Baseball Title Strike OneWEEK EIGHT

Strike One: The YUFA Grand Strike of 1997
WEEK EIGHT

Both sides were still negotiating and the strikers were still on the picket lines. We were tired but we also got angry at the employer and relied heavily on new found union friendships.


Date: Thu, 08 May 1997 20:18:01
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Retribution? Discipline action? Retribution? Against the contract faculty union who stood with YUFA in Senate in this strike? Over my dead body, Betty Boone. And I put my money where my mouth is. You want my back pay for contract faculty? You’ve got it. What we did together in Senate that Friday when Lily Whittaker of the contract faculty union stood up and said they would refuse to teach on contract the courses we would not teach on strike was in the finest tradition of union solidarity and something I’ve been looking for, for a long time.

I was told a story today from the Arabic tradition, which involved the takeover of a village, and the killing of an enemy and the drinking of blood. I hate to get this graphic, but Betty, you tempt me.

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Date: Thu, 08 May 1997 20:30:45
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Union Solidarity At the risk of being (fill in your favourite adjective but you don’t need to write to tell it to me) ____________ in once again citing my dead labour union organizer father, I grew up in an era of labour unions when, if one union went out on strike, every union in the organization and within firing distance, also went out with them, and union families researched carefully and did not trade with anyone who was not supporting the union.

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Date: Thu, 08 May 1997 20:58:36
To: Darcy Pomerleau Subject: Re: Hello You

Hi, sons of Darcy. It was nice to meet you today. You are the sons of a union organizer, and that makes you special to me because I am the daughter of a union organizer. I know that in time, you will understand, as I know my son must too, how important is the work that your father and I do, even though it takes us from you a lot right now.

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Date: Thu, 08 May 1997 21:32:28
To: Katherine Cisneros
Subject: Re: Barlow

Dear wonderfully sexy Katherine of the Pond, whom I envision draped in weeds and dripping with the wonderfulness of frogs and wet and vines, I don’t know what to say about the settlement. I don’t trust Barlow as far as I could throw him.

I too need to dispel the tension. I had the answer at 2:00 a.m. this morning, but could not get back to you, Katherine, on to e-mail, due to Netscape problems (fixed by beloved Bert this morning; side note to that later): I will put on my full picket regalia, take up my picket sign, and go out and stand in the middle of the 401 Highway.

Note re: Netscape, I telephoned Bert from near campus today and asked, “How’s my beloved?” He answered, “I’m fine.” I said, “No, not you! How’s my Netscape?!” He had, of course fixed it.

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Date: Thu, 08 May 1997 21:50:14
To: YUFA-L Subject: Re: Who is Listening? I wrote early on in YUFA-L and will say it again here: There is no such thing as privacy on the e-mail. E-mail, remember, is what did in Ollie North. I write every message I write on YUFA-L and even those I write on my private e-mail, assuming that Betty Boone, bless her little withered heart, is reading these messages, and that anyone else with one iota of computer ability is also reading them.

I urge all of you to assume the same. We write in our published academic journals for eternity; I assume we do the same here.

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Date: Thu, 08 May 1997 22:05:00
To: Luke Corbett
Subject: Re: An End in Sight yes, corbett. i wholeheartedly agree that it’s not all fun and games. i’m one of those who is seen as wanting to strike forever because it’s such fun. what they don’t realize is that i come home after my rah-rah time on the picket lines to a family who gathers me in their arms and dries my tears because i hurt so badly over this strike that i can barely stand it. still, you’ve given humour when it’s been most needed. for that, you’ve become one of my heroes.
yours in solidarity,
ripley

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Date: Thu, 08 May 1997 22:51:30
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Long-Time Lurker (Re)discovers Voice

Welcome Lamont! We addicts hear daily from people who “lurk,” and it’s always encouraging. Everyone is welcome. Do not be put off by the volume of those of us who, after picketing for 4-6 hours a day have nothing better to do in our miserable little lives than to sit hunched over the monster machine. Everyone is welcome on YUFA-L, and there’s always the easy gentle entry, “Me Three!” With Katherine, I too must stand hourly and say, “I am Louise and I am addicted to YUFA-L”

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Date: Thu, 08 May 1997 22:54:31
To: YUFA-L
Subject: What Matters

I am remembering Jeremy Murdock’s comment at a recent meeting that the strike is the first thing he has seen in a long time that all of us seem to feel really matters. I cannot remember a time in my 17 years at York when there was anything that mattered as much.

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Date: Thu, 08 May 1997 23:51:12
To: Katherine Cisneros
Subject: Edges

headed right now for the highway; i get a thrill out of standing in front of the cars. a regular high. It has been said that i am an unruly, undisciplined, insubordinate, self-fluffing picketer, and i heartily agree.

i picture you at the edge of a pond in something lacy, getting fed something decadent. what can i bring to you, there at the pond’s edge, after i have stood my requisite time in the highway? scandalously inappropriate, this strike brings it out in me.

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Date: Fri, 09 May 1997 00:13:59
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Back Pay pay my dry cleaning bill and buy me a new pair of shoes and i’ll be happy.
(lowercase letters when i am bone weary)

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Date: Fri, 09 May 1997 18:13:29
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Darcy and Katherine

Thank you, Darcy and Katherine, for two exquisite expressions of what today means to us:

We are sad, unbelievably sad. We also are aware that this is only one step (every Senate meeting, we have said, “step by step by step by step,”) in a very long process and that we must keep going. Thank you for writing so eloquently. I love you both.

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Date: Fri, 09 May 1997 19:49:59
To: Horatio Taglieri
Subject: Re: Back to Work Protocol: An Open Letter

Horatio, I love your letter to the President and Deans and I love you for posting it. Indeed their punitive stance on our settlement shows clearly their intention to send a message to all campus unions: “Don’t strike or else!” This is union-busting. I particularly liked your caution to them all to “Remember that a university is not simply a financial institution, but one of the few places left where humane values still have a home.” I only hope it remains true.

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Date: Fri, 09 May 1997 20:58:59
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Des Adler’s Class

Des? Our Des? Never did I think our Des would teach during the strike! But thanks for writing it just in case someone did think that the film clip of him on the news was taken during the strike.

