August 21, 2014


NLRB slams Postal Service for Staples privatization deal
Providing yet more  evidence that U.S. Postal Service management is headed in the wrong direction – at least where its workers are concerned – a National Labor Relatios Board official slammed its scheme to subcontract services to Staples stores. And half the U.S. Senate now opposes management’s plan to close 82 more distribution centers. . . .  NLRB Administrative Law Judge Eric Fine dealt the legal blow. He ruled that, since last November, USPS broke labor law in refusing to provide requested materials, e-mails and memos about the Staples deal to APWU. That includes Staples’ uncensored contract with the USPS and financial details. The Postal Service called the Staples scheme a “pilot project.” The political slam was the bipartisan letter from 50 senators. They asked the Senate Appropriations Committee to insert language any money bill that affects the Postal Service banning USPS from closing more distribution centers nationwide. They also asked their colleagues to preserve 6-day pickup and delivery.  People’s World

FBI Tracks Charter Schools
There’s been a flood of local news stories in recent months about FBI raids on charter schools all over the country. From Pittsburgh to Baton Rouge, from Hartford to Cincinnati to Albuquerque, FBI agents have been busting into schools, carting off documents, and making arrests leading to high-profile indictments. . . . What’s going on here? Charter schools are such a racket, across the nation they are attracting special attention from the FBI, which is working with the Department of Education’s inspector general to look into allegations of charter-school fraud.  PR Watch

OH: Ohio Turnpike says sponsorships, ads OK, but not naming rights to tollway
. . . They’ve given the go-ahead to selling advertising and sponsorships on dozens of other turnpike assets, from first responder emergency vehicles to pet walking zones and trucker lounges. Even snowplows, salt domes and vending machines can be advertising venues, according to Legends Sales & Marketing,  which sized up the turnpike and its assets. Turnpike spokesman Adam Greenslade said a Legends sales team is in the field now, drumming up clients in an advertising push that could generate “several million dollars” a year. Monetizing the turnpike is part of a larger effort by Republican Gov. John Kasich’s administration to address transportation budget shortfalls. Turnpike and state highway departments scattered nationwide are trying the same thing, though few if any are pursuing it as actively as the Ohio Turnpike, said Neil Gray, government affairs director at the International Bridge, Tunnel & Turnpike Association.  The Plain Dealer

LA: Feds pose new questions about University Medical Center deal
Federal regulators are seeking more information on Louisiana’s deal with LCMC Health to lease and operate University Medical Center. The hospital is under construction in New Orleans’ Mid-City and on schedule to open next year, but the latest request seems likely to cause a further delay in the federal government’s decision on whether to approve the state’s plans. . . . The methodology for determining minimum financial performance “appears to be overly dependent on Medicaid revenues,” agency official Bill Brooks wrote in a letter Tuesday to Ruth Kennedy, the state’s Medicaid director. That means funding levels from the federal health insurance program could determine the amount of rent LCMC pays, Brooks wrote. . . . His letter provides new insight into his agency’s concerns with the lease deal, one of six that the state has confected to privatize its hospitals. Those deals relied on amendments to the state’s Medicaid plan, but the amendments were submitted last summer — after the leases were inked.  The Times-Picayune