There’s a great new trend in Virginia school districts. In 2020, the state legalized collective bargaining for public workers, but made it a decision at the local government level. This week, both Charlottesville and Fairfax County passed measures allowing collective bargaining for school district employees. They follow Prince William County, where school employees voted in February for the Prince William Education Association to be their exclusive bargaining representative.
Fairfax County and Prince William County have the two largest school districts in Virginia.
According to Fairfax County school board member Karl Frisch, the vote “is a demonstration not only of our commitment to improving school staffing, pay, and morale but also to better outcomes for students. In addition to engaged parents, there is no greater driver of student success than classroom teachers.”
● Now that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is in a position to sign laws, as Arkansas governor she signed a measure loosening child labor protections. Specifically, children under 16 won’t have to get parental permission or an employment certificate from the state Division of Labor, basically making it easier for employers to exploit kids without any adult oversight. But don’t worry! According to a spokesperson, “All child labor laws that actually protect children still apply and we expect businesses to comply just as they are required to do now.”
● And it’s a trend. Ohio is also considering loosening child labor laws.
● Sen. Elizabeth Warren forcefully challenged Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell over the likely effects of the Fed’s current policy of raising unemployment to combat inflation:
Senator Warren: There’s been 12 times that we’ve seen a one-point increase in the unemployment rate in a year — that's exactly what your Fed report has put out as the projection. And the plan based on how you're going to keep raising these interest rates. How many times did the economy fail to fall into a recession after doing that out of 12 times?
ChaIr Powell: I think the number is zero.
Senator Warren: I think the number is zero, that's exactly right. So, then the question becomes, we have two million people out of work. Can you stop it at two million people?
● Striking graduate student workers at Temple University have announced a tentative agreement that they say includes significant advances on their four core demands.
● In Connecticut:
A labor arbitrator has ordered $45.4 million in bonuses for 36,000 essential state employees, about $1,200 per worker, to recognize the risks they faced staffing essential services, with no vaccine protection, during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.