Court smacks down non-union schooling

Watch out home-schoolers, because an attack is on its way. California's 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 28 that California parents without state teaching credentials do not have a right to home school their kids. The ruling has no jurisdiction in Colorado, but it will give fuel, inspiration, hope, energy and a blueprint to the people who hate home schools.

The education establishment in California has long been on the attack against families who home school. Back in 2000, as a home-schooled child from Alameda County, Calif., nearly won the national spelling bee, the Berkeley Unified School District challenged the legality of home schooling, saying homeschooled kids were truant from public schools.

Attacks and legal challenges have continued ever since, with the Feb. 28 ruling giving home-schoolers their greatest blow yet.

"The court has assaulted parental rights again, and this time with a sledgehammer," said Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman of Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, in a recent radio broadcast. "Listeners in all 50 states should take notice."

Children in home schools, the home-school opponents argue, may not be getting adequate educations. They parade out rare home-school horror stories, involving parents who are just too negligent to get their children to school no matter what the law says. They ignore the fact that home-schooling has generally been proven superior to public schooling.

The National Education Association, a teacher's union with a well-deserved bad reputation, has spent more than the past decade advocating the abolition of home schools. The union and other home-school foes seem unfazed by the fact homeschool students have a veritable monopoly on winning spelling bees and math contests, and consistently score higher in comprehensive testing. A study of 5,402 home-school students in 1997 shocked the academic world, finding that on average they outperformed their public school peers by 30 to 37 percentile points in all subjects. The study was reinforced by another study involving 20,760 home-school students.

Top universities, such as Stanford, used to reject homeschool applicants outright. Today, they're given admission preference in many cases because universities have found that home-schooled students outperform others.

So why do public schools, the teachers unions and courts want to impede home schools? Mostly, for money. It's real simple: schools get public funds based on their average daily attendance. In Colorado, one child taken from a public school for the nurturing environment of a home school takes roughly $6,000 out of the school system each year. With every spelling bee winner, every successful study of home-school students, the institution of home schooling has grown. With that, and a variety of school choice measures such as open enrollment, public schools have found themselves in competition for students. Some administrators and the NEA don't like it. They would rather under-perform and count on every child who's born eventually bringing money their way. They prefer the old monopoly, and they're asking courts to restore it.

And there's another issue at play. Statists hate home schooling for all the reasons religious organizations admire it. Religious organizations like home schooling because it enables parents to teach their children about God, all day every day. They can teach children about the joys of living life to its fullest, in an independent way with the skills to independently learn and adapt. Children can be taught to grow their own food and make their own clothes. Statists prefer that our children learn from the state - hearing collectivist notions of entitlement, dependence on the collective and, worst of all, equal outcomes - an ugly distortion of equal opportunity.

The California ruling is an attack on children, an attack on families and a threat to liberty itself. And watch out, because the attack is going to spread.


Costly UAW strike v. American Axle drags on

A supplier strike that has idled all or part of 29 General Motors Corp. plants, including one in Wentzville, may last into late April, the leader of a research center said. "It looks to me that it's got the ingredients of a rather long strike" and may continue for up to 60 days, said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. "I don't see anything that would suggest a settlement is imminent."

The walkout began Feb. 26 and includes about 3,650 workers at American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Corp., GM's largest supplier of axles. The United Auto Workers union has cited wage, health care and pension issues.

GM's large inventory of pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles that American Axle makes parts for, combined with slow U.S. auto sales, means less pressure to settle, Cole said.

GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner on Tuesday said the strike had had a "negligible" effect on the automaker's retail sales.

The automaker had an average 105-day supply of the pickups and SUVs that use American Axle parts, according to Autodata Corp. in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. Analysts consider a 60-day supply typical.

If the strike continues into next week, GM will have to shut truck plants in Arlington, Texas, and Silao, Mexico, Rod Lache, a New York-based analyst with Deutsche Bank AG, said.


European collective picks worker-choice state

While I was at Whataburger Field a week ago Friday, watching the Texas A&M-Corpus; Christi Islanders beat Notre Dame, something else pretty big caught my eye in the direction of the inner harbor. Cranes were unloading a ship load of wind turbines, the huge propellers that harness wind power to turn it into electricity. As the Islanders came closer, inning by inning, to their big win over a big-named opponent, a thought came to mind: Why couldn't we be making wind turbines instead of importing them?

