What about those funds for education from gambling proceeds? Well, we see already one county using the funds to pay for the transportation services from BWI to the casino and with the Baltimore casino we see the City pols already using taxpayer money to train casino staff.......that's the education these pols will give you with these gambling proceeds. So, the labor unions, the teacher's unions, the justice organizations that all worked to get gambling approved WERE ALL SCREWED BY BALTIMORE AND MARYLAND POLITICIANS. THIS IS WHY O'MALLEY AND RAWLINGS-BLAKE ARE MOVING TO NATIONAL POSITIONS......WHEN IT COMES TO CONNING THE PUBLIC FOR CORPORATE PROFITS.....THEY ARE TEAM PLAYERS!!!
Ever more seriously is the attack on our postal service. Third Way corporate democrats like Maryland's pols voted with the Republicans for policy designed to starve the Post Office of revenue.....killing it by taking its ability to compete with private services like FedX and UPS. So, policy like taking Postal meters and postage stamps away from the Post Office and allowing sales everywhere took away great revenue from the Post Office as it does foot traffic that would lead to mailing. Allowing private post offices to open when the need wasn't there all worked to take traffic away from the Post Office and place them with private carriers like UPS and FedX. DID WE NEED COMPETITION WITH THE POST OFFICE WHICH HAD US PAYING PENNIES TO SEND A LETTER UNTIL IT WAS FORCED TO COMPETE WITH PRIVATE PROFIT?
IT IS ALL ABOUT THE PROFIT, NOT THE SERVICE AND THAT IS WHY THEY ARE SYSTEMATICALLY KILLING THE POST OFFICE. The nail in the coffin was the policy of pre-paying employee pensions to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. Now, if you are making the Post Office compete with private companies that do not pre-pay their pensions are you really creating a fair and free market? Of course not, you are trying to kill a public service. THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS VOTED WITH REPUBLICANS TO CREATE THIS BURDEN THAT IS KILLING YOUR LAST METHOD OF PUBLIC COMMUNICATION!!!
How important is the fact that the post office is our only PUBLIC method of communication? IT IS HUGE!!!! Think about how you will be able to afford the rates if private industry is allowed to go without competition. We are seeing our phone bills become unbearable......we are seeing computer rates becoming unbearable......we will see our package rates become unbearable if the Post Office is not there. SO HOW WILL PEOPLE COMMUNICATE IF RATES ARE TOO HIGH? HOW LONG WILL GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIZE THE POOR?
THEY WILL NOT. JUST AS WITH ENERGY COSTS THESE SUBSIDIES TO THE POOR WILL END AND A VAST NUMBER OF PEOPLE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO HAVE ENERGY, HEALTH CARE, AND NOW COMMUNICATIONS ABILITY. WHO ARE THOSE POOR.......LOOK AT EGYPT AND GREECE TO SEE PROFESSIONALS OF ALL STRIPES AS POOR AS ANY!!!!!
Lastly today let's look at another professional class being driven into poverty as yet another democratic platform is crushed by Third Way corporate democrats. The teaching profession. University campuses have always been the place of democratic activism and free speech as tenured professors were able to speak freely against government corruption and tyranny. So, if you are building a corrupt and tyrannic society the first thing you want to do is get rid of the university campuses and those pesky academics........and that is what Third Way corporate democrats like O'Malley and Obama are doing. This is why universities and colleges are being filled with adjuncts from the business-world who are only connected to the college as a part-timer......it is why we are seeing tenured positions disappear as academics are now afraid to speak and are indeed silent as the greatest transition from free and democratic to corrupt and autocratic happens right before us. EVERYONE IS FEARFUL OF LOSING JOBS AT A PERIOD WHEN JOBS ARE BEING HELD DELIBERATELY SCARCE. EVEN FACEBOOK ENTRIES ARE KEPT CLEAN OF DEBATE AS THESE SOCIAL MEDIA ARE SURVEILLED TO AN INCH OF THEIR LIVES. This is deliberate silencing of political voice and academics are the foundation of political voice.
Below you'll see what is happening across the country with all levels of education......K-college. Teachers are being made paupers as their jobs are marginalized by manufactured budget cuts. Part-time, Teach for America, principals required to pay back salaries in order to finance their schools as they are in Baltimore.....all of this is disturbing and unacceptable and all driven by Obama, O'Malley, and Third Way corporate democrats across the country.
