Supreme Court to Take Up Anti Union Case

English: The current United States Supreme Cou...

English: The current United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States, in 2006. Photo-Wikipedia.

by Laura Clawson. Labor at Daily Kos

The Supreme Court partially pulled its last punch against public employees and their unions, but it’s coming back for another shot. In 2014, the court limited its anti-union decision in Harris v. Quinn to only affect home care workers (some of the most vulnerable, exploited workers out there) rather than all public sector workers. That decision allowed anti-union home care workers to get the benefits of union membership without paying their fair share, thereby forcing their union-member co-workers to pay to represent them.
Now the court has said it will hear a similar case involving teachers, with anti-union teachers suing to get out of paying their share of union activities that directly benefit them.

Major labor leaders expressed dismay over the court’s decision to hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which challenges a 1977 ruling that had said such fees were constitutional as long as they’re used for “collective-bargaining, contract administration, and grievance-adjustment purposes.” Continue reading

Columnists seek to shape opinion in discussing school reform

Duane Campbell

Duane Campbell

The Paucity of Dan Walters’ Commentary on School Issues

The column by Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee entitled “California’s School Wars Heat Up” in the print edition for Dec.20, and entitled  “Powerful Factions Go to War Over Direction of California Schools,” http://www.sacbee.com/2013/12/20/6015661/dan-walters-powerful-factions.html  in the on line version  seriously and deliberatively misinforms.  Walters’s columns are reprinted in newspapers throughout the state.

He frames the conflict between the School Establishment ( school administrators, elected officials, teachers’ unions]  vs. the “School Reformers”.   These are indeed two of the powerful factions competing in the California State Capitol, but not at all the complete story.

To understand the distortion lets see who these “reformers “  see the Democracy and Education Institute  https://sites.google.com/site/democracyandeducationorg

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Tax increase to fund schools and social services divides California unions

by Duane Campbell

DSC08551

DSC08551 (Photo credit: Berkeley Unified School District)

California, like most states,  needs additional revenue to fund schools and to invest in the future.  A tax plan known as  The Millionaires Tax has been   proposed by the California Federation of Teachers and the Courage Campaign to increase revenues to pay for vital services.   It was assigned the official title “Tax To Benefit Public Schools, Social Services, Public Safety, And Road Maintenance,” on Friday, Feb.2,   by California  Attorney General Kamala Harris.

A report of the California Budget Project notes that  “measured as a share of family income, California’s lowest-income families pay the most in taxes. The bottom fifth of the state’s families, with an average income of $12,600, spent 11.1 percent of their income on state and local taxes.  In comparison, the wealthiest 1 percent, with an average income of $2.3 million, spent 7.8 percent of their income on state and local taxes.”

The Millionaires  Tax  plan, of  the California Federation of Teachers and the Courage Campaign would raise taxes by three percentage points on income above $1 million and five percentage points on income over  $2 million.    Analysts say the proposal would generate $4 billion to $6 billion annually.  Signature gathering for the plan will begin within weeks. Continue reading

California schools in crisis, Unions lead the fight back

Duane Campbell

by Duane Campbell

The financial crisis is hitting most of the nation’s public schools including those in most states- particularly California, Texas, New York, Illinois, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida,  and others.   In California as of 2011, 30,000 teaches have already been laid  off as federal stimulus money runs out, and another 15,000 face possible lay offs depending upon what happens in the state budget conflict. More than 4.1 Billion $ has been cut from California school budgets in the last three years as a consequence of the national economic crisis and there will be at least a  $2.1B additional cut under the best case scenario.

