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Campus Blue Lights form Union

By Jalen Jiang
Feb. 20, 2018

Unionizing Blue Light


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.

The 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 union."

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."

Despite 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 more?"

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."