YOUR THIRD WAY POL IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY IMPOVERISHER. THEY KNOW THAT TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CORPORATE FRAUD WOULD PAY FOR ALL OF THE NEEDS OF STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS BUT THEY KEEP CUTTING PUBLIC SERVICES/PROGRAMS AS CORPORATIONS BECOME FABULOUSLY WEALTHY.
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!!
Working Without Pay January 18, 2013 - 3:00am By Colleen Flaherty
Inside Higher Ed
College food drives are usually organized by student groups aiming to serve needy off-campus populations. The one this week at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Michigan is different. It’s benefiting part-time faculty members who can’t make ends meet until their late paychecks arrive at the beginning of next month.
“This really came as surprise to a lot of people,” and the recent holidays and current tax season haven’t left many part-time faculty with a financial cushion, said Kelly O’Leary, part-time French and English instructor and co-president of the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Federation of Teachers, the part-time faculty union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers in Michigan. About 300 part-time instructors, many of whom were expecting to be paid on Tuesday as usual, won’t be paid until Feb. 1 due to administrative issues.
“We have a number of single moms trying to support kids,” O’Leary said. “I don’t think people understand that they’re below poverty wages.”
To help bridge the gap, the union launched the food drive on Jan. 11. Since then, it has been flooded with food donations and gift cards to Meijer supermarket, where faculty can buy more food, gas and prescriptions. “We’ve had part-time faculty coming out of the woodwork saying, ‘I’m a diabetic and I need to buy insulin,’ ” said the union's co-president, Catherine Barnard, a part-time psychology instructor. “At first, we didn’t even think about medication, but many of these people don’t have benefits.”
Because some part-time faculty have expressed shame at publicly accepting help, Barnard said she’s arranged via e-mail to meet part-time faculty in the parking lot or elsewhere on campus with donations. Most of the help has come from full-time faculty and part-time faculty with heavier course loads, and the drive is being promoted on the union's Facebook page, where O'Leary has posted a virtual "I am working without pay" button.
Kalamazoo Valley pays part-time faculty about $2,400 per course on a term-to-term basis, compared to about $10,000 per course for some full-time, permanent professors paid an annual salary (not taking into account other full-time faculty duties), Barnard said. (By way of comparison, a 2010 survey of non-tenure-track faculty members by the Coalition on the Academic Workforce showed the median compensation rate for adjuncts to be $2,700 per three-credit course.) Barnard estimated that most part-time faculty teach two or three courses on campus each semester, which, without picking up additional courses at other area institutions, would amount to an annual income of less than $15,000.
A union member notified leaders of the payday delay on Jan. 7, at the start of the semester. O’Leary said she attempted to meet with the administration to change the payday, to no avail (the union co-president said administrators blamed part-time faculty who were slow to turn in their semester paperwork and low staffing during the holiday period for the delay).
College officials reject the idea that the pay schedule should have taken part-time faculty by surprise. Michael Collins, vice president for student and college relations, said in an e-mail that the pay calendar was first posted on the college intranet in August 2012, and that full-time and part-time pay faculty pay schedules have differed from each other going as far back as 30 years (Kalamazoo Valley’s 129 full-time faculty were paid on Tuesday).
O’Leary disagreed with that statement, saying the part-time faculty pay date was included in the faculty calendar in an obscure place that did not show up on most people’s computer screens, and went missing from the calendar for prolonged periods during the fall semester. Additionally, she said, most faculty who expect their pay at a certain time each month don’t check the calendar to verify that it will be arriving. (In her nearly two decades of working at the college, she said pay had only been delayed once before, at the start of the fall 2011 semester. The union was formed shortly after.) She also pointed to state wage and earnings laws that guard against late payments after a routine pay schedule has been established by an employer, although such laws pertain to a biweekly or weekly pay schedule; the college typically pays faculty on the 1st and 15th of each month.
Although it’s not a permanent fix for part-time faculty, Nancy Beers, a part-time history instructor, said the drive has been welcome news to families such as hers, with Michigan’s tough job market (her husband was laid off last year and she’s picked up fewer courses this semester – four, compared to eight at three different campuses in the fall – than she would have liked).
“The only way we’ve made it [this month] is that we saved everything we could from last semester,” she said.
