That's an awfully big financial investment in opposing something you claim to support. It's a financial investment Rhee and StudentsFirst wouldn't be in a position to make without the support of people like the Waltons and Murdoch. And, by the way, it's the sort of position StudentsFirst uses Change.org—which recently announced it would be taking money not just from organizations that, like StudentsFirst, claim to be nonpartisan or bipartisan or whatever BS it is this week, but from corporations and avowedly right-wing groups as well—to campaign for.
(Continue reading below the fold.)
A fair day's wage
- Illinois voters are putting the blame for the state's pension problems where it belongs, on politicians, not public workers.
- The Hyatt Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood, California, is using iPod Touches to make housekeeping more "efficient" through surveillance. Workers are told by their iPods which rooms to clean in what order, and the time they spend in each room is tracked. Sarah Jaffe reports that it comes with an extra side of belittlement:
The program is known as “Rex” because it features a running, tail-wagging dog animation. “Whoever thought of this system thought it was cute,” Cathy Youngblood, a housekeeper at the Hyatt Andaz, tells Working In These Times. “If you're a housekeeper you're not thought of as highly intelligent. This is American society. You're in a low position anyway. Now the dog has become our symbol at my Hyatt Andaz. We do run around like dogs, but still, we're not dogs.”
- New York Times staffers are escalating their contract fight, greeting the company's new CEO en masse, considering a byline strike (in which they would write their pieces and take their photos, but withhold their bylines), and holding informational picketing. In an open letter to Times management, they lay out some of the issues that fuel their fight, contrasting how the paper's union workers are being treated in comparison to non-union employees:
The newsroom’s excluded employees received raises of 3 percent in 2011 and again in 2012, but management is demanding that the Guild accept raises totaling just 3.5 percent over five years – just a shade over what excluded employees received last year alone.
- Nurses in El Paso, Texas, voted to join the National Nurses United.
- With the NHL lockout continuing, fans and players are unlikely to get a full season. League management continues to try to pin game cancellations on the locked-out players for having the audacity not to cave immediately to the owners' money grab.
- Take a sick day, get fired. It shouldn't be this way, and in New York City, it doesn't have to be. But Council Speaker Christine Quinn continues to stand in the way of paid sick leave.
State and local legislation
- Consultants are making huge profits telling cities and towns what jobs and services to cut. Plus conflicts of interest!
Philadelphia's city government, for example, paid financial consultants at Lazard $200,000 for a study that recommended that the city privatize its public gas utility. Lazard then won a potentially far more lucrative contract to manage the sale. And Lazard proposed, among other things, selling Philadelphia Gas Works to an infrastructure fund; Lazard has a strategic relationship with such a fund, the Lazard Global Listed Infrastructure Portfolio.
- Rejecting California's Proposition 32 is a patient safety issue.
- A Pennsylvania bill would let companies keep workers' income taxes. Pennsylvania's not the leading edge of this, either. Many states already have similar laws.
- Pennsylvania towns are disbanding police departments to break their union.
- A Florida charter school had to close because it was failing, but the principal still got a $500,000 payout.
- Reconnecting McDowell, the effort by the American Federation of Teachers and others to work through the schools to revitalize a county in which more than 70 percent of kids come from homes where no one has a job, continues. Recently, the West Virginia Association of Student Councils donated 120 backpacks filled with school supplies, clothing, and more for McDowell students, and announced it will run two one-week summer camps for McDowell students, who have few recreation options due to the poverty and remoteness of their county.
- Is Idaho's Tom Luna the worst state education superintendent in the country? Quite possibly, and his policies are on the Idaho ballot on Nov. 6.
- Microsoft gives $50,000 to push charter schools in Washington state. That's on top of the millions Bill Gates has already given personally.
- This week brought Daily Kos diaries by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Steelworkers President Leo W Gerard, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler, and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker. Most of those came as part of the amazing GOTV blogathon organized by the Daily Kos community, but Leo Gerard is a regular diarist.
- Okay, you probably know who you're voting for in the presidential election. But the SMART union (Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation) has put together a game that goes straight to the issues and makes the choice pretty stark. Worth sharing if you have any undecided friends.