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Date: Fri, 09 May 1997 21:27:29
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Library Fines
Sorry, but I can’t figure out who this posting is from. Maybe I’ll have to check with the parking office…
(the administration is charging Horatio $15 to find him in order to collect their parking fine? I agree that after 26 years they ought to know where we are, but then we are seeing a lot of their incompetence lately).

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Date: Fri, 09 May 1997 21:34:44
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Pay Differential Max (Gifford), your suggestion that colleagues who decided, for whatever reason not to withdraw their labour, should contribute the pay differential that arises out the strike agreement to a York Undergraduate Scholarship is wonderful.
I have had several scab colleagues in business weep to me that they didn’t know what else to do, they felt so strongly about their students that they felt they had to be there for them and therefore were crossing the lines. This is the answer to their dilemma. I shall forward it to them.

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We approached the vote on the settlement. Friendship and anger are still evident. I am astounded, working on this commentary, how often I refer to feeling hurt. It was an emotionally challenging and in some ways damaging time, certainly for the picketers, but also I presume for the scabs and for the employer.


Date: Fri, 09 May 1997 21:39:15
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Encouraging News

Wondering what else they were prepared to add on to the mediation settlement? Simple; I’ve heard it already: public flogging for those of us who stood our ground.

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Date: Fri, 09 May 1997 21:55:41 To: Drew Lipton
Subject: Re: Love Your Writing y’know drew, we all joke about the e-mail addiction, but i came home so totally demoralized i thought i would never recover. i finally dragged myself over to the computer, clicked on the little icon, and dropped into my whole wonderful world of YUFA-L friends, and now i truly believe once again that we can conquer the world. and if i’m getting that confident, maybe it’s time to sign off.
(lower case letters when i’m bone weary)

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Date: Sat, 10 May 1997 08:12:16
To: YUFA-L
Subject: The Addict

I sit here, hands trembling; it is too early in the morning, I know that. It’s Saturday and I should be sleeping in. I had too much of it last night, I know that. But I have it under control. I can quit any time I want. It’s just the trembling fingers. I’ll just go down and get little bit of it to steady my hands. Damn, I meant to bring the small one upstairs and leave it near the bed; I could hold it in my lap, my husband wouldn’t even see it. No, the sound would wake him. I can sneak downstairs quietly and have just a bit. Just enough to calm my hands and make the demons go away. I don’t need it for itself, you know; it’s all the people I share it with. I do it to be with them. The actual thing, heck, I can quit anytime. Maybe I’ll prove it this morning. I won’t go down and have any. I’ll stay here in my warm toasty bed, near my loved ones; I know they’re worried about me, and I should prove to them that I don’t have to have it. I can do without it. Damn, the hands are shaking so. Maybe I’ll just go get a bit to calm my nerves. It’s really only medicinal for me. It calms me down; it reassures me that everything is going to be okay. Just a drop. Just a drop. Okay.

Tomorrow. I promise that tomorrow, I will get off the e-mail.

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Date: Sat, 10 May 1997 08:35:23
To: Trish Hall
Subject: Re: YUFA T-Shirts

Trish, these efforts are at the heart and soul of the strike. When can I pick up my T-shirt? I will wear “Not Business as Usual/Rien Comme Avant” proudly when I return to classes. Thank you all so much for providing these.

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Date: Sat, 10 May 1997 09:15:33
To: YUFA-L
Subject: In Two Places At Once I changed it to Monday instead of Pogo’s Tuesday because of Rodney’s’ complaint of the newspapers saying that we go back to classes Monday, but don’t vote till Tuesday. I catch your earlier reference to Churchy, Aaron; yes, I remember them well, the favourite cartoon of my dead labour union father.

What totally blew my mind was the day of the last Senate meeting, in the YUFA strategizing session, Marvin Miller caught my _Firesign Theatre_ reference. We both agreed later it’s been about 15 years since that has happened to either of us. Ah, we are educating ourselves and feeding our souls in this strike. The Firesign Theatre reference, for those who may remember them, was re: exams starting on May 20, on the same day that summer courses would start. I said, “Aha! So, I get to be in two places at once when I’m not anywhere at all!” This has come to be doubly prophetic after yesterday’s humiliatingly punishing offer, which not only put me “not anywhere at all,” but also, by setting my Monday evening winter class and my Monday evening summer class both on Monday May 20, actually required that I be “in two places at once.” The original quote: “How can you be in two places at once, when you’re not anywhere at all?” Firesign Theatre still lives!

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Date: Sat, 10 May 1997 10:46:29
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Reactions to the Settlement Nicole, thank you so much for posting this. I believe there are probably many faculty who agree with your colleague who wants to remain nameless due to fear of possible reprisals. I too fear that working within the system after the back-to-work protocol they offered us may well be a joke.

Working as a woman in a non-traditional field for 17 years at York, and for years before that in Corporate Finance in Chicago, humiliation and punishment are nothing new to me. I’ve often thought that, given how much of it I take in my job, I should just decide I am a masochist and start enjoying it. But this latest offer, which is not a “latest offer,” at all, but rather a restatement of their first and final offer from the start of what we at YUFA have called negotiations, but which I believe the administration, bent as it is on busting the union, never took with one iota of seriousness, this latest offer is at my limit on humiliation and punishment. Take me to the centre of campus, Betty Boone, and publicly flog me, if that will make you happy enough finally to give our union a fair settlement, but I state here that I will die on the picket lines before I will vote yes to your lousy, miserable, insufferable, insulting, humiliating, punitive offer.

I don’t know, Nicole, how to get to where I want to be. I am terrified that we cannot maintain the strike forever, and to vote no and then have to go crawling back because the strike fizzled, would be almost as humiliating. We are caught between a rock and a hard place.

I cannot fathom the idea of going back without a contract and threatening to go out again. I might be persuaded, but it does not seem to make good strategic sense. I cannot stomach the idea of going back with the yoke around my neck, as the ancient Romans made their conquered foes do to publicly show their humiliation. I don’t know if we can get enough support from other unions and the community to truly just shut York down until they agree to give us a fair settlement. I do not know what to do. But I do know how I will vote, and I will have to vote no to this offer.

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Date: Sat, 10 May 1997 11:20:25
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Newspaper Layout Wow! Page A-4 of _The Globe and Mail_, Saturday, May 10, 1997, is stunning example of the kind of analysis of newspaper layout that our colleague Pablo Ortega (Sentinel Road, one-time Professor of Philosophy) does in his research. The main article is “York profs to vote on settlement,” subheading: “Regardless of outcome, faculty say strike has hardened attitude toward administration.” It is a favourable article, located about 6 inches down from the top of the page, slightly to the right; first thing you see when you open the page.