AS O'MALLEY SIGNS ON TO RACE TO THE TOP, HE REQUIRES SCHOOL TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS TO MEET ACCESSMENT REQUIREMENTS AND SALARY INCREASES BASED ON STUDENT PERFORMANCE. BUT AS WE HEAR AGAIN AND AGAIN, FUNDING ISN'T THERE.....A CITY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL TOLD ME SHE'S SCRATCHING FOR MONEY FOR TOILET PAPER. WE WERE TOLD THAT UNDERSERVED SCHOOLS WOULD GET HIGHER TEACHER PAY TO ATTRACT BEST TEACHERS.....WHAT WE SEE, JUST AS EXPECTED, THE HIGH PAY GOES TO THE WEALTHY COUNTIES WHILE THE UNDERSERVED SCHOOLS HAVE THE LOWEST PAY. AFFLUENT SCHOOLS ARE SUPPLEMENTED BY PRIVATE DONATIONS. NONE OF THESE POLICIES PRODUCE GOOD CLASSROOM PERFORMANCE, THEY ONLY MAKE TEACHING LESS ATTRACTIVE AS A CAREER.
City principals among lowest-paid school leaders in state School, union officials say new contract will make salaries more competitive City schools
CEO Andres Alonso, shown during a visit with The Sun's editorial board and reporters, has given the Baltimore system's principals more autonomy. (Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun / June 28, 2011)
By Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun 5:54 p.m. EST, February 2, 2012
YET THE QUASI-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION BELOW SOMEHOW GOT THESE SAME PRINCIPALS THAT WERE DESCRIBED AS THE LOWEST PAID IN THE STATE TO MAKE WHOPPING DONATIONS TO THEIR OWN SCHOOLS.......BASICALLY ERASING ANY INCREASE IN THE CONTRACTS MENTIONED ABOVE.
So the media is giving us the impression these school officials are being paid more when they are simply being made to give it back to keep their jobs (think about the Hispanic workers I spoke of who work in Baltimore's Enterprise Zones who told us they are paid a wage as demanded by Living Wage and Green Card laws and then forced to give back $5 an hour to keep their jobs) THIS IS REALLY EVIL PEOPLE AND IT IS ALL DRIVEN BY JOHNS HOPKINS AND THEIR QUASI-GOVERNMENTAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES/NON-PROFITS
Waverly School Principal-------$20,000
Barclay School Principal ----- $8,750
Guilford School Principal ----- $20,000
Margaret Brent School Principal ----$3,434
THE SCHOOL'S STAFF ARE ALSO EXPECTED TO DONATE AS THESE WILL BE MATCHING FUNDS FOR LARGER DONATIONS. REMEMBER, WE HAVE BUDGET DEFICITS BECAUSE OF MASSIVE CORPORATE FRAUD AND CORPORATE TAX BREAKS THAT HAVE THEM PAYING NOTHING......THIS IS THE PROBLEM AND THE PEOPLE ARE BEING MADE TO PAY THEIR WAGES IN DONATIONS AS WELL AS SEEING THEIR TAX REVENUE GIVEN TO THESE NGOs.......
THIS IS EVIL STUFF FOLKS!!!!!!
About FLBC The Family League of Baltimore City, Inc. is a quasi-governmental nonprofit organization that works with a range of partners to develop and implement initiatives that improve the well-being of Baltimore’s children, youth and families. The Family League’s work touches the lives of tens of thousands of Baltimore families each year.
The Family League is uniquely able to coordinate major initiatives, bring together a range of partners, and fashion new approaches to the city’s urgent problems.
HERE WE HAVE YET ANOTHER QUASI-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION DESIGNED TO FUNNEL PRIVATE MONEY TO DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS WITHOUT COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION AND WITH THE COMPLETE WISHES OF THE PEOPLE DONATING.....OR AT LEAST THE BIG DONORS AS WE SAW ABOVE, SOME OF THE LOW LEVEL DONORS ARE SIMPLY DONATING TO KEEP THEIR JOBS!!!!!
US Postal Service faces ruin without rescue from Congress, watchdog warns Inspector general David Williams says cash-strapped service, saddled with debt and low revenues, is in 'very serious trouble'
The USPS lost over $16bn last year, and has lost about $41bn over the past five years, according to estimates. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
The chief postal watchdog has warned that the troubled US Postal Service will go out of business this year unless Congress acts to rescue it.
David Williams, the inspector general of the USPS, says the service is in "very serious trouble", after five years lumbered with heavy debt and falling revenues.
In an interview with the Guardian, Williams warns that Congress, which has been distracted by November's elections and the fiscal cliff crisis, must act this year to save the service.
The USPS lost over $16bn last year, and has lost about $41bn over the past five years, according to Robert Taub, a vice-chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission.
