July 31, 2014


Labor solidarity threatens idea of moving post offices to big box stores
. . . State labor unions and national federations began to endorse the ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ campaign. On May 30, when the AFL-CIO, comprised of 56 unions representing 12.5 million members came out in support of the boycott.  In mid June California’s Service Employees International Union 32BJ, representing 145,000 union members in 11 states and the District of Columbia, voted for a boycott. . . .After July 4th more unions formally joined the boycott. . . . American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten responded. “Who does Staples really want and need to come into its stores every single day? Teachers. The best way we can help is if we say to Staples: ‘You do this to the postal workers, and we aren’t buying supplies in your stores.’” School supplies are a key market for Staples, accounting for up to one-third of its sales. Last year teachers spent about $1.6 billion of their own money on school supplies. Back-to-school supply-buying gets going in earnest in late July.  On July 14th Staples announced it had withdrawn from the Retail Partner Expansion Program.  On the Commons

The Key to Fighting Privatization? Preparation
Privateers know school board members are desperately trying to balance budgets for the upcoming school year. And nothing is easier for cash-strapped trustees needing to strike a zero balance before summer vacation than outsourcing the jobs of education support professionals (ESPs).While spring is the high season for privateers to court vulnerable board members, the time for local Associations to prepare arguments and mobilize members against outsourcing is … always. “The sooner you realize your school board is considering privatization, the better prepared you can be to fight it,” says Scott Wagner, a teacher for 32 years and president of Clearview Education Association (CEA) in New Jersey. “You need to stay ready.”  NEA Today

Greece: A Nation for Sale and the Death of Democracy
. . . Fourth, the EU wanted to take the opportunity presented by the debt crisis to turn Greece into a “guinea pig” for the policy prescriptions of a neoliberal Europe. Berlin and Brussels had long ago embraced the main pillars of the Washington Consensus – fiscal austerity, privatization, deregulation and destatization – and the debt crisis offered a golden opportunity to cut down the Greek public sector to the bare bones and radicalize the domestic labor market with policies that slash wages and benefits and enhance flexibilization and insecurity.  Truth-Out

IL: State needs to open eyes wide before privatizing job-creation agency
One of the hotter ideas among the new crop of GOP governors in recent years has been to at least partially privatize their economic development agencies. The theory is that taking power away from slow-moving, politically influenced bureaucrats and giving it to business folks who know how to talk the talk and walk the walk gets more jobs and investment more quickly. . . . On the other hand, the private sector seems to like controlling the big punch bowl just as much as the public sector. Like in Florida, where Enterprise Florida created less than half the number of promised jobs but spent tens of thousands of dollars on things such as seats at Yankee Stadium and had hundreds of thousands of dollars in unspecified credit card charges. Or neighboring Iowa, where a quarter of the grants awarded by that state’s public-private development agency went to companies represented on the agency board. Or Wisconsin, which publicly posted information on just two of the 251 deals it funded.  Crain’s Chicago Business (blog)

MT: Guest opinion: Stop Congress from privatizing our public lands
What if I told you there was a plan to take away your freedom to access Montana’s most cherished outdoor spaces and give you a big tax hike on top of it. . . Granting federally managed public lands to the states is, perhaps, the worst of the bad ideas to emerge in 2014. It is an assault on our Montana outdoor way of life and our pocketbooks. Here’s why. Billings Gazette