Right above the York article, and here’s what Pablo taught me to look for, is a seemingly, at first, unrelated picture of army helicopters landing in Kingston to take Canadian troops into a simulated battle (Note, stalwart picketers of the rain and snow, the exercise was postponed because of bad weather). Just below the main story is another article, “Families remember deaths of Westray miners,” out of the mining industry, the heart of the worst abuse of workers against which unions stand in solidarity.

Now, we’re not done yet: Just to the left of the Westray article, is an advertisement for a Cartier watch which, while the price is not listed, would sell for thousands of dollars, reminding us of the complaints that university professor ought not to be striking as we already make too much money. I ask you, in the spirit of Pablo Ortega’s “last fifteen minutes” (private joke for the Sentinel Line; we always saved great discussions for the last fifteen minutes), is this layout accidental? We’ve got well-paid faculty on strike, coal miners, serious instruments of battle, and trinkets of the wealthy all juxtaposed on the same page together.

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Date: Sat, 10 May 1997 12:04:23
To: Darcy Pomerleau
Subject: Southern Generals

I am writing about the swashbuckling, romantic, larger than life, danger-flaunting long haired, perfumed General J.E.B. Stuart, also of the Southern Army, and truth be told, Jeb Stuart is like me: undisciplined, unruly, insubordinate, a self-fluffer.

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Date: Sat, 10 May 1997 12:18:52
To: Kyd Carter
Subject: Further Humiliation

After all that you have done to keep our lines safe and secure and polite; after all that I have done to try to be a good solider, and to curb my undisciplined, unruly, insubordinate, hot-headed ways on the picket lines in order to please and impress my General Carter, to read in today’s paper of two women students accusing the faculty of “smashing cars and threatening to kick in tires” was more than I could stand.

General, I beg of you, let me smash a car! Let me kick in their tires. Let me at ’em, General, let me at ’em! I feel like J.E.B. Stuart or George Pickett coming to the defense of General Robert E. Lee. (I’ve been reading my Civil War books again).

Yours ever,
insubordinate, unruly, undisciplined, hot-headed, but devoted,
(Working on a more formal and less dramatic letter to the Editor of the _Toronto Star_)

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Date: Sat, 10 May 1997 12:24:21
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Marriage and Communication

There is something strange here. I am sitting in my living room with my husband: he is at his computer; I am at mine. We are both corresponding on the e-mail with Darcy Pomerleau!

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Date: Sat, 10 May 1997 12:54:58
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Happy Mother’s Day

My son sent me an electronic Mother’s Day card, using his father’s e-mail account; he obviously knew the only way to reach me. I find that very sad.

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Date: Sat, 10 May 1997 22:54:00
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Not Much – Back Pay
My C.V.: SERVICE 1997: Working on the picket lines, in YUFA meetings, in Senate, in every goddam forum I knew, to make York University the kind of place I would once again be proud to work in.

PUBLICATIONS:
1997; 17,943 e-mails (scripts available if requested, through H. Taglieri or A. Moritz)

Respectfully submitted,

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Date: Sat, 10 May 1997 23:16:58
To: Robert Edwards
Subject: With Affection

Robert, this is strictly personal, and somewhat by way of a fan letter. I just wanted to say how very much I have admired you over all these weeks in your position as our YUFA President, and how extremely impressed I was by your gracious presentation of the proposed contract, which was presented as it needed to be, as difficult as it may have been.

I stood at one point at the south end of the Howard Johnson’s lobby, watching across to the north end where they were interviewing you. You stood, so obviously exhausted and needy, in lights that usually are associated with interrogations and rubber hoses. I wanted so badly to go to you, enfold you in my arms, and take care of you. I knew I could not do this, and besides, your wonderful General Carter has instilled in me that mere foot soldiers in the war do not take upon themselves to directly protect Generals such as you. But know that I wanted to.
Yours, respectfully

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Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 07:00:03
To: Kyd Carter
Subject: What Have I Done?!

Good God, You scared me! It’s too early in the morning for a night owl like me. I opened your mail and read your first line, and my heart dropped into my stomach, adrenaline zipped down through the whole system. Terror struck. Omygodno, what have I done? I am serious, Kyd, my heart is still pounding!

Then I read that you were responding, with your comment about blowing everyone’s cover, to my posting about being an e-mail addict. If I had done harm to my General Carter, I would simply have had to fall on my sword, right there on Sentinel Road. But you can believe it would have been a gesture worthy of J.E.B. Stuart himself, and dedicated to the glory of the YUFA battle and my beloved General.
Yours, a little less insubordinately

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Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 07:03:18
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: The Agreement I said yesterday that I could not see a way to get to where I wanted to be on this vote. Having just read Harper’s idea, and Jeanne’s response, I’m seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel and beginning to believe it is not just another oncoming train. Put on the ballot “Continue to struggle” without checking either no or yes.
(up too early, but what can ya do?)

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Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 10:10:15
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Hard Hat & Mortarboard

I am replying to Mac Rainer’s original message, but can’t find it; don’t know why, I’ve only got 180 messages in the in-box…

I too appreciated Mac’s input, and liked what was said about taking back our intellectual side, but I’d like to suggest that maybe we haven’t lost it, we are just playing it out in different ways, adjusting, shifting, adapting, as any good academic must do.

We are workers (I don’t debate whether we work for or with the administration; I refer to the fact that we are paid for our labour). We also are independent thinkers and researchers and that is also part of our work. I wear my hard hat to exemplify this dichotomy (and for safety). It is a genuine working person’s working hard hat; it is yellow because that is the colour that the worker wears (the supervisor wears white.) This hat reminds me that when I am out on the picket line, I am striking just like the steelworkers, autoworkers, and newspaper workers with whom I marched when I was young. This is union solidarity.

However, my hat is also the symbol of my research as a university professor. My area of specialization is Channels of Distribution and one of my current projects (if I ever get back to that work) requires me to be out on the big trucks with the guys who drive them. In order to do that, I must, by their insurance rules, have steel-toed boots and a hard hat. So this hat also reminds me that one day this strike will be over and I will go back to the research I love.

