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UAW strike against gm stretches into second week

The UAW strike against General Motors is now in its second week. After 9 days of striking, where do negotiations stand? And how does this strike compare to other auto worker strikes throughout history? “It is a sliver of impact that is potentially had in this strike compared to what you had 50 years ago,” says Marick Masters, a labor expert and professor of business and interim chair of the finance department at Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business. “And I think that speaks to the decline of labor.” According to Masters, a major strike in 1970 saw approximately one million workers striking against GM, while today, there are fewer than 50,000 people involved. One significant hurdle to overcome before both sides reach an agreement is addressing the disparity between full-time and temporary workers. ”I think it’s going to be very difficult to get a tentative agreement,” Masters says. “You have the use of temporary workers… who don’t get all the benefits that so-called legacy workers do. This is sparking a discussion about the role of the middle class.” In addition to the gap that exists between full-time and temporary workers, Masters points to the increasing divide between executive and hourly worker pay, saying that executive salaries are going up while typical workers’ wages have stagnated or even fallen. He says this is making it “harder for those in the shrinking middle [class] to get ahead.” UAW workers are compensated $250 per week while on strike, and last week General Motors announced that they were dropping health-care plans for striking workers, increasing the tension between both sides. In the face of those economic implications, is a strike the most effective way to get a point across? According to Masters, yes: “A lot of the protections that we take for granted in the workplace today were won by unions and they were hard-fought battles by workers who made great sacrifices.”
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$3.1 million NIH grant to improve quality of life for African American cancer survivors

African Americans have the lowest survival rate of any racial or ethnic group in the United States for most cancers – a problem that is magnified in southeast Michigan. These differences are often due to socioeconomic disparities that result in unequal access to medical care, health insurance, healthy food and more. African Americans who survive cancer also have the shortest survival of any racial/ethnic group in the United States for most cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. A team of researchers from Wayne State University and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute are investigating the combined role that community, interpersonal and individual influences have on the health-related quality of life for African American cancer survivors, and how those influences create racial health disparities between African Americans and white survivors. The team includes Felicity W.K. Harper, Ph.D., associate professor of oncology in the Wayne State School of Medicine and the Karmanos Cancer Institute; Malcolm P. Cutchin, Ph.D., professor in the Institute of Gerontology and the Department of Health Care Sciences in Wayne State’s Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; and Hayley Thompson, Ph.D., professor of oncology in the School of Medicine and associate center director for community outreach and engagement at Karmanos. The study, “ARISE: African American Resilience in Surviving Cancer,” is a five-year, $3.1 million project funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health that aims to identify targets of change and inform the development of interventions to address causes of poorer health-related quality of life experienced by African American cancer survivors.
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What the Jeffrey Epstein case reveals about female sex offenders

Wayne State University professors in the School of Social Work Poco Kernsmith, Erin B. Comartin and Sheryl Kubiak, dean, wrote a piece for The Conversation about the importance of understanding sex offenses perpetrated by women in light of the recent indictment of Jeffrey Epstein for sex trafficking. Epstein allegedly did not act alone. In a variety of court filings, some of his female associates, most notably Ghislaine Maxwell, have been depicted as instrumental in his sexual encounters. None of them has been criminally charged. “We have studied women who have been convicted of sexual assault, abuse and human trafficking, as well as public attitudes toward sex offenders. Our research, and that of others, shows the similarities and differences between male and female sexual offenders.” In conclusion, the authors wrote: “We believe that introducing prevention programs that specifically address women as potential perpetrators may be effective in helping to prevent some abuses, such as those alleged in the Epstein cases.”
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Notable Women In Education Leadership

The women featured in this Notable Women in Education Leadership report were selected by a team of Crain’s Detroit Business editors based on their career accomplishments, track record of success in the field, contributions to their community and mentorship of others, as outlined in a detailed nomination form. Wayne State University awardees included: Monica Brockmeyer, senior associate provost for student success; Jennifer Lewis, associate professor of mathematics education and executive director, educator excellence, Detroit public schools community district; and Toni Somers, associate dean and professor at the Mike Ilitch School of Business.
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Data dump points task force toward areas of potential change when it comes to state’s jails

