Archive for union busting

Wisconsin report card: 53% of charter schools fell below expectations, 2 got failing grade

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grade F

Back in February I posted, Gov. Scott Walker's budget: Planned Parenthood closes 4 locations; funds school vouchers, charter schools "leaving public schools on life support."

Yes, Scotty not only tries to bust unions, but he also makes it harder on children, including special needs children, to access public education.

By the way, did you know that e-mails linked the Jeb Bush foundation, corporations, ALEC, and education officials? Of course, corporate funders benefited. Leave it to the GOP to put profits over the educational needs of all children.

When schools are privatized, they exist to make money, which leads to cutting corners and catering to those who can afford the high price of a private education. And charter schools challenge teachers’ unions while education opportunities suffer. In Philadelphia, charter school teachers rallied for unionization:

[T]hese teachers are on the frontlines of the education reform movement and among the first to seek to unionize the corporate education sector.

$400,000 was spent by the group that owns the charter of the high school in question to stop that union effort.

At the rally, the teachers were pretty clear about what they were fighting for; and, it doesn't revolve around pay and benefits. Emily Guck who has been teaching at Olney Charter High School for two years explained that since teachers see how policy affects their students on a day-to-day basis, teachers at the charter school should be granted a seat at the table.

Period. That was their priority, not money.

One twelfth grade teacher at the school explained:

"One of the reasons we feel our charter school union drive is so important in the present moment is that over the last decade or so, as we've seen charter schools continue to proliferate, major changes have happened in terms of who actually gets to make decisions about public education. Traditionally, such decisions have been made through collaborations between elected officials, teachers, parents, and administrators. Increasingly, they are now being made in closed-meetings by the unelected board members of private organizations, who may or may not have backgrounds in education, or children in the schools for which they are making decisions."

In Wisconsin, charter schools and voucherizing have consistently been pet issues for Gov. Walker. Let's check in on how that's been working out.

Via JSOnline:

Despite having more freedom over curriculum, budgets and staffing than traditional public schools, the majority of Milwaukee's independent charter schools are not meeting performance expectations, according to statewide report card results for 2012-'13.

Of the 17 independent charters in Milwaukee that received a rating through the state's new school report card accountability system, 53% fell below expectations, with two schools authorized by the City of Milwaukee receiving a failing grade... The schools are publicly financed but privately managed, and are given freedom from bureaucratic restraints on school districts in exchange for upholding a promise to deliver on performance. [...]

[O]n a percentage basis, the 134 schools rated in MPS [Milwaukee Public Schools] educated three times as many students learning English and twice as many students with special needs, compared with independent charters. The charter schools enrolled a higher percentage of white students and lower percentage of students in poverty than MPS.

Class dismissed.

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New list of dark money shell game groups connected to Koch brothers

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 Photo by Gus Ruelas/Greenpeace

As much as we think we know about the infamous Koch brothers, there is a lot we don't know. But thanks to the Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch, we are now more informed about how they've been spending their billions.

For example, money went to the NRA, NFIB, the Chamber of Commerce, Koch cut-outs, Generation Opportunity (youth propaganda machine), the tea party, the Heritage Foundation, and the California (and probably more) ballot initiative subverter, CPPR, along with old stand-bys like 60+.

surprise

Via PR Watch:

Today, the Koch-funded "Freedom Partners," which secretly distributed $250 million during the 2012 election season, posted its first federal tax report which uncloaked several Koch-related entities that were previously unknown. [...]

The new-ish organization, formally known as "Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce," lists five entities which it owned 100% of:

  • The "American Entrepreneur Fund LLC," which had assets of $885,316 and whose activities are listed as simply as "projects"

  • The "American Enterprise Group LLC," which had assets of $424,975 and whose activities are listed as "management"

  • The "American Strategies Group LLC," which had assets of $97,714 and whose activities are listed as "public outreach"

  • The "MIC LLC," with assets of $25,000 and whose job was "research"

  • And, "American Strategic Innovations LLC," with assets of $4,976, whose job was also research

Here are a few revelations, with more details at the link:

  • The Koch-fueled "Center to Protect Patient Rights" (CPPR) got more than $100 million last year.
  • The not-so-independent National Federation of Independent Businesses claims to represent small business owners. It is the antithesis of being funded by the family fortune of one of biggest billionaire corporations in the world, Koch Industries.
  • The Kochs have claimed no role on gun policy; the NRA got millions. As controversy has grown over the role of the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in pushing so-called "Stand Your Ground" legislation, Koch Industries has repeatedly issued denouncements that it has any role in gun policies.

