, that would be enough. I sincerely hope that at some point you find enough meaning in your life that you no longer need to seek validation by acting like a douchebag on the internet. Best of luck.

11/18/2009 12:40 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

Wowzer!

Well, I hope you are devoting your considerable talents to the strike, 12:40. Between your factual precision and cogent analysis, I'm sure you can make the student/worker manifesto even more remarkable.

PS I guess that Armen is also some kind of Wooderson figure, what with this being his blog and all. And don't let TJ's newfound respectability fool you!

11/18/2009 1:35 PM  
Blogger Slam Master A said...

I have posted a couple times in here anonymously, mostly out of laziness, since I don't want to go throught he hassle of entering my email address and password. And though Carbolic and I certainly don't see eye to eye on everything, and he more than warrants douchebaggery comments on any number of things, your comment is a grossly incorrect summary of Carbolic's contribution to N&B.

Second, this blog is about Boalt. It is not a student run blog, if for no other reason than our glorious founder, Mr. Armen, is an alum. If anyone can be said to run this blog, it is Armen. He graciously allows others to post on HIS blog.

11/18/2009 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:40 - please go on strike from Nuts & Boalts now.

kthxbye!

11/18/2009 1:43 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

12:40 don't be a jerk, and especially don't be a cowardly anonymous jerk. Carbolic makes interesting (if sometimes incendiary) contributions. Indeed his comment on this thread makes a lot of sense -- striking your school by failing to take advantage of the opportunities it offers is pretty much akin to sticking it to your expensive gym by staying home and eating chips on the couch.

And if you think that little of alums, go ahead and strike against networking with them too -- that is part of your expensive tuition after all, so you may as well stick it to the man and refuse that benefit as well. (plus, if you think you do mindless internet surfing now being stuck in class 3-4 hours a day, oh just wait until you're stuck at a computer for way, way longer as an actual grown up graduated person).

11/18/2009 2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but I think that calling 12:40 a "cowardly anonymous jerk" and then defending Carbolic is a bit amusing. I just checked my little black networking book of Boalt alumni and I see no "Carbolic."

Carbolic has posted to this blog anonymously every single time he writes...including the time he told a student born in Sudan to move to Hastings if he didn't like a professor's torture views. I too am upset that someone who really should be doing something better with their time now that they are a hot shot lawyer has seriously hurt many students on a much more personal level than snide quips that are usually posted to these blogs.

Tj is right...every time "Carbolic" shows up in a thread, it is guaranteed to become quite the clusterf**k.

11/18/2009 2:49 PM  
Blogger Slam Master A said...

Wait... we're grown ups?!

11/18/2009 2:51 PM  
Blogger Toney said...

Hey, I said Carbolic is guarantee to cluster-F up a thread. Though my initials are TJ.

And yeah, Carbolic has no ground to stand on. Anytime anyone posts anonymously, divide their sentiment by 5. Especially when they are douches! (I've been dying to start the douche-snowball effect for a while now).

11/18/2009 2:55 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Point taken; though he's not anonymous to many of us, hence my impulse to name call 12:40 for bashing on someone I respect.

In any event, consistently posting under the same name (even if it's a made up one) is significantly less anonymous than posting under no name at all. You were able to take Carbolic to task precisely because you could connect his past comments to him.

11/18/2009 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other grads post here too! See, I'm cool, guys!

...

guys?

11/18/2009 3:20 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

2:49--

1. For the record, I don't post anonymously. I post pseudonymously. Like George Sand.

2. You know who also posts pseudonymously? TJ. As opposed to Toney. (Let me point out that you're not doing so great on factual accuracy so far.)

3. "the time he told a student born in Sudan to move to Hastings if he didn't like a professor's torture views." Actually, I said this:

"Amaha, you have a choice. You can choose to take the other section. Or you can choose to skip the class. Or you can (probably) choose to take it at Hastings and transfer the credits. Or you can transfer from Boalt to another law school. Nobody is forced to take this class."

Okay, a few points. First, your characterization of my post stinks.

Second, I argued that, as the consumer of a legal education, she has several ways of expressing her disapproval. The most effective method is also the most common--by purchasing elsewhere. If you don't like the way Walmart treats its employees, then shop at Costco.

Hmmm...does this sound familiar? It's almost as if that point is relevant to this thread...

The problem with the student strike is that, in contrast to a factory, the law school isn't "hurt" when we don't use the services we've already paid for. In fact, it's the opposite. If you want to boycott, you have to stop paying, not stop using.

11/18/2009 4:11 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

I also like the idea of 2:49 looking through the Boalt alumni book. "Earl Warren? Yes, he definitely is a Berkeley Law alumn..."

11/18/2009 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh the dreaded 'nom de plume' defense.

And as far as factual accuracy... You may want to check your gender references when responding to my post - "she has several ways of expressing her disapproval."

Seriously, take your pseudonym and get a pseudolife.

11/18/2009 5:14 PM  
Blogger Slam Master A said...

ZING!

jk... that was lame.

11/18/2009 5:36 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

Actually, Amaha is a pseudonym for Amantine Dupin.

11/18/2009 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this thread weren't so funny, I'd be embarrassed to be a Boaltie.

11/18/2009 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ZOMG! We're famous(er?)

http://abovethelaw.com/2009/11/berkeley_law_students_how_did.php

11/19/2009 7:31 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Duuuudde 12:40. Alums can't post on N&B anymore? What about all those times when you need us so badly (i.e., all those Bar threads that inevitably appear around June/July of every year - "Alums! Heeeelllllpppp us! We're freaking out! How did you do it? What was your strategy? I'm scared!!!" Or OCIP - "How did you get YOUR job?? Where did you interview? How do you like your firm? Heeellllllpp! I'm scared!")

But on a less snarky note, my point is just that Boalt alums are still part of the institution, we're still paying for our education, some (many?) of us still contribute to Boalt in the form of donations, and many (some?) of us still care about what is going on at our alma mater. And I think we can still contribute interesting things from here on the other side of law schol. 12:40, take a breath, relax - and you'll thank me when you're studying for the bar and want to hear how it was for those of us who survived before you.

11/19/2009 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today at 3pm KGO radio is going to be talking about the student fee increase. Call in the show and share your outrage.

415-808-0810
510-808-0810

11/19/2009 1:07 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

I actually hope some people call who aren't outraged. Because there are different views on the issue, and it shouldn't just be strike supporters who call in.

11/19/2009 1:23 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

I hope some people call in and express their outrage at people who are outraged. Any volunteers? Carbolic?

11/19/2009 1:25 PM  
Blogger James said...

Even after the increase we're still left with a $913M budget ask for next year.

Do people not realize how dire the budget situation is?

Again, I'm waiting to hear a budget proposal from the strikers.

11/19/2009 2:26 PM  
Blogger tj said...

Must correct an above assertion: I don't post pseudonymously - my grammy called me TJ. Not close enough? haha

11/19/2009 10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name actually is Anonymous.

11/20/2009 8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno, it seems to me that many here are putting symbolism before substance.

Yes, "honoring the picketline" is largely symbolic. Doing so will not financially harm the university. It's merely a way to show support for the strike/protest. And, just like it won't devastate the university, it probably won't kill you to honor the picketline either.

Which leads me to conclude that people expressing the most angst/confusion/consternation about "the picket line" (or whether this is a "strike") are doing so to to avoid dealing with the real issue: do you support the goals and aims of the protests?

If you don't, fine. But be up front about it. Don't hide behind secondary issues.

And please don't invoke "real workers" to oppose this protest. That's so Palin-esque.

11/16/2010 11:35 PM  

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