A group of lawmakers, judges, and law enforcement is starting to get a better idea of who is in Michigan’s jails and why. The Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration met Friday and got their first data dump from the PEW Charitable Trusts. PEW is working on collecting jail, court and arrest data from across the state to help the task force come up with recommendations for improvement. The Center for Behavioral Health and Justice at Wayne State University also presented the findings to the state task force. They found that almost half of the people released from jail in Michigan, are discharged after business hours. Experts say that creates problems for people who need mental health or substance abuse treatment. Sheryl Kubiak, School of Social Work dean and director of the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice, worked on the study. She said they studied jails in ten counties, and they found more than 43-percent of people released from jail are released between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. “So, if you can imagine somebody who is being discharged at 12:01 or 8 p.m., trying to connect with services is much more difficult,” she told the task force. The task force was created earlier this year to study’s Michigan’s jail system. It plans to have recommendations for improvements to the state’s jail system by January 9.
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Make Your Date Detroit delivers results

Detroit has one of the worst (highest) preterm birth and infant mortality rates in the country, equal to that of some third world countries. With a preterm birth rate of 14.5 percent, Detroit earned an “F” among major U.S. cities for premature births according to the 2018 Premature Birth Report Card from the March of Dimes, the nation’s leading maternal and infant health nonprofit organization. Research has shown that disparities such as racial inequity, poverty, stress, food insecurity, lack of education, and limited access to transportation or health care can contribute to poor health outcomes for mothers and babies. In efforts to quell this epidemic, the city of Detroit has welcomed several initiatives geared towards reducing the city’s infant mortality rate. One such initiative is the Make Your Date Detroit program. Make Your Date Detroit is a Wayne State University organization that is fighting to turn the tide against premature births in Detroit. “African American infants are at a 50 percent greater risk of preterm birth compared to white infants. As a result, African American infants are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants,” says Marisa Rodriquez, director of strategic operations of the Office of Women’s Health at Wayne State University. “African American women are three to four times more likely to die in pregnancy than white mothers. Hispanic mothers and infants are also at greater risk when compared to white women. There are tests and treatments that exist to reduce preterm birth, but many pregnant women do not have access to them. Our program works to make these lifesaving approaches available. What our program and others provide is important in the fight to reduce the very substantial racial and ethnic health disparities that are seen in pregnancy.” Rodriquez says that the Make Your Date program has already begun saving infant lives in a short period. “Make Your Date has been so successful that participating mothers are 37 percent less likely to deliver at under 32 weeks and 28 percent are less likely to deliver at under 34 weeks,” she said. “In a city with such high rates of preterm birth and infant mortality, these results are remarkable. We are very proud that women are delivering healthy babies as a result of this program.”  
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Wayne State welcomes Bosmat Nossan to serve as Allesee Guest Artist In Residence-in-Dance

The Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University welcomes renowned Israeli choreographer Bosmat Nossan as the Fall 2019 Allesee Guest Artist-in-Residence, Oct.1 through 11. Nossan has performed her work internationally. She is the artistic director and founder of the Gaga teacher training program, a former dancer of the Batsheva Dance Company and the Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company. Bosmat is a staff member of 'La Collectiz'- a graduate program for contemporary dancers. She was awarded with the Israel-America Cultural Foundation scholarship in 2004 and 2006, as well as the Remco award for promising artist in 2005, and a danceWEB scholarship in 2011. "This is a profound opportunity for our students and our community," says Meg Paul, director of dance for the department. "Having Ms. Nossan provide our students with her insight, artistry and experience is what makes the Allesee Guest Artist-in-Residence program such an integral part of our educational program. We are grateful to both Maggie Allesee, for whom the program is named thanks to her endowment, and to Ms. Nossan for making time to be with us."  
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WSU Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies kicks off National Hispanic Heritage Month

As a kickoff to National Hispanic Heritage Month, Wayne State University's Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies (CLLAS) recently hosted its 48th Anniversary & Celebration. The capacity crowd at El Kiosko Banquet Hall was on hand to recognize accomplished students and community leaders. Chuck Stokes, WXYZ editorial and public affairs director, served as emcee. Jorge Chinea, director of CLLAS, put together the special event.
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10,000 counselors and 150,000 clients with mental health issues could be impacted by new proposal

Much of the mental health field is worried by the State Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) move to reduce the number of counselors who could diagnose conditions like depression, anxiety, addiction and PTSD. It would impact both clients and their counselors. "Given the prevalence rates of mental health concerns in the United States and Michigan today, this is something that would impact literally every family in Michigan," said Scott Branson, an assistant professor in the counselor program at Wayne State University. The proposal would also prevent counselors from being reimbursed by insurance companies for their work. "The amount of clients who would lose mental health services would be astronomical. This is not a good time for that," said Shirley Mack, the clinical director of counseling at Wayne State University. In response to the threat, a Republican representative in the House has introduced a bill that would preserve the scope of the profession and how they operate. Professionals are urging residents to contact their representatives to support counselors.
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Professor: Legalization of recreational pot in Michigan resulted in more kids eating edible treats

The legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan has resulted in a spike in kids eating edible pot treats, according to a professor at Wayne State University. According to a news release from the university, more than half of calls made to the Michigan Poison Center at WSU concerning marijuana exposure through edibles like brownies, chocolate bars, candy and gummies involved children as young as six years old. School of Medicine Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Toxicology Fellowship Program Director Andy King said the uptick is likely due to the November 2018 legalization of marijuana in Michigan, leading to a higher availability of substance in homes. Since the beginning of the year, 59 pediatric calls to the Michigan Poison Center related to marijuana exposure involved edibles. “Wherever you start seeing legalization, kids are going to have more access to it by sheer numbers and probability to it,” King said. “A lot of the edibles are so desirable to children. This is the age that they really can’t read, and they’re going to (sneak) a cookie or steal a gummy bear.” King recommends all edibles and substances, including prescription drugs, be kept in a locked box to ensure safety. “A typical marijuana cigarette holds about 10 mg of THC," King said. “That’s what you see in a gummy bear. That’s a dose for a novice person to take to get the psychedelic or enjoyable effects of THC. These edibles can go up to 10 times that amount.”
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Sources: GM offers 2% raises to UAW; company ends strikers' health care

General Motors stopped paying for health care coverage for striking workers Tuesday, the company confirmed. That means striking GM union workers are eligible for union-paid COBRA to continue their health care benefits. The latest development added to tension as GM and the UAW returned to the bargaining table Tuesday morning. The two sides negotiated until about 9 p.m. Monday, sources said. Meanwhile, more details emerged about GM's offer to the UAW. Two sources familiar with GM's offer said it called for a 2% wage increase for the first and third year of the four-year contract and 2% lump sum payments the second and fourth years. UAW members are emotional after GM moved to shutter U.S. plants, so the fear that the automaker wants to break the union is understandable to Marick Masters, business professor at Wayne State University who specializes in labor. But he said, it's not realistic. “If that were the case, they could take more draconian measures, such as hiring other workers, encouraging people to break the line and go back to work or GM could have had a workforce ready to hire before this even started,” said Masters. GM likely knows it will have a union for the foreseeable future, which is why it is structuring a contract that allows it to be more cost competitive against nonunion automakers, he said. That means having the ability to have a larger temporary workforce and multiple wage tiers is crucial to the carmaker. But the two sides must reach an agreement in short order for several reasons, he said.  
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UAW corruption investigation casts shadow at the bargaining table as GM workers strike

GM workers have been on strike since midnight Monday. Company and union leaders are back at the bargaining table in Detroit. They’re trying to hammer out a new contract after GM workers walked off the job for their first strike since 2007. But there’s a third, unseen presence at the bargaining table this time. It’s the U.S. Justice Department, and its investigation into alleged corruption by some UAW officials. Peter Henning is a professor of law at Wayne State University and a former federal prosecutor. He says that when the feds investigated union leaders in the past, it was usually over suspected ties to organized crime. But this may be something entirely different. “It appears that it was essentially treating some of the funds like their own little piggy bank,” said Henning. Some UAW officials allegedly devised a scheme to use union member dues for personal expenses, like California luxury accommodations and golf. These are only allegations, and neither Jones nor Williams has been charged. Despite GM’s profits right now, the automaker is looking at a possible looming recession, weakening demand, and tariff challenges. It’s leaning heavily on truck and SUV sales, as the industry is becoming more technologically complex and electrified. Marick Masters teaches business and labor studies at Wayne State. He says the UAW will inevitably have to make a less-than-perfect deal for its members—but with many union members’ skeptical of the leadership’s credibility, leaders are more likely to “play to the crowd” and less likely to make a deal. “And that becomes a vicious circle in which inflexibility on one side leads to inflexibility on the other side,” said Masters. “I think at this point in time, the company has the leverage, because of the cloud that hangs over the UAW leadership.”
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Detroit students leave the city for suburban schools that aren’t much better