Maybe that's the kind of thought that occurred to someone in Mobile, Ala., somewhere along the way. I was thinking about Mobile as I watched those cranes unload those wind turbines. Just a few days before, on Feb. 29, the Air Force announced that it was awarding a $40 billion contract to the European maker of Airbus for new aerial refueling tankers. Hearts dropped in the state of Washington where losing competitor Boeing, the American aircraft manufacturer, was to build its air tanker.

Conversely, cheers went up in Alabama and its port city of Mobile. It was a big win for Airbus maker European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., based in France, but it was a crucial win for Mobile, where the refueling tankers will be assembled. Community leaders in Mobile believe this launches their state and city into the aerospace industry.

Mobile has a lot of things in common with Corpus Christi. It has a port on the Gulf of Mexico. It needs well-paying jobs just like Corpus Christi does. Corpus Christi has no history of being in the aircraft industry, but neither does Mobile, so there is no large work force trained in the skills or engineering background that the industry needs. It does have an old Air Force base which is used as a civilian airport now, which, combined with the port, was a key to local leaders making their pitch to EADS to bring their business to them. But that's not why it seems that Mobile is now on the verge of entering the aerospace industry.

For one, Mobile needed a group of local and state leaders who were focused on one goal. The city lost a bid to get a Boeing plane built in Mobile in 2005, but though the city was disappointed, it was not disheartened. When the opportunity came again, they were ready to go. Alabama beat 32 other states as the site for the EADS tanker plants, even though it would be years before the Air Force would make a choice.

That tells me that the political goals of Mobile's elected leaders and the economic goals of its business community were in alignment and were kept focused, even when it looked like nothing would come of it. And then they were willing to put money on the line. EADS went to Mobile in large part with the help of $120 million in cash and tax incentives from the city, county and state. In return, Mobile gets a potential investment of $600 million from EADS to build its plants and more than 1,000 jobs, paying an average weekly wage of $1,250, double what manufacturing work now pays in Mobile.

Boeing has appealed the Air Force decision, but Mobile remains a prime example of what a community can do when it can focus on the big stuff and put aside the petty bickering. I imagine the folks in Mobile can be as fixated on turf battles and personal agendas as anyone. It is still Alabama. But whatever they're doing in Alabama and Mobile, Corpus Christi needs to learn from them.

Many of things that worked for Mobile can work for us. EADS, and now other European firms, are contemplating moving more of their operations to the United States. The falling dollar actually makes it attractive to the Europeans to build in the United States where most of their customers are anyway. The fact that the South is a right-to-work region sweetens the attraction. All those factors fit Corpus Christi, too, and we have a port. And we have a university and plenty of open land, if not for aircraft, maybe for turbine assembly, or whatever else is attractive.

Those factors -- available space, a port, an airfield, transportation, water -- that can attract an economic opportunity like the builder of Airbus are the easiest things to figure out. The hardest to achieve is the unity of purpose that it takes to get an Airbus, over a protracted period, with elected officials, community leaders and a public that stay on board throughout. Or we can continue to fight about the value of incentives, bicker about who sits where, or push back because growth means more traffic or gripe about unfair competition for the locals. We can choose.


Publicly-funded labor-activism in SoCal

As part of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE), the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education plays a unique role as a bridge between the university and the labor community in Southern California.

This role has grown in the past few years with the dramatic changes that have overtaken the Southern California economy. As part of the university, the Labor Center serves as an important source of information about unions and workers to interested scholars and students.

Through its extensive connections with unions and workers, the Labor Center also provides labor with important and clearly defined access to UCLA's resources and programs. An advisory committee comprised of about forty Southern California labor and community leaders (representing more than one million members in the public and private sectors) provides advice and support for the center.


Gov't-unions push health care cost spiral

For the past quarter-century the compact between Nevada taxpayers and government employees has been this: Work long enough for the state and when you retire, the taxpayers will subsidize your health benefits, often completely, for the rest of your life. But with medical costs soaring and people living longer, that deal could have dire financial consequences for the state in the coming decades, deeply cutting into funds that pay for education, transportation and other basic services.