In addition to these, the Freedom Fund Chamber of Commerce spent another $50 million on other groups, cumulatively, some of which are well known and some of which have flown below the public's radar.

Again, among those groups are  the "Tea Party Patriots" operating out of Woodstock, Georgia; "The Republican Jewish Coalition"; the "Heritage Action for America, Inc.," connected to the Heritage Foundation, which has deep Koch connections; and "The National Right to Work Committee," who received $1,000,000 for pushing anti-worker, union-busting measures.

Money talks. We need to talk back, only louder.

More here.

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Poll-itics-- Dep't. of Oy Vey: WI Gov. Scott Walker an early favorite for re-election (but not a lock)

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oil of oy vey smaller

Seriously, Wisconsin, at this point, you get what you deserve if you don't get out the vote and defeat your should-have-been-recalled voter suppressing, privatizing, union busting governor.

This typifies the frustration so many of us are feeling from afar, watching this slo-mo train wreck happen before our own very eyes. Get your act together, Wisconsin Dems, or you have nobody to blame but yourselves if you don't get out the vote in a huge way and finally show Scotty the door.

Via WisPolitics:

Two prominent Wisconsin pollsters say Gov. Scott Walker, on the verge of his re-election bid, appears to have relatively stable poll numbers and the advantages of incumbency.

But Paul Maslin of FM3 and Charles Franklin of the Marquette Law School also told the audience at a WisPolitics.com luncheon this week that his advantage could change -- and not simply because Dems have yet to fully get behind a single candidate.

Maslin, a Madison-based Dem pollster, conceded Walker is the favorite with nearly 14 months before the 2014 election, noting he's already won his office twice.

But he also argued the guv is "absolutely" vulnerable on economic issues, saying he hasn't delivered on his 250,000 jobs pledge and that the state is largely underperforming in the Midwest.

wtf moment in progress

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VIDEO: Why unions matter, in a measly 1 minute 19 seconds

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chart graph why unions matter

Via Colin Gordon from June 2012:

Author's analysis of Historical Statistics of the United States, unionstats.com, Piketty and Saez (2003), and The World Top Incomes Database (http://g-mond.parisschoolofeconomics....)

The video is from the Economic Policy Institute, and it shows how unions are declining, paralleling the abrupt uptick of income inequality. Gee, what a coincidence... and what a shame, because: "What a difference a union can make!"

Along with the video, Think Progress has three charts also showing why unions matter, including how the income of the richest one percent has risen as middle class incomes drop:

Income inequality is skyrocketing, while worker wages stagnate and more and more people leave unemployment for low-wage, part time jobs. [...]

[L]ike many workers, fast food employees could greatly benefit from the ability to collectively bargain. After all, their minimum wage jobs have actually become worth even less as time goes on. While those one percent of top earners are seeing a great spike in their incomes, the low-wage worker is feeling deflated.

Earlier I posted an L.A. Times reader who suggested, "Instead of tying the minimum wage to state law, let us tie that wage to corporate profits." Twitter pal @vinctee added, "Or CEO pay."

And another of my Twitter followers, @johnncastlerock, tweeted, "Raise to $16/hr and tie annual increases to national productivity. Corp 'profits' too easy to manipulate."

And finally, if you missed it, this is a must-see: A genius made this video, a British guy who calls himself a "Labor geek."

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VIDEO: A genius made this video, a British guy who calls himself a "Labor geek"

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labor day tweet Jeff Tiedrich

Link to tweet; link to Labor Day Wiki.

And please read my post "What a difference a union can make!"

