That Union Thing

Miami-Dade teachers, students, and parents sent a message against proposed legislation on teacher pay and tenure, and that message was clearly heard by Florida Governor Charlie Crist. The legislation, Senate Bill 6,  would have tied teacher pay to student test performance and eliminated tenure. Governor Crist vetoed the legislation in response to widespread sentiment against the bill.

The Broward School District has declared an impasse in their negotiations with the Broward Teachers Union. Teachers are asking for a four percent raise, and the district is claiming that climbing health insurance costs make it impossible to increase wages. A special magistrate will be engaged to assist in the negotiations. Arts programs are also on the chopping block. Some art, music, and physical education teachers are being asked to work 20 hours per week at half-pay. The Broward School Board has also proposed having four schools share the same art, music, and physical education teachers.

The Public Health Trust has proposed five percent pay cuts for 10,000 employees at the Jackson Health System to cut expenses and save jobs. 650 positions have already been eliminated, and Jackson executives have promised that no further layoffs will occur before September 30 if the concessions are adopted.

President Obama has made two recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. Craig Becker and Mark Gaston Pearce have been sworn in, filling two of the three positions on the five-member board that have been vacant for 27 months.

Immokalee farmworkers and allies are conducting the Farmworker Freedom March, a three-day, 25 mile trek from Tampa to Lakeland, to convince Publix Supermarkets to adopt a code of conduct that would prohibit slavery and forced labor by its suppliers. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers have already reached agreements with Whole Foods, Subway, McDonald's, Burger King, Yum! Brand, and Aramark to improve wages and working conditions for Florida tomato pickers.

A federal judge in Milwaukee has ruled that union work must continue to be union work even after moving to a different city. Earlier this year, Frontier Airlines moved a facility for mechanics to Milwaukee. The jobs in the new city were offered to those who had previously done the work, but the workers were later told the work would be done by nonunion labor. The Teamsters filed a request for an injunction, and the judge ruled in their favor, requiring the airline to return the status quo.


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