April 24, 2005


Yesterday was JMAC, or Joint Military Athletic Competition. It's a one day event kicking off Triservice week here at the U. It is a sports day between the Army, Navy, and Air Force ROTC units here. We play volleyball, soccer, American football, and basketball, as well as an endurance run, stretcher race, and tug of war. The Navy unit was undefeated in soccer, volleyball, and basketball, and won the Endurance race. Football and the tug of war were tied with one victory for each service, and the Army won the stretcher race.

The only event that needs explaining is the stretcher race. In that, four guys pickup a stretcher, with a fifth holding on for dear life. It is a 30 yard run. For the Navy, our CO, CAPT Coulson, was the fifth man. He described it as being, "Almost as good as low level." He flew A-6's and EA-6B's as a B/N and EWO. He also gave a speech at the beginning, saying despite the competition here, we all fight on the same team. It is something important to remember. I try not to forget it. Hopefully, the Daily will give us a few pictures.

Posted by thomp356 at 4:44 PM

April 9, 2005

Workers, err, Graduate Students of the World, UNITE!

Currently, gruaduate students here at the U are considering forming a union, called GradTRAC, an acronym for "Graduate Teaching and Reasach Assisstaints Coaltion. It will be a member of United Electrical. Now, most of the information is from the Minnesota Daily, because it has a free archive. Now, I'm an undergraduate student, and I've don't have much of an opinon, but this should be shared.

A quick intro on the kinds of graudate students here. There are just normal gruaduate students who are working for a Masters program, or a professional degree, like the Law School. There are also Teaching Assistaints, who teach discussion sections, and supervise labs. Finally, there are Resarch Assistians, who do most of the hard work in the sciences.

The first actual article in the Daily is from 29 October 2004. It details how the similar organization at the University of Iowa worked. It includes a mention on how many people would have to support the formation of a union here, and what the union has done in Iowa.

The next mention is on 7 February 2005, and talks about the differences between the Grad Student government, and the Union. The Graduate student governement is trying to remain neutral, and the Union organizers are avoiding it.

The third article is an editorial noting the Daily's over site of the RA's. Not much here.

The next few results work off of complaints about the article on 7 Feb, primarily centering in on the RA oversight. Here, and The next article, from 25 February, has the Daily's editorial board giving support to the Union, with the logic of low wages.

On the 25 Feburary reps from several other grad student unions spoke in favor of organiztion.

In that same Daily, a grad student wrote in taking issue with the Daily's talking points from the 25th.

March 30th had some orginal reporting, with election dates, April 4th in Duluth, and the 5, 13, 14, and 15 April in the Twin Cities. The State of Minnesota approved it, and set the dates. The University VP for Human Resuorces, Carol Carrier, gave what looks like guared opposition, with an official from the AFSCME supporting it. The union organizer hoped it would be better than 6 years ago.

The next day, the Daily interviewed opponents. Their opposition was based on a view of this work as temporary, poor relations with organizers with grad student groups, union dues going to the national level, and the vote, where they fear supporters will flood the ballot boxes. They also ask about nonmembers being forced to pay dues.

On Monday, a supporter from UW Madison, and U alum, attacks the group against the vote.

The Union organizer quoted on the 1st, had a nice little editorial, complaining about the U's actions, and getting pay increases, and improving life quality.

On the 7th, this past Thursday, the U talked about a pair of students trying to raise families and study. They also have a few rebuttals, but I find it intersting. The people who they talk to are going for P.hD's in English. How the !#** are you employable with that level of over education, unless you go into academia?

My opinion is a level of interested apathy (you can quote me later). I hope there aren't any issues with my education, and there aren't any increases in tuition. The warning I offer is, "Watch out for Gov. LePetomaine Syndrome," I also doubt how well an electricians union will represent academics?

Posted by thomp356 at 4:47 PM