November 29, 2012


CA:  Port of Los Angeles clerical workers strike over outsourcing

Striking workers shut down the largest terminal at the Port of Los Angeles for a second day Wednesday, and the job action later widened to close three terminals at the Port of Long Beach, threatening to paralyze the nation’s busiest port complex. About 70 clerical workers struck the APM Terminals operations on Pier 400 at Port of Los Angeles on Tuesday, raising the ante in a 2-year-old contract battle over union claims that management has been outsourcing well-paid jobs out of state and overseas.   The Republic

RI: AFL-CIO to make Pawtucket a ‘battleground’ city

The Rhode Island AFL-CIO is planning a major offensive against efforts to privatize municipal departments across the state, and Pawtucket is expected to be the launching point. Valley Breeze

PA: Convention board hires consultant to explore privatizing

The board of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority has awarded a consulting-services contract to Public Financial Management Inc., of Philadelphia, to assist in reviewing responses to privatize certain functions of the center. Philadelphia Inquirer

FL: Judge hearing Fla. prison privatization challenge

A judge is hearing another challenge to plans for privatizing health care services in Florida’s prisons. Circuit Judge John Cooper is conducting the hearing in Tallahassee on whether a legislative budget panel exceeded its authority by approving the $58 million proposal. Lawyers for two unions representing about 3,000 nurses and other prison health care employees, who stand to lose their jobs, contend only the full Legislature can approve such a significant policy change. San Francisco Chronicle

FL: In outreach to large landowners, Gov. Rick Scott finds support for toll road

To make way for a proposed network of sprawling toll roads, Florida transportation officials are considering reserving tracts of remote timberlands, cattle ranches and phosphate mines from some of the state’s largest landowners.

Jeb Bush, with cash and clout, pushes contentious school reforms

But a close examination raises questions about the depth and durability of the gains in Florida. After the dramatic jump of the Bush years, Florida test scores edged up in 2009 and then dropped, with low-income students falling further behind. State data shows huge numbers of high school graduates still needing remedial help in math and reading. And some of the policies Bush now pushes, such as vouchers and mandatory online classes, have no clear links to the test-score bump in Florida. Bush has been particularly vigorous about promoting online education, urging states to adopt policies written with input from companies that stand to profit from expanded cyber-schooling. Many of those companies also donate to Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, which has raised $19 million in recent years to promote his agenda nationwide.  Reuters