I disagree that no one is talking about graduate students and research. I hear it every day on the picket lines I frequent. I also disagree that we are playing “a purely industrial game.” I have had more intellectual discussions in the last 8 weeks than I’ve had in my department for the last 17 years. What we are doing is taking from the industrial model those elements which suit our needs: the strike and its requisite picket lines is a form of protest so strong that it generates enough energy to sustain the people who walk its lines almost by its very existence. Why should we not avail ourselves of its powers in our battle for intellectual independence?

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Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 11:11:34
To: Perry Godfrey Subject: Trains, Trucks & Tunnels
Wow! Greater homage doth no person than to take another’s words and use them so eloquently. Thank you, Perry. I see your point that the long standing ovation for Robert Edwards and his team at the Howard Johnson’s meeting represented a victory for us instead of defeat. Did we “win” the strike? Only history will tell, but our negotiating team did win a tentative Collective Agreement on which we will vote when we feared we would reach no agreement at all. And you’re right; we do have to remember that there will be other chances for negotiation and that what we learned in this one will help us in the future. Also, we did manage to keep the employer from going ahead with the summer session. We won several crucial votes, simply by getting out the unified union vote.

I’ll respond later more fully; right now I’m off to spend some Mother’s Day time with my boy and husband.

I need to find your face at the next meeting.

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Date: 11 May 1997 14:41:42
To: Luke Corbett
Subject: Smiles

Oh, Corbett, sometimes I think you are only person who can make me smile these days. I know I keep saying this to you; if you’re bored, let me know and I’ll consider stopping; if not, maybe I’ll set up a macro to send you the message every other day or so. Give my respects to the low-lying shrubs of Brazil.

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Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 14:54:37
To: Jeanne Loden
cc: Katherine Cisneros
Subject: Re: Together/Juntos/Ensemble

I too am a Katherine fan. I’m sending her a copy of this too, about voices. When I am due to be on the lines but I am so down I can’t stand it, or when I have to have my full vocal range for Senate, or any time that I’m headed up to York these days, I play on my car radio my tape of The Men of the Deeps from Cape Breton singing, “Miner’s Life.” There are 24 of them. I sing along with them, and I keep raising the volume until it’s full blast. My deal with myself is that by the time I get to where I have to be, I have to be able to hear myself singing over the voices of the Men of the Deeps. It has worked for me for the whole of the strike. I expect it will continue to work for me.

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Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 14:56:16
To: Katherine Cisneros
Subject: (Fwd: Re: Together/Juntos/Ensemble)

Thanks, Katherine. Working madly on the letter to Grissel, doing other bits as I break. Thanks for suggestions; they’re right. Hell of a Mother’s Day. I’m so down I can barely stand it. Just put Louis Armstrong on the stereo; maybe he’ll help.

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Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 15:05:27
To: YUFA-L Subject: Re: Settling Down/Moving Up no, no, no, i want entrails, i want blood, lots and lots of entrails and blood, swords and gore and blood and entrails… It is not enough to just pass a resolution saying we don’t like their settlement.

sorry, it’s not been the best of mother’s days for me.

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Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 15:30:20
To: Hannah Grissel
cc: YUFA-L
Subject: Two Reactions

Dr. Grissel,

Among the hundreds of new friends I have made in my faculty union during the course of this strike, two are particularly special. On Friday, when the union received the “offer” from the current administration, they each wrote eloquently of YUFA’s two reactions. I quote them here, with their permission.

Professor Katherine Cisneros, Theatre, wrote:
“si me quieren ver triste, que me quiten lo bailao”
(if you want to see me sad, take away all that I have danced)

Professor Darcy Pomerleau, French Studies, wrote:
“There are no Stanley Cup Evenings in class struggle, strikers. There is no grand soir, no lendemains qui chantent. There is only an endless continuation of fights for our basic rights, grounded in the forces already treasured. Whatever option we now take in the algorithm, I will respect it and I will love you for it. The war will continue in any case. And that specific battle is won, strikers, already won: we gave the 21st century to our Trade-Union.”

Dr. Grissel, we at YUFA are sad, unbelievably sad, over this incredibly punitive and mean spirited offer. But we also are very strongly aware that this is only one step in a very long process and that we must keep going, and we will keep going, step by step by step by step, with whatever it takes, to rebuild our university into a place where we can be proud to work. As Katherine Cisneros also says, “We are not *at* the university. We are the university. We are not *in* the Senate. We are the Senate. We are not *of* the village. We are the village. We have not been *in* a war. We are the war. I am a war. My voice is a weapon.”

Dr. Grissel, I implore you to intervene with the Board of Governors, with whom you do hold some power (I know; I was on the search committee which brought Betty Boone to York), to ask them to consider bringing forward a back-to-work protocol which will make an attempt at healing the university of which you will be President on August First. This may be the single most important action of your coming presidency. Without something more than we have now, you risk facing an angry, militant, unsupportive faculty who will, make no mistake, we will fight to reclaim this place we call the university.

Sincerely,

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Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 16:30:04
To: Darcy Pomerleau
Subject: Getting Lighter

My friend, part of the thing of being friends is that we won’t always love each other’s postings/writings/words, but we still talk. I was not trying to manipulate you. I was working with words and feelings, trying to express how very very down I felt. One of the things I especially treasure about my friendship with you is that you literally are often the only person to whom I can really say how down I am. I apologize (damn, I’ve done it again), but there, yes, I apologize. I was feeling lousy; I wrote you a very down note. If you don’t like my apology, you can kiss my ass.

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Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 17:01:08
To: Luke Corbett
Subject: Re: The Ballot

No, Corbett, no, you won’t have to teach if you come join the Department of Administrative Studies. All of us student-hating strikers will be just researching and writing, and of course spending 140 hours a week on union work. We’ll just develop the courses and find contract faculty to teach them for no other compensation than having the privilege of putting it on their C.V. That way we’ll get known for saving money, and perhaps even be asked to be Deans.

Joe Hill: Don’t Mourn; Organize!
Luke Corbett: Don’t Mourn; Mock!

I’ll do what I can to get your ballot format accepted. The idea of a ballot written in a language no one understands (not even the polyglots) makes as much sense as much else that is happening these days.

