LABOR HEADLINES–MONDAY, MARCH 4, 2019
This past Friday, the World Federation of Trade Unions at a conference Istanbul, Turkey issued a strong statement of solidarity with the elected government of Venezuela and its president, Nicolas Maduro.
The WFTU has initiated its own “Hands Off Venezuela” campaign and encouraged its members to mobilize to “stop the imperial attack that spends millions of dollars in favor of anti-union policies throughout the world.”
The WFTU Secretary-General concluded that “in the face of imperialist aggression, we need internationalist solidarity.”
The No War On Venezuela social media platforms have many pictures and reports from the more than 153 solidarity events held on Feb. 23 around the world. It’s worthwhile to check it out.
Over this past weekend, Oakland education workers declared a victory as they voted to approve agreements after a seven day strike that began on Feb. 21.
Similar to the more than 20 strikes and job actions that have taken place in the last year, rocking the public education system in the US, the Oakland teachers’ demands centered on students’ needs for smaller classroom sizes and other resources, low-pay and privatizing of public schools.
According to the Oakland Education Association, the contracts mandate an 11% pay hike over 4 years with an immediate 3% bonus, a phased in reduction in classroom size, funds for additional counselors, nurses and other support staff, a moratorium on approving charter schools and a 5 month pause in the plan to close 24 schools. A number of teachers were not satisfied with this particular element of the agreement, wary of losing the momentum of the strike to bargain for a real halt to the closures.
Tonight the agenda of the Atlanta School Board includes the proposed Excellent School Project, a system of grading schools to identify those that don’t meet certain standards and thus subject them to a number of remedies including being taken over by a charter organization, closed or merged with another school.
The teachers’ union, American Federation of Teachers and other education associations have declared this to be a public relations stunt without addressing the need for resources such as smaller classroom sizes, safe and fully-equipped buildings, sufficient supplies, books and technology for each student, additional staff such as counselors, nurses,librarians, art and music programs and a pay scale that enables teachers to live without needing to get a second job or be forced to quit.
Despite recent state budget upgrades, Georgia still provides less funding for K-12 than before the recession more than a decade ago, taking in account inflation.
The Excellent School Project is regarded by many teachers is regarded by many teachers to be a cover for turning more public schools over to charter operators who are privatizing and profiting from public education money.
The Community Comment section of the APS meeting is from 6-8pm at 130 Trinity Av. In downtown Atlanta. To sign up to speak, you have to turn in a form between 5 and 5:50.