To continue subsidizing health benefits for retired state workers, Nevada will need to come up with $3.3 billion over the next 30 years, according to the state’s Public Employee Benefits Program.

Former Gov. Kenny Guinn calls the state retiree benefit plan “the leading item to be focused on in the next legislative session, due to the magnitude of the financial consequences it has on the state of Nevada.”

Four years ago the state spent $14.3 million to subsidize retirees’ health benefits. This fiscal year, the state expects to spend $36.6 million, and the cost will rise to $40 million next year.

That’s still a small percentage of the state’s overall $7.8 billion budget this year. But if nothing is done, the cost for retiree benefits would hit $200 million (in today’s dollars) annually in 15 years and $600 million a year in 30 years — money that could otherwise go to roads, schools, prisons and other programs.

Put another way, the $3.3 billion is nearly the amount of money the state estimates is needed to complete 10 major transportation projects in Nevada.

Recruitment problems

Possible reforms of the Public Employee Benefits Program face formidable political hurdles. Legislators say it already is difficult to recruit state employees and regard the benefit as a binding promise made to workers — even though they are legally allowed to change it.

But unless taxpayers want to spend more and more each year on retired workers’ health benefits — coverage that many nongovernment retirees are unable to afford for themselves and their families — experts say change is necessary.

Namely, the state will either have to start putting aside massive amounts of money for the future costs or consider reducing retirees’ benefits.

Nevada is not alone in grappling with retired government workers’ health benefits, a fact made clear by new accounting rules that compel governments to reveal those programs’ future costs.

“The vast majority of other states are in bad shape regarding those obligations,” said Richard Greene, co-author of a study conducted for the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Center on the States.

In Nevada local governments and their employees also face a question about retirement health care benefits. Legislation passed in 2003 allowed local government workers to join the state retirement system, and about 6,000 have. Legislation passed last year, though, cuts off that benefit for local government employees who do not retire by the end of 2008.

Most local governments have no plans to offer a subsidy, but will have to continue reimbursing the state for any of their employees who join the state retirement plan.

“At this moment, we’re headed to a national pressure point,” said Jane McAlevey, executive director of the Service Employees International Union Nevada, which represents Clark County employees.

She said losing the ability to let employees retire with health benefits could cause Southern Nevada governments to “face a serious brain drain.”

All of this underlines a central public policy debate: What do employees who work for government deserve when they retire?

Private sector makes cuts

The private sector has been slashing health benefits for retirees for at least two decades. In 1988, 66 percent of employers with more than 200 workers offered health benefits to retirees. By 2007 that number had dropped by half, meaning only about one in three large private companies now offers health benefits to its retirees, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

In contrast, 80 percent of state and local governments last year offered health benefits to retirees, according to Kaiser.

So while private sector workers have seen their benefits cut even as costs rise, Nevada state employees who retire after 20 years pay little or no premium for their health benefits.

“At some point, citizens will be asked to pay more taxes to provide these benefits, and these citizens won’t have the ability to pay for these benefits themselves,” said Carole Vilardo, president of the Nevada Taxpayers Association.

The state subsidizes retired workers based on years of service. An employee who retires after 20 years, for example, pays nothing for health insurance, but one with 15 years’ service must pay $125 a month for a health plan.

Private companies long ago foresaw the increasing costs of providing benefits for retirees. Beholden to shareholders and the bottom line, the companies began rolling back that benefit, said Katherine Barrett, co-author of the Pew study.

“There has been a very gradual ebbing of health benefits from companies,” she said.

Market forces pressing in

Until recently governments did not have to report future health coverage costs. And because governments are not in the business of making money, they are often slow to respond to market forces such as rising health costs and people living longer, said Jonathan Williams, director of tax and fiscal policy for the American Legislative Exchange Council, a think tank that favors limited government.

“A lot of folks in government service don’t think they need to respond,” Williams said. “But government ought to share in the sacrifice during economic downturns, the same as businesses. They should not be exempt from sharing the pain.”

State workers, unions and their legislative allies acknowledge that the divide between public and private benefits has been widening. But with an already high number of uninsured in the state, they reason, government shouldn’t contribute to the problem.

“It would not be in the state’s interest to cut off people’s health insurance,” Sen. Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, said. The uninsured are forced to go to high-cost providers such as emergency rooms to get health care.