1) Hgadsi ninu daaghuu ________
dfei
2) Jeajea diuiud tytues ________

I could vote with this.
p.s. If they’re a spineless academic Society, how do they bind their journals?
Get thee to Brazil before you drive me nuts with your puns!

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Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 17:09:55
To: Darcy Pomerleau Subject: Re: Getting Lighter

Apology is not shit; it can be a useful device. Go watch Scarlet O’Hara in _Gone With The Wind_. Grant me my cultural heritage (and baggage). Acrostic sent already. This is part of our problem. I’m answering your message #743 while my #897 is still wending its way to you and you are busy preparing response #907 to #602. Another problem is, indeed, as we all speak of so often on the YUFA-L, the lack of eye contact, touch, smile. Think, Pomerleau, think. We don’t have this problem when we speak eye to eye, hat brim to hat brim, now do we?

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Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 17:49:33
To: Barry Meyer
Subject: Re: Linguists: A Polite Reminder on Terminology

Jesus, Barry, if I had the time to research exact quotes from immortal poetry that I grew up with and which I am recalling from more than 30 years ago, for the purpose of e-mail conversation, while working 8 hours on Mother’s Day writing for my union, I would be able to find the time to give my husband and son two goddam hours of my day. Right now, I’m not sure they’re even going to get that. Re: your “quote correctly the immortal poetry”: In the inimitable words of many on the YUFA-L of late, and this quote I have correct: Kiss My Ass!
Still friendly, but utterly astounded that you would bother writing me about something so nitpicking,

***************************************

Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 18:34:52
To: Trish Hall
Subject: Phrases

Trish, I write at the end of a Mother’s Day spent with 9 hours on the YUFA-L. My beloved Bert has two good phrases for us:
1. I take my orders from YUFA.
2. YUFA is going to make Hannah Grissel earn every one of those 250,000 dollars.

***************************************

Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 18:56:55
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: The Ballot

No goddam abstentions! This is a Canadian institution. Corbett says he will forsake his low shrubs research in Brazil unless his ballot is accepted. We must get Corbett’s ballot accepted. I want that man to get to Brazil. He is going to be researching the marketing of the smoking of low shrubs to replace the quickly dwindling supply of fingernails. And when he returns, assuming no venus fly traps eat him alive, he and I are going to be putting forward a new course proposal cross listing a course between marketing and botany. I think he’s going to be joining my department.

***************************************

Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 20:48:48
To: Leo Bryant
Subject: Re: An Alternative
Leo, I’m writing privately. I’ve favoured this alternative since the start (to vote no and continue the strike but with escalation of militancy). I’ve stood on Sentinel Road, politely letting in cars so that nobody blocks the road and I’ve asked myself, is this what a picket line does? Please, allow us to stop you for a minute as you get on to business as usual, and to explain why we’re picketing, really, please, we’ll only hold you a minute or so.

A picket line closes down the whole goddam place so that nobody gets in or out, unless management flies in by helicopter. We were criticized earlier today for imitating the industrial model. I wrote rather gently to protest. My union heart wanted to say, we have not imitated it enough.

My reaction to the insulting, punitive, humiliating back-to-work protocol was in the inimitable words of Johnny Paycheck: Take This Job and Shove It. My second reaction was the same as I voiced on YUFA-L when someone challenged the YUFA-Senators on Senate Executive to say what we wanted. What I wanted, I would like now: to say no to the offer and to really go out on strike, to get every goddam union in the country out, to close down the goddam university.

But we’ve got too many among us who really do seem to think that we are superior to the working person because we’re doctored professors. I don’t think it would fly, Leo. But I will vote no. Even if my Executive recommends yes, I cannot. I would rather, truly, that Betty take me to the centre of campus and flog me publicly than that she do it privately and in the humiliation of my own soul by making me vote yes to such a settlement.

In a little too much passion, fueled by one too many martinis, by the time deprivation of having spent 10 hours on YUFA-L today, and of having had a miserable Mother’s Day because I’m too wrapped up in the strike.

***************************************

Date: Sun, 11 May 1997 21:24:56
To: Darcy Pomerleau Subject: Hurt

I hurt so badly. I have not hurt this badly since the strike began. I don't quite know why I hurt so much over this, but I do. I don't even think there's anything you can do for me. Maybe it's just 8th week strike blues (surely someone has charted the ups and downs?).

p.s.: To rant means to speak loudly and angrily, and for a long time. It implies a certain lack of discipline, a certain unruliness.

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Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 08:14:34
To: Trish Hall
Subject: Re: The Summer Question

I am feeling better this morning. When I finally called my 83-year-old mother at almost midnight to wish her a happy Mother’s Day (with all my hours on the YUFA-L, I had forgotten: Shame!) I had to explain to her why the results of the strike were not so bad as it seemed, and as I spoke to her, the widow of my dead labour union organizer father, I could feel my own understanding of the issues coming back to me. I think Pieter Eldredge is right that one of the good outcomes of Friday’s announcement of the return-to-work protocol is indeed that we now stand clearer on just how vindictive the administration was and is going to be. To see formerly moderate YUFA members, people like yourself who really wanted to believe that the administration had some good in them, come to the anger and tears of that meeting was really something. And indeed as you say, the moral and practical victory of a solidarity we’ve never seen before in YUFA may also be one of the good outcomes.

I guess why I was hurting so was that I fear that when we go back, there will be too many like our colleague who will say, enough of this “worker” stuff, we are above union work, and just go back to business as usual. I guess the only answer there is that there are enough of us for whom it will never again be Business as Usual.

***************************************

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 08:30:03
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Net Income After Protocol & Encounter With G. Barlow Matthew, you have cheered me up immensely. I am certain now that you must be right. Gus Barlow has not betrayed me; all along, he has simply had in his heart a deep and fulsome understanding of my income tax implications which so far had eluded me. I have an M.B.A. in Finance. Had I only taken the time away from my silly walking in circles, and my emotional outpourings on the YUFA-L, I would have been able to see that Gus only wanted to do what was best for me in terms of my income tax.

***************************************

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 09:01:01
To: Matthew Miller
cc: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Income After Protocol & Encounter With G. Barlow

Matthew! Do not feel bad! This is Ripley, remember, Say-What-Ever-You-Like-But-Speak!" I was so hurt and vulnerable yesterday that I couldn’t even cry. Writing about your income-tax calculations helped me immeasurably. So don’t worry; we will all get through this, and we will go back to work together, and things will never be the same way that they were before. I too congratulate the YUFA negotiating team on the equity and anomaly package, and especially Robert Edwards on the graciousness of his newspaper interview.

