July 8, 2015

Staples Deal With USPS Is Illegal: NLRB. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has filed a complaint against the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) related to the housing of contract postal units in Staples Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) stores. The NLRB has determined that the USPS violated the law when it opened its first postal counter in a Staples store in late 2013. The contract between the USPS and the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) states that USPS management must bargain with the union before entering a deal like the one with Staples. That did not happen in this instance according to the union, which issued a press release on Monday and which wants the postal counters staffed by Staples employees closed. 24/7 Wall St.

Four Ways ALEC Tried to Ruin Your State This Year. ALEC’s legislative playbook for 2015 focused on blocking action on climate change, thwarting local democracy, attacking labor unions, and further privatizing public education in the U.S., as CMD reported last year in covering its legislative agenda for the year. Here are some of the worst policies ALEC legislators tried to push into binding law in state legislatures this year, so far. PR Watch

Supporters of highway tolls have hijacked our nation’s roadways – opinion. When drivers have experienced toll road proliferation at every turn, non-toll options are shrinking. Therefore, the 14 percent increase in toll road trips can be attributed to more toll roads being built that limit “free” options and force more and more drivers to pay in order to gain mobility on what was once a freely accessible public highway system. The cost of everything we buy is going up due to this explosion in our cost to travel and transport goods. Americans are experiencing it firsthand every time they buy groceries and other necessities. The Hill

NJ: As privatization of public services continues, is 911 dispatch next?. . . Camden City Business Administrator Robert Corrales said the city is only in the early stages of exploring the possibility of privatizing dispatch, and a committee is currently reviewing two bids they received from outside companies following the city’s request for bids earlier this year. . .The CWA isn’t waiting until then to make their concerns known, however. “Companies care more about making a profit then they do about the safety of Camden,” said Jim McAsey, a national staff representative with the CWA. “This rally is about good jobs, not just for 25 people but good jobs for all Camden workers.” NJ.com

NJ: New legislation on Liberty State Park signed. Gov. Christie signed legislation Monday that would provide new protections against any proposed commercial development at Liberty State Park but does not meet the expectations of park advocates, who still fear the site is “very vulnerable.” The law requires at least one hearing at the park over any project there, and gives the commissioner of environmental protection the right of final approval. An earlier version – which opponents feared would open the door to the park’s privatization and commercialization – was signed by the governor in February, then revised to offer protections to the site, a popular gateway to the Statue of Liberty. Philly.com

PA: Should Luzerne County employees compete with the private sector for their work? Outsourcing? Privatization? Luzerne County Councilman Jim Bobeck said the concept he’s pushing for is neither of those because he wants to open up some county work to outside bidders while still giving employees who perform that work a shot at submitting their own proposal to keep it. Known as “managed competition,” the technique has been used by some governments across the country as a way to shop around for other prices and options. . . County departments generally maintain they are doing the best they can with available resources and funding, he said. “What is the market of actually providing that service? You have no idea because you’ve never tested it,” Bobeck said. Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

IA: Federal Judge Backs Iowa Speed Cameras. A federal judge on Thursday decided not to allow the case against Iowa’s speed cameras to be heard by a jury. After hundreds of pages of legal briefs were filed over the course of ten months, US District Court Judge Linda R. Reade dismissed the class action case that motorists had filed in state court against the city of Cedar Rapids and Gatso, the Dutch company that owns and operates the cameras. The drivers, she argued, failed to meet the requirements needed to bring such a case. The lead plaintiff in the case, Gary Hughes, did not actually receive a speed camera ticket. Instead, he filed suit claiming a general harm to “his and every citizen’s interest in proper application of the Constitution and laws.” The judge was not impressed. TheNewspaper.com

IL: IL House Approves DCEO Privatization Bill. A plan to privatize Illinois’ economic development agency and beef up its responsibilities has cleared the House. CBS Local