Since 2006, the postal service has been required – unlike any federal agency – to pre-fund its retirement and healthcare benefits to workers. This costs it about $5.5bn a year. Currently, the post office has paid in $330bn for benefits, but the Office of Personnel Management recently told Williams that it will need $394bn to satisfy the legal requirement. THIS IS A BIG REASON WHY THE POST OFFICE IS STRAPPED AND THEY ARE USING THIS TO DISMANTLE OUR ONLY PUBLIC MEANS OF COMMUNICATION!!!!
At the same time, it has been unable to raise postal rates enough, because they are pegged to inflation, and inflation is low. (A long-awaited rise is coming on January 27, moving postal rates up by 2.75%).
The economic downturn in 2007 hit the postal service hard, as people sent less mail; it has also seen a steep decline in its most profitable product, first-class mail.
Richard Geddes, an assistant policy professor at Cornell and an American Enterprise Institute scholar who has studied the postal service, says first class mail has fallen from 103bn pieces in 2000 to just around 74bn pieces in 2011.
Even though it has shrunk from nearly 900,000 thousand employees in 1998 to about 530,000 now, many regulators and lawmakers see the US Postal Service's infrastructure as inefficient, and have talked about areas they would like to cut – the number of facilities that the USPS uses to process mail, for instance.
Williams, whose organisation audits the USPS, described the set of financial constraints on the service as "murder – it wasn't premeditated, but it was murder."
The postal service has reached its $15bn credit limit with the US Treasury, and has in effect run out of money."This is the year that they borrowed so much that they can't borrow any more," Williams said.
Asked whether the USPS will need a bailout this year, Williams replied: "Yes. The choices are that it would cease to exist or it would need a bailout." Williams said he did not expect the USPS to require taxpayer dollars, but instead that it would require congressional intervention, perhaps to reduce the pension payments.
The US Postal Service, which missed its last two payments into the benefit funds, has never made a single payment without having to borrow from the US Treasury. Ruth Goldway, chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, notes the irony: the USPS pension payment goes to the US Treasury, so for the past five years it has been borrowing from the Treasury to pay the Treasury.
There are many possible solutions to the problem, but, as a start, Williams, Goldway and Taub believe that the pension payments should be reduced. "I favor a post office that is not burdened by this unrealistic pension obligation," Goldway said.
Goldway says the main reason for the dire financial state of the USPS is the debt it took on to meet its pension payments. "They wouldn't be in the situation they're in without having borrowed all this money," she said.
California congressman Darrell Issa, a Republican who has taken the lead on postal service reform along with congressman Dennis Ross, suggested last year that USPS employees should be required to pay into their health and life insurance benefits, like all federal workers.
Another school of thought holds that the postal service could shrink further, cutting staff and facilities. Williams suggests that if the post office took steps to reduce its size that it could save $12bn a year: "Which is more than enough to get them out of the trouble they're in."
IF YOUR LABOR AND JUSTICE ORGANIZATIONS ARE NOT RUNNING LABOR AND JUSTICE CANDIDATES AGAINST INCUMBENTS.......THEY ARE NOT WORKING FOR YOU AND ME!!!!!! ARE YOUR LEADERS WORKING WITH THE CORPORATE POLS OR ARE THEY WORKING FOR YOU???????
November 2, 2012 Teachers unions in Ohio seek to elect educators to office By Sarah Butrymowicz Hechinger Report
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Special-education teacher Donna O’Connor and 23 of her colleagues gathered at their union’s headquarters here in January for a first-of-its-kind campaign boot camp. Prompted by an intense battle over collective bargaining that has pitted unions against a Republican-controlled State Assembly, the Ohio Education Association started grooming its own candidates to take back control of state education policy.
O’Connor, who is currently running for a House seat in the Columbus suburbs, felt her own sense of urgency as she learned how to fundraise, write speeches and debate during the union training sessions. “I started connecting the dots about seven years ago [that] I couldn’t just shut my classroom door and the politicians would leave me alone,” she said.
(Photo by Progress Ohio)
Teachers have long run for office, often with encouragement and support from their unions. This year, however, educators in states with some of the biggest labor disputes and most controversial education policies have been campaigning in record numbers. It’s one of the most direct ways that teachers and unions are showing their frustration over mounting attacks on tenure, the growth of nonunionized charter schools and efforts to evaluate teachers based on student test scores.
“You’re starting to see a lot of teachers say, ‘Enough is enough. I want to run for office,’ ” said Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform. The group works to elect Democrats committed to making dramatic changes to education policy, including many that the unions oppose such as eliminating tenure. Williams said he expects the trend of educators vying for office to continue. Official statistics aren’t kept on how many teachers are running, but anecdotal evidence from several states suggests the numbers are up.