***************************************

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 09:10:44
To: YUFA-L Subject: Re: Ratification Vote and Post-Modernist Rattlesnakes
Oooooh, is this true confessions time? Usually I’d be more careful, but what the heck, what have I got to lose? Cursed as my academic reputation now is, simply by being a striking hater of students, so I’ll say it… I have never understood what a postmodernist is and I’ve really really tried. Help us out, those of you who do understand.

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Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 09:29:22
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Vote on Settlement
Yeah, you’re right, of course… Hey, I’ve got it: how about if I just keep whining, “But I just want to go home!” like that infamous student senator. Maybe then they’ll give us a fair settlement.

I’m coming more and more to believe those who suggest that a poor settlement is the best thing that could happen. It will keep us angry enough to keep to our promise to rebuild York as we want to see it exist. As Yogi Berra put it, “the future ain’t what it used to be.”

***************************************

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 09:45:54
To: Geoff Myers
Subject: Not Offended

No, beloved Geoff! You’ve done nothing to offend me; quite the reverse. On as lousy a Mother’s Day as I have had in my 12 years as a mother, due to spending 10 hours on YUFA-L and unable to do anything else, down so low in the dumps, and so bitchy that I could barely stand myself, your messages came as a beacon. But I was so goddam miserable yesterday, it was almost as if I could not deal with anything pleasant. I did not want to write to you and start to spill my venom all over you, but I read your notes lovingly and thought, tomorrow I will write to Geoff and hear about his garden.

Things started to turn around near midnight when I finally called my mother to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. Trying to convince her that the ending of the strike wasn’t so bad after all, I began to believe my own rhetoric and went to bed and slept soundly. Well, soundly for me at least. I was up screaming at the top of my lungs as some hideous thing came right across the bed to swallow me up, kneeling on the bed, fending it off, but then my husband is used to this by now.

Thanks for writing, Geoff. I did not mean to ignore you. I just hurt so badly, it was almost as if I could not deal with anything gentle and loving. Did you catch my posting about blood and entrails and swords?
How is the garden?

***************************************

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 10:08:16
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Income After Protocol Revised (ignore earlier message)

Actually, Matthew, to properly follow the original article in the paper, the introductory paragraph would have had to read something like:

“No longer content with smashing and kicking in the cars of the students they so despise, bayoneting babies, and burning busloads of children, the officially sanctioned actions of the York University Faculty Association today took on a new and vicious turn, as Professor Matthew Miller, crazed on the same unspeakable addiction shared by hundreds of members of this renegade union, deliberately rammed his Rolls Royce into the modest sedan belonging to a member of the beleaguered administration….”

***************************************

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 10:10:59
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Scholarship Donation

Those who scabbed aren’t gaining a cent, Drew. Remember? They are all going to donate their pay differential over us for the strike period to a scholarship fund for our students. At least, that’s what I read on the YUFA-L, and it sure sounded like a lovely idea when I read it. It’s the first thing I’m going to suggest to any scab colleague who asks what they can do to try to mend fences.

***************************************

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 10:22:21
To: Geoff Myers
Subject: Re: Not Offended

I ached exquisitely with joyful pain in my heart that you would speak for me so. I am the child of a man who spent his life working for the rights of the working person. It was not until nearly midnight that I began to see why I had been so depressed yesterday; it was largely Mac Rainer’s letter. It wasn’t that he hurt my feelings (trust me, I am long past that). It was that his letter made me envision, although I did not realize it until the end of the day that this image had been at the heart of my depression, his letter made me imagine a YUFA going back to work, with most of them saying, Now that I’m back, there’s so much important work to do, and you know what? I’m really not a working man, that woman and her silly hard hat be damned. I’m an intellectual. I don’t have time to do union work if I’m going to continue to build my reputation as a scholar and a gentleman.

Geoff, pardon my not degenderizing. Women are just as bad. It’s just that the old phrase works well here. Also every time I use the phrase “working man,” I am honouring Rita MacNeil’s wonderful song about the coal miners. Do you know it? If not, then one time when we meet, you will hear it with me. I survived my abusive year as Chair of the University Senate, singing that song quietly to myself everywhere I walked. I survive the strike now listening to it on my car radio. That and a whole tape of union and protest songs.

***************************************

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 11:38:16
To: Nicole Jeffreys
Subject: Re: Letter to Grissel

Ah, Nicole, we have not yet shared enough; there is more I must tell you: The hand that reaches to touch your beautiful golden locks wears a silver frog ring. My house is filled with hundreds of frogs. I wrote Katherine once that I “had a thing about frogs,” but finally confessed to her, (as you two seem to have an uncanny ability to get me to do) the truth: I am a frog.
Frog of the Pond
(my new Pond name, given me by Katherine - I could die!)

***************************************

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 11:48:16
To: Darcy Pomerleau
Subject: Postmodernist Rattlesnake

Zach Conway as post-modernist rattlesnake; I like the image. It occurred to me writing to someone this past week that even though we may not have won much in our own strike, the fact that we were able and willing to stay out so long may well make it easier for the next York union that decides to go out to stand their ground and force a fair settlement. As we’ve heard it said so often at YUFA meetings: the struggle continues.

***************************************

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 12:26:30
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Matthew Miller’s Mistake

You’re right that cutting our April salary by two thirds but making it tax free leaves us nowhere ahead. It reminds me of when I worked for a small private investment firm in Chicago and we had a saying: we always buy high and sell low, but we make it up on volume. Part of why I got my M.B.A. in Finance.

***************************************

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 20:33:53
To: Richard McCallum
Subject: Re: The Contract vs. the Back-to-Work Protocol

Richard, I have admired you for a long time. This one just adds to your luster. Liezi’s story from 300 B.C. about the monkeys who wouldn’t accept 3 acorns in the morning and 4 in the afternoon but fell over themselves in glee over the offer of 4 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon struck some sort of chord. How long all of this has been going on!
(Haven’t you always wanted a monkey? Yes.)

***************************************


Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 20:54:59
To: Darcy Pomerleau
Subject: Re: Taken to the Cleaners

I love that you are making supper; I love to see men in the kitchen. Come back after you have fed your loved ones; I will be here.

