Posted Feb 14, 2021 at 22:01. Revised Feb 24, 2021 at 08:42.
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ChaosFarm Reflections on OSCA
JD has been reflecting on an old school bus from the days of yore long before all school busses were yellow. The bus pictured here was a North Olmsted City bus which doubled as both a school bus and a city bus. It is the bus JD rode to school and also rode to Cleveland on occasion.
In the days when this bus was in its glory, the student co-ops at Oberlin were respected and served the purpose of providing room and board for the more needy students. It was the 20th-century incarnation of Oberlin College’s original Learning and Labor motto.
Antique school busses gave way to more expensive yellow busses, and the co-ops drifted away from the Learning and Labor model. The College became alarmed at the growing cost to the College of keeping the co-ops going in their current form. It did not seem to matter that the co-ops were still available to help out people who could not afford the College’s full bill.
True, the co-ops became populated by more and more people who were not the neediest. The solution to this situation is to ensure that the neediest students will be allowed into the co-ops first. The college has an extensive financial aid system that once included the co-op students.
Thanks to the magic of creative accounting the co-op students can be portrayed by the College as either liabilities or expenses. If the numbers are not telling you what you want to hear you fire the accountant. The current BOT and Administration understand that concept well.
JD told a Republican friend of his about the way the co-ops were being treated. He reacted angrily, saying that if he ever treated his employees the way the College has treated the co-ops he would expect to have a nasty union to deal with and would deserve that fate. He recognized that dealing honorably with his people and treating them with dignity was a good business practice as well as a compassionate one.
The College never produced an initial contract proposal, nor subsequent ones; its last proposal was also its first. This meant that for four months, the UAW was negotiating in the dark, negotiating with itself essentially, making offers and concessions, with no sense of what the magic number was, or indeed if there was a magic number. This does not meet any definition of bargaining in good faith.
The purpose of this blog is to tell the other side of the Gibson’s Bakery, OSCA, the Kosher-Halal Co-op, and UAW stories to Oberlin Alumni lest they believe the College’s heavily redacted and whitewashed version of events. Please tell your fellow Obies how our college has damaged its reputation, the worth of our degrees, the Gibsons, the college’s union workers, K-H, and the OSCA Co-op tradition. No pandemic, sleazy PR, or conflating of libel and slander with free speech can divert attention from the BOT’s negligence in these matters. Speak up and insist that the BOT arrest its compulsive, neo-Puritan righteousness, which has already eradicated either THOUSANDS of $36,000 scholarships or 225 Steinway concert grand pianos — just to wreck a tiny bakery, a cooperating union, K-H, and the OSCA Student Co-op!