ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

August 5, 2009

2009.08.05: RE: Brotherly and sisterly union love

From: [J.]
Sent: Wednesday, August 05, 2009 10:20 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Brotherly and sisterly union love

[M.], there might not be much we can all agree on.  But one thing I trust we can come together on is that the ideology of white supremacy is extremely abhorrent to all of us, including all Caucasians and not just those Caucasians who happen to be Jewish and or Hispanic.

Ironically, some of us might even go so far as to find your excluding non-Hispanic and non-Jewish Caucasians from those who extremely abhor white supremacy to itself be objectionable and extremely abhorrent.

But even if I were to believe that such exclusion was intentional on your part, which as it happens I do not believe for a second (nor do I believe it is Michael Letwin’s intentions to offend anyone), and if I were to be highly offended by your or Michael’s rhetoric or beliefs, or by the rhetoric and beliefs of anyone else expounding them by email, I would be happy to take the available systemic steps to make sure I didn’t receive those emails, rather than to jeopardize and restrict the freedom of communications that a great many of us hold very dear.

For many of us find censorship itself to also be extremely abhorrent.

—–Original Message—–

From: [M.]
Sent: Wednesday, August 05, 2009 7:58 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Brotherly and sisterly union love

I’ve made no such assumptions;  I used the analogy because the ideology of white supremacists is so extremely abhorrent to many:  blacks, Jews, non-Caucasian Hispanics… We’re all in their crosshairs.  Example A: the guy who shot up the holocaust museum in Washington few months back.  Somehow I think that if that guy had been communicating with colleagues, sharing ideology, discussing planned events like protests, I think many here, me, you, and others may have had a problem with that.  I’m sure that some of the first amendment absolutists in our crowd would have complained to management.

—–Original Message—–

From: [K.]
Sent: Tuesday, August 04, 2009 4:43 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Brotherly and sisterly union love

I find it interesting that the analogy people like to use to compare within this debate is “white-supremacist” or attack on black people argument. For real? Your assumptions are that nothing on this email system or talked about within the society is offensive to black people, an “attack” on black people, or racist etc. Your wrong in my opinion and I find the constant using of that analogy offensive and hostile.  Personally.  However, because I believe free speech should be tolerated and promoted and believe reasonable minds can differ, I don’t file grievances, run to management, and attempt to silence my colleagues.

—–Original Message—–

From: [M.]
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2009 8:58 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Brotherly and sisterly union love

As usual, well said [R.].  Some have suggested those who don’t want to receive e-mails with certain content can simply “opt-out.”  I don’t find this satisfactory.  If colleagues were disseminating white-supremacist e-mails and I objected, could they respond by saying “opt-out if this bothers you?”  would we all consider this satisfactory?  Somehow, I doubt it.  One solution floated a while back is, if you want to receive e-mails with political content, you have to opt in.  That is, there’d be some sort of  chat room for those who want to receive and send;  the others would be left alone. Letwin would be free to  do as he wishes;  he just may not receive the widest audience he’d like. But, the first amendment doesn’t guarantee one the widest audience possible.

—–Original Message—–

From: [R.]
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2009 3:15 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Brotherly and sisterly union love

This dissension within our ranks could have been and possibly still can be avoided. Instead of allowing ourselves to be infantilized by our bosses, we, as members of a union, should impose our own rules regarding how to behave on our own listserv.  Why don’t we at least propose that we be given a chance to establish rules and guidelines regarding appropriate speech.  It is done at universities, and it is accomplished elsewhere. We are all attorneys with training in negotiation, rule making, etc.  Why don’t we try to act our age and our training?

No rational person (outside ALAA) would think that the listserv is cart blanche for all manner of speech, anymore than in a movie theatre, a TV station, or a law firm!  Neither our contract nor any contract can legally prohibit all restrictions on speech.  Management has legal authority to impose some rules, or risk law suits.

On the other hand, we at ALAA want as free and open a forum as is possible.  But we don’t want to regularly offend, distract, and cause hostility in the workplace toward our fellow members.  Racist speech should not be tolerated.  Nor should anti-religious or anti-atheist speech.  Nor should we tolerate anti-ethnic speech.  We could have a union committee to address these issues, including the difficult areas.  No member should be allowed willy nilly to impose his/her own sense of what is just and fair on the rest of the membership because she/he happens to feel strongly about an issue.  Even a minority of one should be protected from offense at the workplace by fellow union members, if possible.

Some here talk the talk about treating fellow members like “brothers” and “sisters,” even using these terms.  But I don’t see them walking the walk.  With brothers and sisters like these, who needs in-laws?

—–Original Message—–

From: [J.]
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2009 2:31 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: DISREGARD EMAIL ABOUT MEETINGS

if michael were standing on a street corner spouting his opinions, i have the ability to walk away or stop and listen.  this is not the case when it comes to office emails.  i have asked him not to include me in his emails and he insists upon doing so.  any company that sends out routine announcements has a link to opt out.  why should michael’s right to free speech be superior to my right to walk away and not listen?  and don’t reply that i shouldn’t open these emails if i don’t want to know their contents.  reading the subject matter heading alone is enough to offend.  also, why should allen be asked to resign because he doesn’t want to receive michael’s progaganda.

just another point of view for the self-righteous to disagree with.

________________________________________

From: Morris, Susan
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2009 1:55 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: DISREGARD EMAIL ABOUT MEETINGS

Allen, if you support management’s efforts to silence us, then you should seriously reconsider your position on the Executive Board.

In the interest of full disclosure: 1. Michael Letwin is a dear friend of min; 2. I don’t agree with all he has to share about Israel/Palestine.  **BUT** he is not the only one being silenced.

We are being asked to GIVE BACK … to give up a CONTRACTUAL RIGHT for which he have fought long and hard, and never given up.  Why should we do so now?  Why should we silence ourselves?

Seriously, [A.] – resign from the EB.  Your stance is appalling.

________________________________

From: [A.]
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2009 1:20 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: DISREGARD EMAIL ABOUT MEETINGS

Dear Debby:

I want to say that I support Management’s efforts.

________________________________

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2009 1:19 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: DISREGARD EMAIL ABOUT MEETINGS

Debby,

So that all members have full and complete information (whether or not they attend a meeting), please send a message reporting the exact status of management’s attempt to restrict our contractual free speech rights.

Thanks,

Michael

________________________________

From: Wright, Deborah
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2009 11:41 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: DISREGARD EMAIL ABOUT MEETINGS

Sorry, folks.  That email was intended for the Executive Board who will be scheduling the lunchtime meetings.

I apologize for the error!

Deborah L. Wright, Esq.

President

UAW Local 2325 –  Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (AFL-CIO)

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