***************************************

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 21:00:42 To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: DNA Analyses I am really sorry to have to come back and blast you like this Luke, but I have written before to comment when you have overstepped the line.

I am, as I secretly confessed to you (conditions of this confession need never be made public to our YUFA-L friends) an early botanist. I have spent erotic hours bent over a microscope vicariously living the lives of corn cells. But Luke, Luke, dear Luke -- pigs, rats?
Next you'll be proposing dissecting FROGS!

***************************************

As the vote became reality, we began to adjust. Even those one hundred seventy nine of us who voted no recognized that it was probably the only settlement we could have achieved. It did not, of course, mean that we all had to vote for it.


Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 21:12:36
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Ratification Vote (fwd) Eliot (Gilling), a number of us want the button and the T-shirt with the slogan we were surreptitiously passing around after your wonderful comment today: Yes Means No. Yes to us means we will go back and start the real battle. Note that word “us.” When I got home, I realized that Bert had thought I was at a regular council meeting. I said, before I even thought what it meant to say it, “No, no, it was us.” Us. We. We are YUFA. YUFA is us. We will go back and reclaim this university and rebuild it into a place where once again we can be proud to work.

Thank you again, a million times over, you, Rikki Harbord, all our fine representatives on the Negotiating Committee for your hard work. I believe that you won for us the only settlement that was possible to win. And we did win a settlement. For that we can thank you.

***************************************

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 21:21:36
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Post-Modernist Rattlesnake

Gee, Zach, I don’t know. You say that if you write too gushy a note you might be mistaken for me. It’s dicey. I’ve met you, through Elmo Rutter. We’re about the same height, maybe around the same weight. You may have a bit more grey than I, but I think it’s entirely possible that people may mistake us for each other in future encounters. Maybe we’ll have to wear name tags just to make sure. I’m frequently mistaken for a variety of different people.

***************************************

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 21:27:16
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: The Contract Faculty Union, Back To Work

Agreed, Kyle (Knight). The contract faculty union deserves to get the protection they seek. I will never forget Lili Whittaker’s standing up in Senate that Friday morning and telling the administration that YUFA does not stand alone.

***************************************

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 22:10:37
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: A Proposal to Decouple Three-Year Contract and Back to Work Protocol

No matter the battle, there is no magic and there won’t be in the back-to-work protocol; it’s only careful strategic planning and hard slogging work that make for a change. Our YUFA Negotiating Committee and our YUFA Executive Committee and we, YUFA, out on the picket lines in the worst spring in 80 years, already did the strategic planning and the hard slogging work. There will be no magic solution. Vote with your conscience, but please do not expect a miracle in the eleventh hour. Only in the cinema.

***************************************

Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 22:14:53
To: Edmond Lyons
Subject: Re: Tomorrow

Careful, Edmond, careful, you’re going to get those tears starting down my cheek again. I have cried very little during this strike. Interestingly, I’ve cried more in joy and warmth and being so touched I didn’t know what else to do, than I have in anger or fear or hatred. That is something to treasure.

So is this note of yours. Know how deeply we appreciate those of you who are retired but still walking the lines with us.

***************************************

Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 19:18:18
To: Kyd Carter
Subject: Fantasies

Yo, Handsome Strike Organizer, I have to tell you. I have many fantasies in my life. Some of them I have lived; some of them remain only for me to live out in the depths of my 3:00 a.m. wakefulness. But there remains one fantasy which no one, ever, had fulfilled, until this very day. I always, and you must remember here, I am a Professor of Marketing where all of this is lived out in advertisements but I have never been allowed myself, I have all my life wanted to have a man greet me by picking me up off my feet and swinging me around in a full circle. Today, Kyd, my beloved Handsome Strike Organizer, you made this fantasy real for me.

I will see you tomorrow. Look for me. Along with my yellow hard hat, I shall be wearing my black and scarlet doctoral robe over my white on black T-shirt that says: “The Struggle Continues.”
p.s.: my husband says his back hurts just thinking of doing what you did today!

***************************************

Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 20:25:15
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Fwd (2): Re: Fwd: Ratification (fwd)

Can I quote him one more time, just one more time? My dead labour union father taught me the same old labour slogan: I’d rather vote for something I want and lose, than vote for something I don’t want and win. I too voted No, but we have won this one; we are marching back tomorrow, white on black T-shirts beneath our academic robes, to take back this goddam university and to rebuild it in our own image. It will never be “Business as Usual.”

Sitting here right now, with a glass of Scotch, playing, on repeat on the CD, Rita MacNeil’s “Working Man.” Along with the academic robes, tomorrow I will be wearing my hard hat bearing Aaron’s wonderful new YUFA logo.

***************************************

Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 21:22:16
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: More on Postmodern...or YES means NO

Why I love working with academics: Perry writes that we can use postmodernism to explain the vote: Yes may be defined as No. Private whisper: Perry, I loved meeting you today.
Sentinel veteran, knowing I will miss picketing so much I can’t bear it

***************************************

Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 21:40:55
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Healing Through Humour

I am so very glad that our Nolan Wrumser has chosen to make his next academic work the collection of humour from our strike. Drew mentions the hilarious line said so often by motorists intent on crossing our picket line while we were trying to explain our position: “I don’t want to hear your bullshit.” That one’s a great laugh. I have several to add:

On one of the first days of the strike, a fourth-year Arts student (yes, it was Arts and not Law) got out of his car and attacked a 54-year-old professor and broke her ankle. Isn’t that a great one? The truly hilarious part of this one is that the employer apparently “lost” the video tape that had captured the assault; he will go unpunished while Tracey is still in rehab.

On the Sentinel Line we had many humourous events: guys breaking the line riding up over the grass. Gals stepping out of their sports vehicles, and, Nolan, you’re gonna love this one! saying to us who were out on the lines partly for lack of decent pay, saying to us: you can’t stop this vehicle, it’s worth $150,000, and you can’t even afford a truck like this. Hilarious.

Oh, yes, Nolan. There are many wonderful, humourous stories.

***************************************

Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 22:07:13
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Just To Say...

Beloved Eugene Myers, as many of us have said over the last weeks: Will you ever walk or drive through any one of the Seven Gates of Thebes (8 with Glendon) without remembering that we were there?! Your note about the beautiful, committed, and dedicated cadre of colleagues we walked and worked with struck me to the core. Indeed, let us not say “We shall rise again” for we have not fallen.

