Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Obama's Labor Day photo op. Philly teachers may strike.

Obama Labor Day Photo Op
If you Google Obama's Labor Day Speech, the first news articles that come up will be about his intentions to lob missiles into Damascus. His actual Labor Day speech was little more than empty rhetoric and a hard-hat-wearing photo op with a few real factory workers. None of the pro-labor initiatives promised back in 2008 have even been mentioned again and unions are in the weakest position in decades with right-wing governors successfully pushing so-called  "right-to-work" legislation in dozens of states.

The New York Times reports that there have been virtually no net full-time jobs added in the U.S. over the past three years — since the depth of the recession. A key reason the unemployment rate has declined is because so many people have stopped looking for work; adult work-force participation is near historic lows. The vast majority of jobs being created are part time, often without benefits. The U.S. Labor Department reports the average workweek is now less than 33 hours in several huge industries: leisure/hospitality, education, health services and retail trade.
In the classical terminology of Marx, a large reserve army of labor reduces both the individual and the collective bargaining power of workers, enabling capital to take a bigger piece of the economic pie. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that between 2007 and 2012, wages fell for the lowest 70 percent of all wage earners, despite productivity growth of 7.7 percent. -- Economix
Last night's meeting. (Inquirer)
Trying to hold the line are the teachers and other public sector unions. Last night, thousands of teachers packed Philadelphia's Liacouras Center at Temple University’s to voice their opposition to any more pay cuts. Thousand of Philly teachers and support staff have been laid off and the rest are now working without a contract. Strike rumors abound.

The district is seeking pay cuts of five to 13 percent, cutbacks in health care, a longer school day and flexibility to assign teachers to schools without regard for seniority. Sounds like Chicago, Detroit, L.A....

1 comment:

  1. Mike, I seriously think the Syria issue is almost one of "wag the dog."
    Let's get our heads into the terrible, inhumane gassing in Syria and out of the terrible, inhumane treatment of students (such as pushing them into already overcrowded schools, making them walk 6-8 blocks through dangerous territory, having non-certified, know-little-or-nothing TFAers for teachers--in other words, killing OUR children in the U.S.--mind and spirit). AND--the worst of all--let's forget--even more--about POVERTY in this, the richest nation in the world.
    But, hey, this Syria situation will be GREAT for the military-industrial complex--Halliburton needs more money! (& since citizens have been getting wise to the newer education-industrial complex, perhaps the thought is to go a little bit easy on the $$$ Pear$on is making, & send those dollars to m-i companies!) And the latest--there is a PROMISE that the attacks will be targeted and time-limited! Yeah, right--how many times have we heard that before
    (Iraq, the Gulf War, Viet Nam...)?
    How many more American soldiers need to die in endless wars?
    And we're back to the old saying, "Wouldn't it be nice if the armed forces had to have bake sales and the schools would get all the money they needed?"
    Except, now, the schools that are getting the money (charters)
    are killing our public schools and, in that sense, are killing OUR kids.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.