“If you squeeze the balloon in one place, it has to come up someplace else,” she said. Nevada’s predicament, she said, highlights why there should be a “national solution” to address health care.

Many retired state employees, however, could buy their own private insurance or rely on Medicare once they qualify. Currently, when retirees qualify for Medicare, the state plan supplements that coverage.

But state workers say their salaries are, in some cases, lower than those in the private sector. Health benefits and pension plans give employees an incentive to take government jobs and stay.

Indeed, the health insurance subsidy was born in 1983, when the state could not afford to give state employees a raise, said Roger Maillard, president of the retiree chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 4041, which represents state workers. Instead, the state offered to subsidize health care when employees retired.

Changing those benefits now, Maillard said, would be changing the rules midgame.

“If you give something up, you never get it back, and in about five minutes the public will forget employees ever gave something up,” said Maillard, who retired more than a decade ago after working for 30 years for the state.

Maillard, a database administrator, said he could have made more in the private sector with his work in computers. But he stuck with the state job for the stability and the benefits. Without those benefits, he and others said, the state would have a hard time recruiting workers.

State employees earn significantly less than city and county employees, said Dennis Mallory, chief of staff of the state workers union.

Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, a frequent critic of government employees’ compensation, said the state has an obligation to provide health benefits for retirees who don’t qualify for Medicare. State employees hired before 1987 did not pay into Medicare and don’t qualify.

“They worked for us, and very clearly, they’re dependent on the good will of their employer, who are the people of this state,” he said. “After that, it gets murkier.”

So far, he said, there is a lack of awareness about the growing financial strain to the state among constituents that would force legislators to take action.

“There’s probably a disbelief that we are going to be held accountable,” Beers said. “Really, it was little more than an arcane budget committee item in the last session. At some point, we’re going to have to have a public policy debate.”

Some ideas already are out there.

Proposals going nowhere

In 2005, Guinn proposed cutting off the promised subsidy for new hires, but that idea has not gained traction in Carson City. Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said although the Senate was inclined to consider that option, the Assembly, which has a Democratic majority, was not.

Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, the assistant majority leader, said he is worried about how changing retirees’ health benefits might affect Nevada’s ability to recruit workers.

“If you take the benefit out all the way, for the lowest-paid government employees in the state, you’re going to have recruiting costs, training costs,” Conklin said. “It’s already tough to find people to fill jobs.”

So what should the state do with the 26,500 employees, including those at universities, and the 7,100 state retirees already in the benefit system?

Legislative leaders from both parties have failed to present specific proposals to address the state’s unfunded liabilities.

Recently, troubling signs have emerged for governments that have failed to address the retiree questions.

‘Difficult choices’ ahead

Vallejo, Calif., outside San Francisco, was on the brink of bankruptcy in part because of ballooning costs for police and firefighter retiree benefits. A last-minute deal averted bankruptcy, but the city of 120,000 still faces service cuts.

In New Jersey, Gov. Jon Corzine has proposed eliminating 3,000 state workers and drastically raising tolls on highways, in part because of health benefits and pensions promised to retirees.

And federal auditors presented a report to Congress this year that warned many states have failed to set aside enough money for retiring employees’ health costs. It urged changes that will require “difficult choices” in public policy.

States across the country have promised at least $2.73 trillion in pension, health care and other retirement benefits for state employees, according to the Pew survey.

Only recently have new rules required governments to account for the bills for health care costs for retirees. Some think that if questions about how to fund the future costs are left unanswered, Wall Street lenders could take notice and borrowing money could become more expensive.

“It’s important to put into perspective that this is a national dilemma,” Pew study co-author Greene said.

State setting money aside

Nevada is among the state governments that have begun to set aside money for their retiree plans. Last year the Legislature accepted Gov. Jim Gibbons’ proposal to set aside $28 million this fiscal year and $25 million next year to pay for future costs. That money will be invested and used i to reduce yearly costs.

“Gov. Gibbons did that with the understanding we’d have to come back and look at the benefit package,” said Andrew Clinger, the state’s budget director. “We’ll be looking at this from a policy standpoint, to see if this is something that we can continue to afford to provide.”

The Idaho Legislature is considering legislation that would remove retired state employees from the state plan once they become eligible for Medicare.

