Meet Our Union Monday: Netta Berlin

LEO+Meet+Our+Union+181108.jpg

Every Monday, look forward to meeting another one of your fellow union members and hearing about how they got involved in LEO. This series is a way for us to learn about our fellow Lecs, and remind ourselves that We Are the Union!


This week, meet Netta Berlin, a Lecturer of Classics on Ann Arbor campus. Netta is the Chair of LEO’s Elections Committee, which oversees the mechanics of the elections for our union’s leadership positions, as well as membership votes on important issues. Read about Netta’s experience with union activism below, and let us know if you’re interested in getting involved in a union committee here!

Please note that Nominating Petitions for the offices of LEO President and Secretary are due to the Elections Committee no later than Wednesday, February 13 at 5:00 pm. For details about the nominating process see here.

Questions about the election should be directed to either Matt Oches (matt@leounion.org) or Netta Berlin (netta@leounion.org).

Netta Berlin, Chair of LEO’s Elections Committee!

Netta Berlin, Chair of LEO’s Elections Committee!

What's your name?

Netta Berlin

What do you teach and on which campus?

Ancient Greek, Latin, Greek and Roman literature in translation (esp. myth and epic poetry), and first-year writing. Ann Arbor.

How long have you taught at the University of Michigan?

17 years.

What’s your favorite song to dance to?

Solo: “Stompa,” Serena Ryder. With a partner: “Dance Me to the End of Love,” Leonard Cohen.

What was your first experience with unions or the first time you learned what a union was?

When I was a girl, there was a copy of the I.W.W. Songbook in the stack of music on my family’s piano (above Für Elise, below The Beatles Songbook) – the edition with the bright red cover and a picture of a man with his right hand raised against a backdrop of smokestacks, calling me “to fan the flame of discontent.”

Although no one would mistake me for a rabble rouser, that cover grabbed my attention and has yet to let go.

What union committee(s) are you on and what is your favorite part of being involved?

Currently I serve on the Elections Committee. What’s not to love about facilitating a fair voting process?

Why should a LEO member join your committee?

As of late, the Elections Committee has enjoyed a singular reputation for having no meetings. Also, our voting process has yet to be hacked by the Russians.

Our voting process has yet to be hacked by the Russians.
— Netta Berlin, Chair of LEO Elections Committee

Football or basketball?

Baseball.

Current obsession?

Folding specialty papers into small accordion books with pockets for poems and other items of deeply felt significance.

What century would you want to live in (excluding 21st and 20th)?

I can’t even wrap my mind around this question.

Hard shell or soft shell (tacos)?

Soft (duh).

Favorite LEO slogan from this past round of bargaining (could be one we actually used, or one we considered)?

I’ll reframe this question and assert that the best, yet least heralded, LEO slogan of all time is “E Pluribus Union.” I don’t get why it hasn’t caught on.

Your personal fight song--the one that gets you fired up to fight the good fights?

I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night,” followed by “Stompa” (see above).

Share a guilty watch (a movie or show that’s probably no good but you enjoy anyway)

Who needs more human drama, real or manufactured? I watch relentlessly cute animal videos: baby sloths, kid goats in pajamas, gay penguins adopting abandoned chicks, dogs greeting family members returning from military service, etc.

What’s a favorite book you read in the past few years, fiction or non-?

The Radetsky March, Joseph Roth.

I watch relentlessly cute animal videos: baby sloths, kid goats in pajamas, gay penguins adopting abandoned chicks, dogs greeting family members returning from military service, etc.

What would you like to eat for your last meal?

A hamburger with cheese and grilled onions, potato chips, and red wine. Lots of potato chips and red wine.

What superpower would you least like to have?

Immortality.

In one word, describe your experience with LEO so far.

Rewarding.

If you could teach something in another discipline for a semester, what would you teach?

American Culture.

What’s one pleasant surprise about your experience with our union?

Frankly, there have been no surprises. You can’t be moved by the cover of the I.W.W. Songbook and not know instinctively that union activists get how things are and how to deal with them.

What was your favorite question on this quiz?

Definitely not the one about the superpower.

LEO Communications Committee