The teachers union in Wisconsin, which was the center of a lengthy battle over collective bargaining last year, has six members competing for statewide office. In Tennessee, the first state to pass a law tying teacher evaluations to test scores, nine out of 11 teacher-candidates survived state legislature primaries to advance to the November elections. (Typically, two or three teachers in Tennessee run for any sort of office in a given year, according to the state’s teachers union). And in Minnesota, where mounting class sizes and debates over changing the seniority system have upset teachers, 35 educators are on the ballot. Members of the Minnesota teachers union, Education Minnesota, have estimated that that number is about a third higher than normal.
“Unfortunately for the past two years, the Legislature has ignored the real problems and focused on bashing teachers,” Education Minnesota president Tom Dooher said in a written statement. “We’re hopeful more people with classroom experience will be elected and re-order its priorities next year.”
Ohio was thrust into the national spotlight last year when its legislature passed Senate Bill 5, which banned unions from collective bargaining. A ballot initiative that November repealed the law, but the memory—and the anger it inspired—has not faded.
Although many potential candidates who attended the OEA’s training sessions decided not to run this year (and one lost in a primary), 10 remain on the ballot for state office—an unprecedented number, according to the OEA. In the last six years, just three other OEA members have run. This year, an 11th educator, a former member of the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) in his first year of retirement, is also running.
The Republicans have a stronghold in both houses of the Ohio State Assembly. In the House of Representatives, they are one member away from a super-majority, which would mean that any law passed as an “emergency measure” would take effect right away.
State congressional districts were redrawn in Ohio this year, in what supporters of the teachers union claim was gerrymandering meant to help Republican candidates. Still, the changes created new seats for some teachers to run and prompted others to challenge incumbents. Many teachers are now locked in tight races in districts that lean heavily red.
O’Connor, the special-education teacher, lost her current representative, Democrat John Carney, to another district during the redistricting process. Faced with an incumbent who had voted against collective bargaining and for a budget that cut state education funding by more than 10 percent, O’Connor decided it was time for her to get directly involved. She described the bill that outlawed collective bargaining as the “icing on the cake” in motivating her to run.
Tom Schmida, an OFT retiree up for election to the House in the Akron suburbs, was also spurred to run by a host of issues. A Democrat, Schmida is concerned about the future of collective bargaining, charter school accountability and a provision in the approved budget bill that will tie teacher evaluations to test scores. “An overreaching agenda by the extreme elements of the Republican Party, especially in the State House, [goes] beyond Senate Bill 5,” he said.
Schmida is in a close race against incumbent Republican Rep. Kristina Roegner, a staunch proponent of charters, vouchers and the elimination of collective-bargaining rights. Schmida’s grassroots campaign has knocked on about 7,500 doors and made 9,000 phone calls. Many of his volunteers are teachers and union members themselves, he said.
Both of the state’s teachers unions have endorsed all of the teacher-candidates. The OEA has also sent out mailings to members about its teacher-candidates, organized phone banks and helped produce a campaign video. “We’ve supported them through every means we possibly can,” said OEA president Patricia Frost-Brooks.
OEA declined to give specifics on the amount of money it has spent to help teacher-candidates get elected.
To Williams, these steps are a logical extension of unions’ long-time political involvement. “Teachers unions all over the country have been pretty successful at keeping the pipeline for potential candidates for office filled with good candidates,” he said. “We’re starting to see the unions take their message up a notch. It’s not just about good candidates … [but] getting teachers to be recruited.”
Yet Williams worries that too many teachers in office might derail the current education reform agenda. “As we move into an area where there’s lots of debates about teacher-quality issues and teacher-tenure issues, [the unions] are going to want people who will shut that debate down,” he said. He believes having more educators in office will be helpful only if they offer perspectives from the trenches without sidetracking the reform conversation.
Several Ohio teacher-candidates say they’re open to discussion and compromise. They add that their larger goals—like a better system of funding education—need not be divisive. It’s more about ensuring a teacher voice, they say.
“In 2011, that really showed us what happens when we don’t elect officials that are pro-workers, pro-public education and pro-teacher,” O’Connor said in her OEA-produced campaign video, referring to Senate Bill 5. “Electing pro-public education candidates is most important this time around. I think the teachers that are running, we can help protect and improve public education from the inside out.”
This story also appeared on NBCNews.com on November 2, 2012.