Tag: unions

Two Michigan for-profit charter schools being held accountable for breaking the law

Two Michigan for-profit charter schools being held accountable for breaking the law

Hallelujah

It’s no secret that the for-profit charter school industry is like the Wild West when it comes to being able to do just about anything they want. Michigan is one of the most permissive states in the country when it comes to oversight of charter schools and there are miscreants out there taking full advantage of that in order to maximize the flow of tax dollars directed into their bank accounts.

This week, however, a couple of them are finally being held accountable, a rare but important step.

First, there’s Detroit Community Schools, an Orwellian-named run by former criminals that was called out in a scathing floor speech by Democratic State Rep.

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Union Proud, Union Strong: Good news for a change!

Union Proud, Union Strong: Good news for a change!

I received a press release the other day from the Michigan State AFL-CIO, the umbrella federation for U.S. and Michigan unions. The group is made up of 56 unions representing 12.5 million working men and women. The headline made me smile and sent a glimmer of sunshine in what has been some very dark days for people of conscience and passion in Michigan.

The headline read simply: New Data: Michigan Union Membership Increased in 2015: Michigan unions added 36,000 members last year

Happily, Michigan is not alone in its increase in membership. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24 states saw an increase in union membership, and although there is a great deal of room for growth, after too many years of union membership decreased, mostly because of a horrid economy and bad Republican economic policy, wages in union states, as have been reported for many decades now, are increasing for union households and furthermore in non-union households they are making about 21% less than Union households.…

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The future of public sector unions, and perhaps organized labor, lies firmly in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court

The future of public sector unions, and perhaps organized labor, lies firmly in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court

2015 was by many accounts a good year for our Liberal agenda as it related to decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court. The affirmation of the Affordable Care Act and the victory of marriage equality for all were important and historical steps in reality and it was, I should add, a reflection of what many of us, no matter your political will, agreed were the right decisions to make. But, as many of us are fully aware, just because a majority agrees with a point of view does not guarantee a victory in the courts.

Today the United State Supreme Court will begin to hear oral arguments on a landmark case that originated in Detroit which could overturn a decision that has been upheld for 39 years.…

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Debunking the Mackinac Center’s phony teachers union “pension spiking” scandal

Debunking the Mackinac Center’s phony teachers union “pension spiking” scandal

I recently wrote about Michigan teacher Mary Davenport, a woman who had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in support from her union, the Michigan Education Association (MEA), only to turn around and claim they “weren’t there when she needed them.” She was duped into being the poster child for the campaign by the corporate front group Mackinac Center to encourage teachers to leave their union.

In the letter Davenport signed that was sent to thousands of Michigan teachers using their taxpayer-funded work email addresses, Davenport railed against what Mackinac Center calls “pension spiking” by MEA president Steve Cook whose pension will be based on his MEA salary.…

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Ann Arbor teachers file Unfair Labor Practice suit against school administration

Ann Arbor teachers file Unfair Labor Practice suit against school administration

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been traveling in China for work for the past two weeks. I’m now back in Michigan and have finally recovered from my jet lag and the 12-hour time difference. I appreciate your patience during my absence. Regular posting will now resume : )

Back in 2011, shortly after Republicans took control of our state government, one of the first things they did was to enact a series of laws designed to diminish the ability of teachers to bargain collectively for fair wages, benefits, and working conditions. The new laws created local boards that would govern teacher discipline, teacher evaluations, teacher tenure and strengthened a prohibition on strikes to further harm unions that encourage them.…

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President Obama smacks down Republican attempt to block new NLRB rule making it easier for workers to unionize

President Obama smacks down Republican attempt to block new NLRB rule making it easier for workers to unionize

Last December, the National Labor Relations Board issued a new rule to “modernize and streamline the process” of forming a union.

