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Which Side Are You On? Inequality and the Case for Unions

Tim Koechlin The Huffington Post
The Right insists that working class Americans are falling behind because of overly-generous "entitlements" and overpaid public sector employees. In reality, the lost income of workers -- union and non-union, black and white, male and female, public sector and private sector -- can be found in the pockets of the 1 percent. With the decline of unions over the past several decades, wages have stagnated and the "American Dream" has drifted out of reach for millions.

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De Blasio Pushes a 9-Year Contract for Teachers

Steven Greenhouse The New York Times
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration is pushing for what would be the longest-ever contract with the teachers’ union: a nine-year deal that would let the city stretch out potentially huge retroactive pay increases. A nine-year deal for teachers would actually date to Nov. 1, 2009, when the union’s contract expired. But it would extend for another four and a half years — after Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, would face re-election in 2017.

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This Stormy Weather is Headed Our Way

Barry Dunning Working Life
A decision in favour of Pamela Harris in the Harris v. Quinn case before the U.S. Supreme Court would seriously impact the quality of care provided to tens of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities who use state-supported home care services. It would do this by ruling the collective agreement covering more than 27,000 workers unconstitutional. More broadly, a ruling that the current system is unconstitutional threatens the future of collective bargaining.

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Public Sector Workers Fighting Back

Public sector workers have been scapegoated as a cause of our poor economy, and neoliberal reforms have targeted public sector unions. But public sector workers are fighting back. Teachers in Lee, Massachusetts rejected merit pay as a protest against education reforms; other unions have begun to flip the script, putting the blame on the 1% and calling for taxing the rich.

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Most Wisconsin School Unions Survive Elections

Associated Press Gazette Xtra
Scores of school worker unions mustered enough member votes in this year's re-certification elections to go on representing the employees in wage negotiations, according to data state labor relations officials released Thursday.

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Redefining and Rebuilding the Teachers' Union

Alan Singer Huffington Post
In this post on reclaiming the conversation on education I offer strong views on the need to reorganize and redirect the American Federation of Teachers and the National Educational Association if these unions are to survive as a meaningful force for and ally of public education.

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Irish Doctors Strike to Protest Work Hours Amid Austerity

Eamon Quinn The Wall Street Journal
There is a growing impatience with austerity among public-sector workers, as the government prepares a budget for 2014 that will inflict a seventh year of spending cuts and tax increases. Irish governments have sought to control costs in response to the country's worst-ever property and banking crisis that started over five years ago. The country is obliged by its bailout with the European Union and International Monetary Fund to public sector spending and jobs cuts.

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Black Workers, the Public Sector and the Future of Labor Unions

Bill Fletcher, Jr. Law at the Margins
The current crisis facing the public sector, a major location of African American workers, along with the crisis facing organized labor, should present a moment to reconsider old assumptions. A multi-union effort to organize Southern public sector workers could be something close to a game-changer on several levels, not the least being the potential impact on Southern politics and Southern unionization. And, as the saying goes, as goes the South, so goes the USA.

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Greeks Take to Streets Again Amid General Strike Over Job Cut Plans

Helena Smith The Guardian
Commentators questioned the wisdom of inflicting further austerity on a nation where more than 1.3 million are out of work, salaries have been cut by an average 25%, and poverty has been imposed on more than a third of the entire population.
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