Nevada state staffers, led by Leslie Johnstone, director of the Public Employee Benefits Program, have prepared detailed analyses on the potential effects of policy changes. The possible changes being reviewed include eliminating benefits for new hires, requiring more years of service before government employees qualify for the health coverage and reductions in or caps on the subsidy.

Assemblyman Conklin said “everything is on the table.” Beers, like others, expects decisions to be made by the 2009 Legislature.

Today, however, it is easier to find people against possible remedies than it is to find anyone advocating specific fixes. Still, experts say one thing is clear: Something will have to be done.

“If you don’t do anything, eventually the costs of supporting these post-retirement health care benefits will drive out the capacity to pay for other things citizens hold important, like education, highways, bridges,” Greene said.

“And the longer you let the bill sit on the desk, the more expensive this is going to be.”


UAW-Volvo strikers quit picketing to vote

The strikers at Volvo voted on a new deal Saturday. Over at the plant, the “Strike” signs were still there, but the picket lines were abandoned. “They suspended pickets for 24 hours until they get an agreement over whether it’s ratified or not ratified,” said Terry Muncy.

With a proposed new deal in their hands, the workers left New River Community College, where bargaining committees reviewed the tentative agreement with all the men and women.

Brandon Fisher said the past 46 days were a roller coaster ride. “Cold, rainy, not good, but we got what we wanted,” said Fisher.

At the union building, hundreds of cars come and go all day, where the workers voted on the contract. Deonna Martin said the overall reaction from everybody is good. She said, “I think it’ll be a go.”

And the ballots were very straight-forward. One worker said they check “yes” if they agree with the new contract, or “no” if they don’t.

For Keith Allen, he’s been ready to go back to work.“Doesn’t seem like a bad contract, seems pretty good,” Allen said.

For the 2,400 workers on strike, they said the biggest issue for them is health and safety on the job.

The voting poll closes Saturday night at 8. If the workers vote in favor of the new deal, one worker said they won’t start work until March 24


'Like a union thing, without having a union.'

Employees at the Figaro's Pizza restaurant at 740 Ocean Beach Highway in Longview (WA) shut the doors early Friday because their paychecks didn't clear at the bank. The doors were locked about 5 p.m. Friday, according to employees. The normal closing time is 9 p.m. A sign was posted outside reading, "Closed due to owner not paying employees."

A second Figaro's, located at 3208 Ocean Beach Highway, remained open Friday night. Both franchises are owned by Centralia businessman Bob Fuller, who owns a third Figaro's in his hometown.

Jeremy Hefferman, 34, one of about 10 employees at the closed restaurant, said he's had trouble cashing five out of his last six paychecks because the Figaro's account was overdrawn. The paycheck would clear within two or three days, but employees were concerned about overdrawing their own checking accounts during the delay, he said.

The employees are willing to come back to work as soon as they're assured of getting reliable paychecks, said Hefferman, a Woodland resident.

"It's mostly just to send a message to the owner. It's kind of like a union thing, without having a union," he said.

Fuller said Friday night that he's been behind on payroll, but he's made sure all employees have been paid.

During the December floods that decimated Lewis County, the Centralia Figaro's sustained about $95,000 worth in water damage with no insurance, Fuller said.

"Things have been a little bit tight," said Fuller, who also is a member of the Centralia School Board.

Fuller learned about the early closure from a Daily News reporter. He said he was driving to Longview on Friday night to try to meet with employees.

Fuller said he is selling the two Longview restaurants so he can focus on restoring the Centralia location. He said he has met with a potential buyer, and he hopes to complete the deal within the next couple months.


Union donnybrook feeds forces of division

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama today lamented the rhetorical skirmishes that have recently turned the Democratic presidential campaign into a contest over race and gender. "The forces of division have started to raise their ugly heads again," he said at a town hall meeting in a high school in Plainfield, Ind.

Obama did not mention by name his rival, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, or the recent string of barbs traded between the two campaigns. "I'm not here to cast blame or point fingers," he said.

In the last week alone, Obama distanced himself from his longtime pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright for saying Clinton, being a woman of privilege in a country run by whites, could never understand blacks. During the same week, Clinton accepted the resignation of former Rep. Geraldine Ferraro of New York after saying that she believed Obama would never had gotten this far in the presidential race if he had not been African American.