The new rule:

  • Provides for electronic filing and transmission of election petitions and other documents;
  • Ensures that employees, employers and unions receive timely information they need to understand and participate in the representation case process;
  • Eliminates or reduces unnecessary litigation, duplication and delay;
  • Adopts best practices and uniform procedures across regions;
  • Requires that additional contact information (personal telephone numbers and email addresses) be included in voter lists, to the extent that information is available to the employer, in order to enhance a fair and free exchange of ideas by permitting other parties to the election to communicate with voters about the election using modern technology; and
  • Allows parties to consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board into a single appeals process.
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New study finds that union members are happier, more satisfied people

New study finds that union members are happier, more satisfied people

A new study by professors from Baylor University and the University of Arkansas shows that, despite a 10% decline in union membership over the past 30 years, union members are happier and have greater satisfaction in their lives than non-union members. In a New York Times article titled “Want to Be Happy? Join a Union”, the two professors talk about their research:

[A] recent study may give some workers reason to reconsider [union membership]. For those who belong to a union, membership seems to bring a benefit that perhaps surpasses better wages or generous health insurance: higher life satisfaction.

The study authors, Patrick Flavin, an assistant professor at Baylor University, and Gregory Shufeldt, an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, used data from five different years between the early 1980s and mid-2000s, conducted in the United States, of the World Values Survey, a research project focusing on people’s beliefs.

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Corporatist profiteer Richard Berman attacks AFT President Randi Weingarten in Detroit News “Op-Ed”

Corporatist profiteer Richard Berman attacks AFT President Randi Weingarten in Detroit News “Op-Ed”

The Detroit News published an op-ed yesterday by a man so well-known for being a corporatist shill and profiteer that running it must have been a decision made by the News‘ advertising department. The piece was penned by a Richard Berman and attempts to lay the entire blame for the poor quality of Detroit Public schools at the feet of the teachers union and, more specifically, at the feet of Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

It hardly bears pointing out that Detroit schools didn’t get where they are because of greedy, self-interested teachers. You don’t go to work in Detroit public schools with the aim of becoming wealthy thanks to your cushy union job.…

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INTERVIEW: AFL-CIO’s Liz Shuler – Has the “American Dream” become the “Impossible Dream”?

INTERVIEW: AFL-CIO’s Liz Shuler – Has the “American Dream” become the “Impossible Dream”?

The American Dream, according to dictionary.com, is defined as: the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American, or, a life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the U.S.

I might suggest that, based on generational differences, the definition of the American Dream might be different from generation to generation. Clearly, though, at least in the world I live in, one has to wonder if it’s time to redefine what the American Dream is. I’m not suggesting that the ideas set forth at dictionary.com are necessarily wrong. At the same time, however, I am concerned that the way it’s defined doesn’t exactly fit into today’s model of what our communities are, what we seek for them to be, and more importantly, how we get there.…

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AUDIO: Mackinac Center staffer claims emails urging teachers to leave union aren’t “political” (UPDATED)

AUDIO: Mackinac Center staffer claims emails urging teachers to leave union aren’t “political” (UPDATED)

po·lit·i·cal – /pəˈlitikəl/ – adjective: of or relating to the government or the public affairs of a country

Updated with video of Rachael Siemen asking her question.

Yesterday at a forum at the Michigan House Office Building, the Mackinac Center brought in a representative from another notorious corporatist front group, The Heritage Foundation, to spew propaganda regarding the raising of the minimum wage. During the question and answer period following the presentation, UAW Local 6000 member Rachael Siemen asked Mackinac Center staffer Vincent Vernuccio a simple question regarding a recent email sent spammed out to thousands of public school teachers in Michigan urging them to leave the Michigan Education Association teachers union.…

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BREAKING: Mackinac Center using public school email system to encourage teachers to leave their union (UPDATED)

BREAKING: Mackinac Center using public school email system to encourage teachers to leave their union (UPDATED)

NOTE: Updated to clarify the restriction on unions using official school emails to conduct business.

NOTE 2: This post has been updated HERE.

The anti-union corporatist group the Mackinac Center is using public school email systems to encourage teachers to leave the Michigan Education Association, one of two major teachers unions in the state. I have confirmed that at least five teachers in the Livonia school district received the following email in their school email accounts:

From: Peter Boyd
Date: Mon, Jun 9, 2014 at 11:42 AM
Subject: August Opt-Out
To: [NAME REDACTED]@livoniapublicschools.org

Dear Colleague:

My name is Peter Boyd, and I’m a high school science teacher in the Martin school district.

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