In today's Los Angeles Times, there is an op-ed by Harold Meyerson (editor at large of the American Prospect and an op-ed columnist for the Washington Post), "A Labor Day proposal for labor: Extend the Civil Rights Act's Title VII protections to workers seeking to unionize." It ends with this:

By making union organizing a civil right, the California Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown could begin to end this public-policy paralysis. In a state where millions work for low wages, California's leaders could help revive collective bargaining in a nation from which it's almost disappeared, and begin rebuilding the kind of vibrant economy that was once America's and California's calling card to the world.

Then I ran across this video, which is brilliant. No kidding:

Jul 3, 2009

A union can make a big difference to people's perceptions of a job. For UK staff you can find out which unions may be relevant to your job at www.worksmart.org.uk/unionfinder

Via The Progressive Change Campaign Committee team:

It can be depressing to see workers under attack -- by Republican governors, by corporations, by opponents of Social Security...

This was made by John Wood, a British guy who calls himself a "Labor geek," and it's gone viral on YouTube.

happy labor day

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VIDEO: "Post-Citizens United, conservatives look at [union decline] & smell blood." Unions support Dems. 'Nuff said.

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chart maddow unions v corps campaign spending smaller

I recently posted about WI Gov. Scott Walker suggesting stripping police and firefighter union rights. Without unions, workers suffer. (We all suffer.) They suffer because they have no rights to speak of, they can't fight for what should be their rights effectively, and their employers have no problem stomping all over them. That was made clear here: “Dignity… That was the message of the signs [the restaurant workers] carried: I am a man, I am a woman.”

Please take a look at why even conservatives should appreciate what unions do, and have done, for this country: What a difference a union can make! And that appreciation should extend to the U.S. Postal Service: “It’s called the U.S. Postal Service because it is a service, not a corporation.”

With that in mind, this clip is a must-watch. The entire segment is below:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Melissa Harris-Perry:

All right. You got it? Unions not only gave us the weekends and health insurance.

Unions not only gave us the middle class.

Unions then gave that middle class a way to take part in the political process. In the significant part of the process that involves putting money into political campaigns.

And when union members get involved in campaigns, they tend to throw their considerable support behind Democrats. Not Republicans.

In other words, Republicans are trying to asphyxiate the Democratic party.

Here is the whole thing:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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VIDEO: Corporate CEOs admit pushing credit agencies to lower Illinois's bond rating as part of attack on pensions

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biden big f'ing deal

Relevant segment at around the 47-minute mark.

Via IllinoisChannelTV,  Mar 8, 2013:

From the Union League Club of Chicago: Former Attorney-General Ty Fahner, who now heads the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, talks about the urgent need to cut the cost of state pensions.

H/t: @johnvmoore who said, "I believe corporations screwing a state's bond rating is huge." Why yes, yes it is.

Via We Are One Illinois (bolding is mine) released the following statement. They are responding to Ty Fahner, president of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, who said that members of that committee lobbied major credit agencies to downgrade the bond ratings of Illinois:

Coalition Calls for Investigation into Corporate CEOs Who Lobbied for Illinois Bond Downgrades

"Ty Fahner and unnamed members of his corporate-backed committee have shown their true colors. Fahner bragged openly about joining members of the business-backed group, behind closed doors, in lobbying credit rating agencies to lower Illinois' bond ratings in an irresponsible and unethical attempt to put the state in an even more difficult position. They show total contempt for the taxpaying public, total disregard for the difficult fiscal challenges the state faces, and total hypocrisy over their alleged care for the working families of Illinois.”

In addition, a serious conflict of interest may exist if either these unnamed CEOs or the big corporations they control profited in any way from lobbying to make Illinois pay more interest on its bonds -- bonds which they or their corporations may hold. [...]

Yesterday, Capitol Fax shared a video of Fahner speaking before the Union League Club, where he said, "Me and some of the people that make up the Civic Committee...did meet with and call...Moody's and Fitch [Ratings] and Standard and Poor's...and say, 'How in the hell can you guys do this [maintain the state's credit rating]? You know, you are an enabler to let the state continue. You keep threatening more and more and more.'"

Fahner then took credit for the subsequent downgrades to Illinois' credit ratings, stating, "But if you watch what happened in the last few years, it's been steadily down. Before that, it's been the blind eye."

As Vice President Biden would say, this is a big f'ing deal.

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