State revenues for schools are in crisis around the nation.  School spending is expected to  bottom out  over the next two years as  states and districts run out of $100 billion in federal stimulus aid for education passed when Democrats controlled the Congress. The stimulus money saved about 368,000 school-related jobs during the 2009-2010 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Most school funding comes from the state and local levels.   Only about 11 % come from federal funds Continue reading

California Teachers arrested for demanding adequate school funding

Sacramento Teacher arrests

CTA Members Refuse to Leave Capitol and Demand Passage of Tax Extensions to Keep Deeper Cuts Away from Schools, Colleges and Essential Public Services

SACRAMENTO – CTA President David A. Sanchez and 25 other educators took a stand for students this evening by refusing to leave the offices of Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton and Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway.  The educators were peacefully arrested by the California Highway Patrol following a fourth day of actions in the State Capitol. The following statement can be attributed to CTA President David A. Sanchez:

“Today, I took a stand for the millions of California students who are being robbed of their future. I refused to step aside while California’s public schools and colleges go without the vital resources they need. Our schools and colleges have been cut $20 billion in the past three years, and without action by California lawmakers, will endure another $4.1 in cuts next year. Enough is enough. Our students deserve better and our state can do better.

“The Republican’s proposal from today shows they are clearly out of touch with what California students need, and is built of the same gimmicky principals that have plagued California’s budget process for years. While I’m glad they have issued a press release promising to protect public education funding, I’m insulted that they think their plan will do that. It’s a deliberately misleading and tardy scheme designed to trick voters into thinking it’s a real solution. Just look at the numbers: a $14.5 billion deficit can’t be erased by $2.5 billion in unexpected one-time revenue. Continue reading

California Teachers Union begins “State of Emergency” campaign

David Sanchez in Sacramento

by Duane Campbell

Almost 800 teachers and their supporters rallied in Sacramento on Monday  and marched to the state capitol to demand that the legislature pass a budget that adequately funds the schools. Scores of protests, rallies, teacher sit-ins and grade-ins, and town halls are part of a statewide “State of Emergency” campaign week of actions  launched Monday by the California Teachers Association (NEA) CTA and a coalition of all of organized labor and parent supporters calling on the Legislature to extend current taxes now to avoid the catastrophe of an all-cuts budget.

David Sanchez in Sacramento

“We are living in a state of emergency,” said David A. Sanchez, president of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association. “Educators, parents and community leaders are fighting back against state budget cuts that are decimating our schools, public safety and health care services. To protect essential public services, the Legislature must finish the job of resolving the state budget crisis by extending current tax rates legislatively. Time is running out for our students and our communities.”David Sanchez in Sacramento

Educators are fed up with endless cuts and will be holding daily sit-ins at the Capitol building in Sacramento. In the past three years, K-12 and higher education have been cut by more than $20 billion. An all-cuts state budget would add another $4 billion in education cuts, the state’s nonpartisan legislative analyst warns. CTA supported the governor’s call for a June special election to extend taxes, but Republican  lawmakers hijacked the process and blocked that vote. The time to protect the revenue we have is now.

Events this week will   show the impacts of budget cuts on students and our communities.  Rallies will be held in  5  California cities on Friday, culminating in a march on the capitol and a potential occupation of the California Capitol.

The campaign website is www.castateofemergency.com and features events planned statewide, along with blogs, videos and news coverage about cuts and the growing crisis in California.

What is similar to the occupations in Wisconsin and the demonstrations in Ohio and Indiana? Continue reading

Thousands Take Stand in Sacramento for Workers’ Rights in Wisconsin


By Steve Smith, California Labor Federation

When Wisconsin’s new right-wing Governor decided to make it his personal mission to eliminate the rights of teachers, nurses, bus drivers and other public servants, he probably thought it would be a cakewalk. After all, Gov. Scott Walker has a Republican-controlled legislature that is on board with his radical plan to eliminate collective bargaining for public sector workers. What he didn’t count on was the extraordinary resolve of working people to stop his assault on our values. For more than a week, tens of thousands have protested at the Wisconsin Capitol. The fight back spread to Ohio, Indiana and other states where politicians are attempting to strip workers of their voice. And it didn’t stop there. All over the country, workers are standing in solidarity to beat back these attacks.