Detroit students who leave the city to get an education end up enrolled at schools with slightly higher test scores. But that may not be enough of an advantage given some other negative factors associated with that move. Researchers at Wayne State University who have been studying student mobility in Detroit say the suburban schools for which students leave are more likely to have higher discipline rates, more new teachers and higher teacher turnover. Those other factors “may counteract the benefits of going to a school with slightly better test scores,” said Sarah Winchell Lenhoff, an assistant professor of education at Wayne State. Lenhoff, along with Associate Professor Ben Pogodzinski, recently released two reports on student mobility. One was based on research on students who leave the city, while the other was based on research on movement in the city. The two studied student data from the 2010-11 school year through the 2017-18 school year. The research raised concerns about the 26,000 children who commute to schools outside Detroit and the many more who move within the city during and between school years. That frequent movement, one report noted, “has created an unstable learning environment for thousands of Detroit resident students, exacerbating many of the challenges faced by students and schools in the city.”
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Michigan sees spike in children poisoned by marijuana edibles

More children are getting their hands on marijuana edibles in Michigan -- and for toddlers, the effects can be life-threatening. Reports of intoxication in pediatric patients from marijuana edibles to the Michigan Poison Center spiked in 2018, said Dr. Cynthia Aaron, medical director for the center at Wayne State University. That's the year that Michigan saw its first retail sales of medical marijuana products -- and that voters agreed to legalize recreational marijuana. Though commercial sales of adult-use marijuana have yet to launch in Michigan, more and more children are coming into contact with THC-infused products like gummies, cookies and chocolate bars. There were six cases of children who ate a marijuana edible in 2017 -- and 46 cases in 2018, according to data from the Michigan Poison Center. So far this year, 59 children exposed to marijuana edibles have been reported to the center. The reports typically concern two groups: young, toddler-age children and adolescents, Aaron said. The major concern is toddler-age children, Aaron said. "They go unresponsive; many don't breathe," Aaron said. "They're not interacting; they're sleepy… some kids may complain of being dizzy; stumbling around." Though no deaths have been reported from children ingesting marijuana edibles, Aaron said the concerns are serious: some children have spent 24 hours on a breathing machine as a result of exposure. Marijuana edibles are an issue particularly because of the way they are dosed: the package might tell you a dose for an adult is one section of a chocolate bar; or two gummy bears; or half of a cookie. Young children don't see it that way, Aaron said. Aaron said adults should treat marijuana products like any other medication. "This like any other medication in the house -- it really needs to be locked up," Aaron said. "People don't realize how potent they (edibles) are and they don't understand that it's not like smoking or vaping. You don't get your buzz immediately -- it's delayed," Aaron said. "It's a dysphoric trip."

GM workers head to picket lines to press demands

General Motors Co.’s factory workers took to the picket lines Monday, hoisting signs reading “UAW on Strike” and blocking traffic into plants, in an effort to secure better pay, more job security and other benefits ahead of an expected U.S. car market slowdown. The United Auto Workers union over the weekend called on nearly 46,000 full-time factory workers at GM to walk off the job starting early Monday morning, after negotiations for a new four-year labor agreement hit a standstill. The nationwide walkout is the UAW’s first in 12 years and involves more than 30 factories across 10 states. It is also one of the largest private-sector work stoppage in decades, coming at a time when unions more broadly have pulled back on striking companies. Work-stoppages involving more than 1,000 employees are down, falling from more than 200 a year in the early 1980s to fewer than 20 annually in recent years. “The strike really has lost its utility as a viable weapon in the private sector,” said Marick Masters, a professor of business at Wayne State University. “You very rarely see an employer willing to buckle.” At the same time, he said both sides have an incentive to reach a deal quickly. “The company knows it’s going to have losses, and workers know they’re going to miss a paycheck,”  Masters said.
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E-scooters are fast, unregulated and all over Detroit. What could go wrong?

In a rapidly changing Detroit, the scooters have become something else: a symbol of tension about whether the city belongs to newcomers or longtime residents. In a city with chronic problems, the service that appeals mainly to young professionals was rolled out so quickly and with virtually no regulations that a City Council analyst last year wrote that Detroit was “inundated.” The results have often been confusion, annoyance, anger and broken bones as scooter users have shown up by the dozen at Detroit emergency rooms. Rayman Mohamed, a Wayne State University professor of urban studies and planning, said the absence of accepted rules about scooters fuel tensions. “At least there are rules of the road that cars generally follow,” said Mohamed, who occasionally uses a scooter himself.  “And, for the most part, both pedestrians and drivers have a common understanding what those rules are. “I think with scooters we haven’t had time to come to a common understanding about those rules. Instead, the rules are ambiguous and that leaves lots of room for animosity between pedestrians and scooter users.”
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Is there such a thing as ‘friend-zone’?

