A contingent of campus-wide emergency phones
voted in favor of forming a union, with 192 of the inanimate steel posts casting 'YES' votes over 95 'NO' votes. Polling took place between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. at Reynolds Club last Thursday.
University's attempts to delay voting drew the ire of the
phones' most vocal pro-union activists. Phone No. 55, posted on
55th and Ellis, stated that current working conditions are
unacceptable. "It's rough in these streets," said the unmoving
sidewalk fixture, adding that its attempts to submit a work order for
its flickering blue light were repeatedly met with Shibboleth Errors.
At the polling place, Phone No. 24 told the Dealer, "It's high time
people started listening to us. They're always trying to push our
buttons." Phone No. 23, angrily flashing its blue light at a violently
accelerated frequency, responded, "Well, that all ends soon. We will get our
Fourth-year Charlotte Zhang, the lead volunteer poll worker, said that voter turnout significantly exceeded expectations. "It's super impressive how many of them came out today, considering their whole 'permanent-affixion-to-the-ground' situation," said Zhang. "However the results turn out, today was a good day for democracy." Zhang
confirmed that of the approximately 380 emergency phones employed by
the UChicago Department of Safety and Security, 298 had turned out to
cast a vote. Besides the aforementioned 192 in favor of unionizing and 95 against, the
11 remaining voters had all written in "Ron Paul."
the pro-union camp's overwhelming victory, not everyone was happy with
the results of the vote. Phone No. 37, posted at 58th and Dorchester, was disappointed in the result. A self-described "loose cannon" of the force, he believes that hardship is a
part of the job. "See
this right here? I've had that stuck on me since last night," said No. 37, motionlessly gesturing to the plastic bag caught between its rusted
side and the adjacent bush. "I've been on the force for decades, seen all kinds of fools walk by, staring at my red button, thinking of
pushing it, wondering what'll happen. I stare back at them, like, I dare
you. Try me. They always back down."
In the weeks leading up to
the vote, the administrators had sent out a cautionary email titled "Let's Not Be Hasty," which argued that a union was not the best
way for the them to work with such a diverse staff of
telecommunicative metal boxes. "Don't get us wrong; the University works
well with a variety of existing unions that represent many of our
employees," the email reads. "But does there really have to be one
The day after the vote, however, the administration released a somewhat concessionary statement in light of the news. "Despite our
disagreements with the outcome of the vote, the University remains
dedicated to supporting ourselves and working toward our own best
interests. Regardless of how things might work out moving forward, we
will continue to be unstoppable, like a fortified steamroller."