"We've got a tragic history when it comes to race in this country," he said, noting "pent-up anger and mistrust and bitterness." But, he added, "I continue to believe that this country wants to move beyond these kinds of things."

Noting his own ethnic background -- his mother was a white Kansan, his father a black Kenyan -- Obama said: "As somebody who was born into a diverse family, as somebody who has little pieces of America all in me, I will not allow us to lose this moment." As the crowd came to its feet shouting, "Yes we can, yes we can," Obama said that it was important to speak up against inflammatory words like those of his former pastor, but equally important to come together.

"It is within our power to join together, to truly make a United States of America," he said. "That's the only way that we're going to deliver on the big issues we're facing in this country. We cannot solve healthcare divided. We cannot create an economy that works for everybody divided. We cannot fight terrorism divided. We cannot care for our veterans divided. We have to come together."

Clinton meanwhile spent the day campaigning in delegate-rich Pennsylvania -- which holds its primary April 22 - marching in St. Patrick's Day parades in Pittsburgh and Scranton. In Pittsburgh, she marched for two miles on streets lined with voters, some bearing signs that said "Clinton Country," others saying "O'Bama."

Wearing a green scarf bearing the slogan of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Clinton told the crowd, "May the luck of the Irish be with us all."

Meeting with voters, Clinton derided President Bush's response to the mounting economic crisis. "Too little too late is not an economic strategy but that seems to be the best that President Bush can offer," she said, adding that she thinks she has a better record on energy independence and other economic issues than either Obama or the presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain (R-Ariz.). "Look past their words and examine their deeds," she said, noting that both had supported the administration's energy plan. "There's a better way to go."

Clinton also threw her support behind a new plan being negotiated among Michigan Democrats to hold a do-over primary in June.

"It needs to get resolved and hopefully Michigan by the end of this week will have done that," Clinton told reporters on her campaign plane between stops in Pennsylvania. "I think they are moving in an appropriate direction to have a re-vote."

Michigan and Florida ran afoul of rules set by the Democratic National Committee when they held their primaries in January rather than in March. In Michigan, where Obama had taken his name off the ballot, Clinton won 55% to 40% for uncommitted. DNC Chairman Howard Dean punished the two states by decreeing that none of their delegates would be seated at the convention.

Now, Michigan Democrats are talking about a do-over primary to be held in early June and the state legislature is expected to consider the issue next week.

On another front, both campaigns were in Iowa today, courting the 14 delegates won by former Sen. John Edwards during the Jan. 3 caucuses. In each of the state's 99 counties, delegates are being elected to go to the conventions and the Edwards delegates are up for grabs.


Teachers union members face nuisance charges

Five officials and members of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe who were beaten last week by militants of the ruling ZANU-PF party then arrested by police were booked Tuesday on charges of creating a criminal nuisance, then released again.

Those five trade unionists, with four others, were alleged to have tossed flyers at the Harare Province headquarters of the ruling party in central Harare, provoking their alleged seizure and severe beating by irate members of the ruling party.

Some of the teachers union members required hospitalization.

PTUZ Secretary General Raymond Majongwe, National Coordinator Oswald Madziva, and union member Bernard Shoko were among those booked on nuisance charges following an interrogation.

Majongwe, whose union has been on strike for a month, told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that it was ironic that he and the others should face criminal charges when they suffered beatings at the hands of ZANU-PF militants.


Non-union teachers to go out on strike

English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers at the San Francisco Institute of English (3301 Balboa St. at 34th Ave.) will go on strike starting Monday, March 17 at 8:30 am to demand livable wages and the return of health care benefits. The teachers have not had a cost-of-living increase to their wages in over 12 years.

And in 2004, following changes in Homeland Security procedures that negatively impacted student enrollment, the teachers' health care benefits were taken away with the promise that they would be restored once enrollment returns to pre-September 11, 2001 levels. Enrollment is back up, but the teachers have yet to see their health care returned.

Conditions in the private/non-profit ESL industry have been declining for years, made worse because this sector has traditionally been non-union. Management at the San Francisco Institute of English have refused to negotiate, and the teachers feel like they have no choice but to strike. They are asking the community to support the strike by joining the picket line and by donating to their strike fund.


What have the unions ever done for us?

Related Posts with Thumbnails