Education Hiring Very Slowly Returning to Old Levels

I don’t think there are significant lessons to be drawn about policy or the economy, but these Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show the size of the local government education workforce (seasonally adjusted) for the past 10 years. That would include virtually all public school teachers, support employees and school administrators.

July 2008: 8,119,400
July 2009: 8,066,700
July 2010: 8,026,300
July 2011: 7,862,000
July 2012: 7,771,800
July 2013: 7,765,400
July 2014: 7,838,700
July 2015: 7,890,900
July 2016: 7,961,300
July 2017: 7,912,000
July 2018: 7,934,200

With some fluctuation, we have had a 4.3% drop followed by a 2% increase.

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Unions and Their Allies Sometimes Don’t Play Well With Unions

Some of my favorite stories are those that involve unions and their supporters having their own difficult labor relations with employees. I have written many over the years, including this piece that compiled many incidents from the late-’90s/early-’00s.

This week we have three tales of woe from unions about difficulties with folks who ought to be very friendly with unions:

* The president of the Michigan State Employees Association is up for re-election amid charges that he attempted to bust the staff union. The National Labor Relations Board and a federal appeals courts ordered MSEA to pay $500,000 in back wages to eight employees.

The Detroit Free Press has been all over this story for years, but the MSEA officers are firmly entrenched.

NLRB: State of Michigan workers union broke law with own employees

Internal war raging at Michigan state employee union

Union leaders face charges after talking to Free Press

* Over at The Intercept (no relation), Rachel M. Cohen broke the story that Minnesota Attorney General (and Democratic gubernatorial candidate) Lori Swanson used her staff for political work, and added the detail that Swanson shut down a unionization effort by staff attorneys in 2007.

A Swanson staffer told Cohen he “would take staffers out to lunch to discourage them from unionization. Another time, he recalls going into employee offices at night and looking through their caller IDs to see who pro-union workers communicated with. ‘She asked us to do that, I was instructed with that,’ he said.”

* The Chicago Teachers Union holds an esteemed position in the world of organized labor because of its 2012 strike, but CTU has had an unfair labor practice complaint filed against it by Teamsters Local 743, which bargains for CTU’s field representatives. The Teamsters accuse CTU of refusal to bargain or bad faith bargaining.

This year CTU has had seven unfair labor practice complaints filed against it with the National Labor Relations Board.

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Transitory

December 8, 2017 Inside MSEA, newsletter of the Maryland State Education Association:

I was particularly struck by the story that Frederick County Teachers Association President Missy Dirks and UniServ Director Nicola van Kuilenburg shared.

In May of 2016, county-level data in the Center for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that more than 50% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual students experienced suicidal thoughts and 40% had developed a suicide plan. Those numbers were even higher among transgender youth. FCTA considered the report a call to action to support and protect LGBT+ students.

The local met with educators, students, and community members who shared the same goal. They organized. And the FCTA rep assembly unanimously supported the passage of a new board of education policy that would help protect transgender students — which the board passed in June of 2017.

July 12, 2018 GoFundME page “Support the van Kuilenburg family“:

On May 31st 2018 Nicola van Kuilenburg was terminated from her position with the Maryland State Education Association (the teachers union) because of a so called ‘conflict of interest’. Her employer argued that it is not possible to advocate for her own transgender child James, and LGBT students in general, as an employee of the Association because teachers who harm kids may be disciplined because of her advocacy.

…Her own staff union has filed a grievance challenging this wrongful dismissal but that process can take up to a year to reach third party arbitration.

The GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $3,700 so far.

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