The issue of the “friend-zone” – and the reasons that men and women view it differently – helps us to understand the ways that people judge sexual interest and the things that lead us to strike up friendships in the first place. Trying to make a move on a friend is a balance of risk and reward, and men, more often than women, are attracted to opposite-sex friends, even when both people define the relationship as platonic. Men overestimated how attractive they were to the women, and the women underestimated how attracted the men were to them. People who rate themselves as highly attractive are also more likely to overperceive other's sexual interest in them. “Once we expect something we tend to see it,” says Antonia Abbey, from Wayne State University, a social psychologist who studies relationships. “If you think someone is sexually attracted to you, you watch for it more. Like when a person leans forward or laughs, or whatever – they view [that] as a sexual sign. They might not notice that when they leaned in the other person backed off.” Researchers like Abbey study the exchanges between people initiating romantic interest – called dating “scripts”. These scripts can reveal the sequence of events that lead to successful or unsuccessful pursuits of romance – and it turns out we often have pre-defined roles. “Context really matters in interactions like this,” says Abbey. “Men might be looking for signs of attraction more than women because traditional gender roles suggest men take the initiative. It sounds old fashioned in 2019, but there have been quite a few qualitative studies that ask about dates and people tend to still have a lot of those traditional themes around who asks whom out, who pays and things like that. Women hold back and men feel the burden to take the lead.”
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Blind Wayne State student shares inspiring secret to success, gets tattoo to celebrate passing organic chemistry

Any college-level chemistry class can seem difficult. One Wayne State University student, who happens to be blind, took organic chemistry for two semesters. Nicole Kada was born blind but she sees the world in a very inspiring way. “You could be blind and say that you can’t do anything because you can’t see, therefore you just can’t but that’s just making excuses,” she said. The 23-year-old is studying to become a dietitian and one of the courses she must pass is organic chemistry. “Organic chemistry is all drawing structures and molecules, it’s basically an art class, times ten,” Kada said. But if you can’t see or draw, how do you approach this class? She uses special paper and a Braille computer that helps her identify different shapes. “Plastic paper that you put on a drawing board and you write with this pen and it raises it up in Braille so I can feel the molecules,” Kada said. The student says she had to study much harder than other students to understand what was being taught in two semesters. She met with a tutor every day for hours and it paid off. She got two A's for the year. “Most proudest moments and happiest too,” Kada said. To celebrate, she got a tattoo of a molecule to be a permanent reminder of perseverance. “When my kids tell me they can’t do something, I’m going to show them my tattoo and tell them yes you can because I can do it and I can’t see.” Kada will be graduating next year but she hopes her story will inspire others. “As soon as you remove limitations, then you can accomplish anything,” she said.
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Texas hospital tries to stop birds living in nearby trees, accidentally creates haven for North America's most venomous caterpillar

Texas hospital's attempts to deter birds have accidentally created a haven for North American's most venomous caterpillar species, whose painful sting has been compared to breaking a bone. Nets were put up on the oak trees that line the sidewalks of Texas Medical Center in Houston to stop birds like grackles and pigeons—which can carry diseases and create a mess—from gathering. But by putting the birds off from landing on the trees, the institution created a new problem. With no birds to eat them, the population of bugs commonly known as "asps" exploded. After studying the area for three years, researchers found the caterpillars were 7,300 percent more abundant on netted trees compared to those without protection. Also known as Megalopyge opercularis or puss moth caterpillars, the insects are the most poisonous caterpillars in North America. The creatures are covered in spines linked to a sac filled with poison. If someone brushes against an asp, the protrusions break off and stick into the skin, releasing venom. After around five minutes, the victim will experience an intense throbbing pain, which then spreads. Stings can be accompanied by headaches, vomiting and nausea, as well as stomach pains. Glen Hood, who led the study at Rice University and is a research assistant professor of biological sciences at Wayne State University, said in a statement: "There are a lot of people that congregate in the green spaces of TMC [Texas Medical Center]. It becomes this scenario of what's worse—bird guano or venomous asps—and is there a happy medium?" Hood commented: "It's highly suggestive that when you don't take into account the natural interactions taking place within a community or ecosystem, even in an urban setting, it can cause unforeseen consequences."
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Center for Latino/a & Latin American Studies’ 48th Anniversary Awards Dinner

Professor Jorge Chinea, Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies director at wayne state university joined “Spotlight on the News” host Chuck Stokes to talk about the center’s 48th Anniversary Awards Dinner scheduled on Friday Sept. 13 at the El Kiosko Banquet Hall in Detroit. “Every year we try to hold an event to raise funds for the center, so we try to coincide it with the beginning of the Hispanic Heritage Month,” Chinea said. “We also try to recognize the great work that is being done by members of the community.”