Last night, the spirit of solidarity was tangible in Sacramento, as more than 3,000 workers – teachers, Teamsters, nurses, ironworkers, janitors and many others – descended on the State Capitol to send a message loud and clear across California and the country: An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.

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Thousands Rally in Sacramento

 

Sacramento Rally

by Duane Campbell Updated 2/23.

Over 2500 union members and supporters rallied at the State Capitol in Sacramento  on Feb. 22,2011, in a candle light vigil to support the working people in Wisconsin in their struggle to defend their  union rights. The financial crisis that began  2007  is an assault on organized  labor, working people, and our democracy.  To date the corporate class is winning.

While Wall Street has recovered and returned to profitability, working people continue to suffer  15 million unemployed with at least 10 million more under employed.   It is more than a crisis – the reality is that the financial class has looted the U.S. economy.  The Oligarchs  took 13 trillion dollars  out of the economy and caused 4 million people to lose their homes and  another 4.5 million to fall into foreclosure.   Now they want you and I to pay for their greed by forcing budget cuts on the states.

In 2010-2011 the crisis is hitting state and local governments hard.  The AFL-CIO is tracking this assault at http://www.aflcio.org/issues/states/.    Responding the  messaging of the Right many liberals stayed home on election day. Republicans and the Tea Party  won a majority in the House, took control of several state houses, elected governors, and now dominate the main steam media with their messages.  Conservative forces, the Republicans, the Tea Party, and others use the crisis in the states to launch aggressive campaigns against public sector unions and the salaries and pensions of public sector workers.

The Sacramento response, like rallies in other states condemned the anti union campaigns of Republican governors and legislators.  In Wisconsin Governor Walker’s immediate attack is aimed directly at some 200,000 public workers in Wisconsin.

As Rose Ann DeMoro Executive Director,  California Nurses Association said in a well distributed letter,

“Working people did not create the recession or the budgetary crisis facing federal, state and local governments, and there can be no more concessions, period.

It should be apparent that the right wants to scapegoat workers and their unions, and is trying to exploit the economic crisis for an all-out assault on unions, public employees, and all working people in a campaign that is funded by right-wing, corporate billionaires like the Koch brothers.

Who caused the economic crisis? Banks, Wall Street speculators, mortgage lenders, global corporations shifting jobs from the U.S. overseas. Continue reading

California education unions plan statewide protests on March 4

Capitol Building in Sacramento

Image via Wikipedia

March and Rally for Education
IT IS UP TO US !

JOIN THE SACRAMENTO RALLY FOR CALIFORNIA’S FUTURE! 11AM. North Steps. State Capitol.

Students and Faculty will march to demand a decent budget for California’s schools and universities. Protests will occur around the state, at universities and work sites at the Capitol in Sacramento. Please join us.

In the last two years California’s k-12 schools have received over a $16 Billion cut back. California presently ranks 45th of the states in per pupil spending and last among the states in class size. Now, the Governor proposes to reduce k-12 spending by another $2.4 Billion. The U.C. and the CSU campuses have suffered over a $2 billion cut while tuition and fees were increased over 30%. Classes have been cut, graduation delayed, and faculty dismissed. They must not be cut more. We must work together to save public education. Continue reading

Unions Divided on California Propositions and Budget Crisis

By Duane Campbell

The California Teachers Association (NEA) says vote yes;  the California Faculty Association,  California Federation of Teachers, the Nurses Association and SEIU — among others — urge a no vote on Prop. 1A, one of several budget bills in the May 19 special election.  We will soon receive an estimate from the Legislative Analyst’s office, but it appears that California is at least $21.3 billion behind at this time even with increased taxes and budget cuts.

California, and most other states, have a budget crisis as a result of the national economic crisis — significantly, a banking crisis. The robber barons of finance capital have stolen the money, they have looted the treasury and our pensions and now they want to return to business as usual without any significant reform of the economic system.  Just give them more tax payer money to bail out the banks. Continue reading