By the way, you provided to me the epitome of compliments today regarding being the most ......oh, jeeeeez, wait, sorry, this is public on YUFA-L.........I shall not share it!!! You know of what I speak!

***************************************

Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 23:10:13
To: Darcy Pomerleau
Subject: Thanks to Darcy P.

That was a lovely note from Dalton Nielson. “Everything I need to know about picketing I learned from Darcy” I especially liked his summary of your survival tips:

1. “In a disagreement between a tanker truck and you, the truck wins,”
2. “While the urge to put a particular driver through a trash compacter might be compelling, it is better to just gently urge them through the line.
3. “It is bad form to hit a car with your picket sign”
4. The cause is important but not worth dying for.”

You also taught me, and our two picket lines owe much to your good sense, your experience, and your grace under pressure.

***************************************

Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 23:40:36 To: Griffin Conrad cc: Senate Executive Subject: Re: Senate Executive Meeting
MAL, SURELY YOU JEST!
AT NOON, THE FACULTY WALKS BACK IN TO RECLAIM THE UNIVERSITY. YOU THINK THAT I WILL BE AT A MEETING OF SENATE EXECUTIVE AT THIS TIME? SURELY YOU JEST?

***************************************

Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 23:56:49
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Just To Say...

Hey, Conway! Even though we are likely to be mistaken for each other, I will say now to you, Fuck Off! And if somebody thinks it’s meant for me instead of you, well, hey, maybe that’s your loss and my gain.
lripley
as tall (taller?)
as slim
as grey

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Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 00:48:04
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Thanks To All Our Supporters Oops, thanks for reminding me. In the pocket of my now rather filthy, smoky, navy blue winter jacket is the US five-dollar bill pressed into my hand by the bus driver of the musicians who had to cross the line so many weeks ago, about which I wrote in the strike Bulletin. He said, “Please buy the line some coffee.” YUFA take note: I still owe you $7.00; I was so touched by the bus driver’s gesture that I plan to frame the bill to hang in my office.

***************************************

Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 00:49:40
To: Herb Morgan
Subject: Re: Thanks, Just You

Oooooh, I die! Knowing I caught your eye was the highlight of my day! I love you!

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Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 01:12:18
To: Darcy Pomerleau
Subject: Re: (Fwd: Re: The Boomerang Effect of Censorship)

Just in case I forget to tell you, I was not remiss in “accidentally” sending that message to Zach Conway. Do you think that after 8 weeks on the YUFA-L without a mistake I suddenly would send something by mistake? It was no accident. I’ve taken a lot from that rattlesnake, but after he wrote to question Eugene Myers’s high praise of our Union Executive, he deserves whatever foul language comes his way.

***************************************

Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 08:46:49
To: Hope Stafford
Subject: Proposal in Event of a No Vote

Dearest Hope, despite the despicably high yes vote today, my personal opinion, as one who has respected you for decades, is that this motion of yours made the day:

A Proposal in the Event of a No Vote: In the event of a NO vote, this bargaining unit meeting instructs the YUFA Executive Committee to immediately contact the York administration to inform them that a second ratification vote is scheduled for Thursday May 15, and that a positive recommendation to the membership will be made if the mediated settlement is amended in the following ways:

a) the removal of the provision in Article 14 that permits the administration to waive the mandatory retirement at 65 for whomever they choose to call “distinguished” professors;
b) a firm commitment that the financial losses accrued as a result of the enrollment drop attributed to the strike not fall unequally on Atkinson;
c) payment of one additional week of work for striking YUFA members.

Even though we did not get a No vote, somehow a motion like this keeps alive the hope that in future things will be better. There is too, of course, the Non-Confidence vote; nearly 80% voting no confidence in the employer ought to send some kind of message to them. I find it despicable that the employer could now threaten us with a Bargaining in Bad Faith charge if we don’t ratify when they want us to, when they spent so many many days refusing even to come to the table to negotiate.

And of course none of this vote is meant to reflect badly upon our Negotiating Team who performed miracles even to bring us a settlement.

yours, also with blue eyes

***************************************

Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 23:58:38
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Re: Another Vote of Thanks. Hear, Hear! If I live to be 250 years of age (unlikely at the fast rate I’m running at now) I shall never forget standing in Vari Hall today as part of an adoring crowd that cheered our President Robert Edwards when we marched back into work, our union joined by the contract faculty union and the student union, and piped in by two Scottish bagpipers. The reception we gave Robert Edwards put the grandest of rock stars to shame, and, as he so graciously said, he is just one among many (although a very special one, I must add).

I loved the student union’ “Boone dollars” they handed out to us to make up for our loss in pay. For all we complained about the few difficult students (give me my mark and let me go home), there were so many many wonderfully supportive ones.

***************************************

Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 23:59:59
To: YUFA-L
Subject: Emotional Moments

I started an extremely emotional day today by driving to each of the Seven Gates of Thebes, before the March, to draw on their energy. I had to go back to teach two classes today. At my own beloved Sentinel Road, I parked my car (the Purple Taurus Strike Security Vehicle) in the right hand lane of the entrance to York. I turned up my car tape of Rita MacNeil’s “Working Man” to full volume, and I sat there, in my hard hat and jeans, listening to it, over and over, my fist clenched in silent promise to myself that “I never again will go down underground.” (I had the absolute delight in being able, incidentally, to block some entering traffic which had to drive around me.)

However, one red car pulled up ahead of me and stopped. Out got Frank Fogel of the Sentinel Road. He walked back to my car. I opened my car door, Rita singing in full voice, and looked up at him. He leaned down and hugged me, his eyes streaming tears, as were mine. He told me he was listening to his Scottish national music, coming in, and had seen me. It was for me, one of the most emotionally moving moments of this strike which has been filled with so many emotionally moving moments which we shall not forget.
Thank you, Frank.

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What Did We Learn in Week Eight? (The Meaning of Union)

1. Support can come from the most unlikely places.
2. A strike is a tremendously emotional experience, sometimes requiring counselling for Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
3. Humour continues to help to handle almost anything.
4. Everything works better when we know something about each other, no matter who we are.
5. Everything works better when we stand together as a union.


Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8
Afterword Return to Beginning Return to 3 Books Page Terms

 


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