Saturday, November 28, 2020
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Verizon’s Windfall Profits Should be Their Employees Gain as Well

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For a company that posted revenue of $107.8 billion in 2009, Verizon appears determined to increase their profit margins even further at the expense of its middle and working class employees stretching from Massachusetts and Virginia.

In Virginia, thousands of Verizon employees are set to strike beginning August 7, the day their contract with Verizon expires. The Verizon unions that will be striking consist of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).  

I am a proud union teacher

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edusolidarityIMAGE

I stand with my unionized sisters and brothers, especially in Wisconsin, but everywhere where teachers and unions are under attack.

I am the lead union representative for more than 100 teachers in my school.

Today, all across the country, teachers are blogging their support for our unionized sisters and brothers in Wisconsin, and you can follow some of the results of that at EDUSolidarity

Today I want to tell you why I am proud to be a union member as well as a teacher.

I teach my students one period a day.  We have 9, since some students take a zero period at 7:15 in the morning to squeeze in an extra course.  Most of my students are sophomores, with at least 6 courses besides mine.  I am only one of those responsible for helping them learn.

Anti-Union Busting Rally

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After ramming through his legislation denying most collective bargaining rights to public workers by using questionable maneuvers, and after approving actions in the Wisconsin Senate denying voting rights to recalcitrant (but returned) Democratic Senators, Governor Walker of Wisconsin and his Republican cronies deserted Wisconsin for a fund raiser in the District of Columbia, i.e., Washington, D.C. It appeared to be the action of a paid puppet running to his masters for a pat on the head, and bonus: "Good dog, job well done! Here's a treat for a good dog."

The hound and his masters had an unexpected welcome in Washington. In the lobby of the building where Walker was meeting his appreciative corporate masters, a boisterous crowd gathered to harass the self-satisfied plutocrats. It included not only Wisconsinites but a contingent from the Washington Metro area, in Solidarity. No report on whether or not the Governor and his masters even deigned to notice the protests. So far, anyway.

The Wrong Fight over the Government Workforce

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Cross-posted at Daily Kos

You've got to hand it to the Repubs - they never miss an opportunity to push their agenda as far as (in)humanly possible.  So, no surprise that they are using the current obsession with the deficit to simultaneously turn government workers into scapegoats and crush unions through a divide-and-conquer strategy aimed at creating tensions between public and private sector employees.  Strategically brilliant - and utterly callous and cynical - as usual.

One of the many disturbing things about this fight is the fact that neither Repubs or Dems - nor anyone else - is talking about what really needs to be done to make our government work more cost-effectively and efficiently.  Based on my own experiences working in government, there are two fundamental, but fixable, problems that cause the most waste in the public sector:

* Spectacularly lousy management, and
* The failure to reward the best performers and get rid of the worst.

So, while the Republican effort to demonize public employees, and take away their rights to defend themselves through collective bargaining, is wrong-headed, verging on evil, the appropriate Democrat response would not be to say that government and such unions, are right on all particulars, and have nothing that needs to be fixed.  In my experience, the problem with such unions is that they tend to treat all employees equally and therefore treat proposals for merit pay and attempts to make it easier to get rid of dead wood with undue suspicion.  

The Right to Your Labor

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Some argue: you have no claim to the product of your labor; it's the property of your employer. After all, the employer owns the job. And without the job, labor has no value. So follows the views of Governor McDonnell and apparently Senator Warner and DPVA Chairman Moran. Slavery redux.

All of them support the oxymoronic "Right to Work" lobby; a movement rearward to the age of fiefdoms. This is a Virginia issue for any of a number of reasons. Some:

  • Our Right to Work Laws foster a hostile environment for labor
  • Unions protect a very small portion of the labor force
  • Wages for skilled labor are lower than in states without the "Right to Work"
  • Skilled labor migrates to higher wages and out of Virginia
  • Democratic leadership kowtows to Republican interests above labor's interests

A Daily Kos post this past Sunday laid out an argument that the mega-have's are mounting a final assault on the middle-have's. It wipes away the misconception that the "business-friendly" right-to-work states receive economic benefit in employment growth and economic gains.

But though the middle class will likely diminish as a result of this consolidation of wealth, the attack is not only against it but also against anything of value they can attach; even that of the little-haves. The Republicans have grown as ignorant about production and business as the anti-capitalists they so deride. Two sides of the same coin. They are fostering a soviet style business climate that sees wealth as a zero sum game; the only way to increase it is by taking someone else's. Redistribution of wealth private sector style; today characterized by glossy grift.

We are a union household

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Why?  Because we believe in fairness.

Not only for ourselves, but for all who work.

Because we believe in the dignity of work.

Because we both understand something about history, including economic history.

She is Harvard, Junior Phi Beta Kappa, Marshall Scholar, M. Litt. from Oxford, Ph.D. from George Washington.

I am BA from Haverford, two masters degrees, ABD in Educational Administration and Policy Studies.

We both work with our minds.

She is on her local's negotiating team.

I am my building's union representative.

Had we any doubt, two pieces in today's Washington Post might help convince us.

An incredibly important speech on education by Diane Ravitch

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That is a brief clip of Diane Ravitch addressing the Representative Assembly of the National Education Association on July 6, where she was receiving an award as the 2010 "Friend of Education."  

Please keep reading.