That Union Thing

Clergy members staged a protest at the University of Miami over low pay for food service workers. The workers, some of whom make less than $10,000 per year, are employees of Chartwells, which is in charge of most of the food service at the University. The workers are seeking union representation, following in the footsteps of janitors at the university, who won representation in 2006 and received significant wage increases and healthcare coverage as a result. 55 local church leaders have signed a letter to University President Donna Shalala asking support for the worker's efforts to unionize, but Shalala has failed to reply to their requests for a meeting.

CenturyLink workers have filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board that their compensation terms have been illegally altered. The workers voted for representation by the Communication Workers of America in 2011 and have since been negotiating a collective bargaining agreement. Workers claim that CenturyLink altered their medical benefits and eliminated performance bonuses in retaliation for the successful organizing campaign. Such actions are illegal under the National Labor Relations Act.

The National Education Association and the Florida Education Association have sued the state of Florida, claiming that new performance evaluations violate teachers' constitutional rights of due process and equal protection of laws. Under the Student Success Act of 2011, at least half of a teacher's performance evaluation must be based on student achievement under statewide assessments such as the FCAT. However, the FCAT only measures reading and math, but the student scores are being used to evaluate teachers in other subjects, such as art, music, health, and biology, as well.


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