A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

Merely a Coincidence

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Aug• 01•14

I said I wasn’t expecting an early settlement, but the California Teachers Association and the California Staff Organization reached a tentative agreement on a new contract a few short hours after this blog post.

This year’s last internal labor brush fire for NEA remains in Oregon.


CTA Staff Threatens to Strike if Contract Not Settled by September 1

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jul• 31•14

NEA got its labor strife out of the way, but the California Teachers Association is still under the gun with its professional employees. CTA’s collective bargaining agreement with the California Staff Organization (CSO) expires at midnight, August 31. The staffers have pledged not to work without a contract.

There is still a month to go before the deadline, but CSO is ramping up the pressure, organizing a “virtual picket line” at CTA buildings across the state, and even posting photos and placards at CTA headquarters in Burlingame.

Money appears to be a major issue. The staff union claims management has offered a salary increase of only 0.75 percent. I don’t expect an early settlement, but as we saw with NEA, these things tend to get worked out before they get really serious. No one at CTA wants to have to explain to the media why there is a picket line in front of the headquarters building, or who crossed it to get to work.


NEA Reaches Tentative Agreement With Staff Union

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jul• 30•14

No details yet, but one might say they were bullied into it.


Act II of Act 10

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jul• 29•14

Milwaukee magazine has a very lengthy examination of “The Aftermath” of Act 10, the Wisconsin law that greatly restricted the power of the state’s public employee unions.

It’s worth reading, no matter your position on the law. I only want to comment on this sentence spoken by Betsy Kippers, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council. “We are really moving to a much more member-led, member-focused, community-driven union,” she said.

I realize this statement is used in lieu of “We’ve been totally decimated by Act 10 and I don’t know if we can survive.” Kippers wants to show WEAC can adapt, evolve and win.

But if we take her quote at face value, we have to ask:

1) If WEAC is now more member-led and member-focused, what was it before?

2) Why did it take action by hostile forces for this change to occur?

3) If WEAC is now more member-led and member-focused, how bad can Act 10 really be?

The aftermath of Act 10 also reinforces the theory that in politics it is better to fail spectacularly than succeed quietly. We learned yesterday that a coalition of unions and community groups in Chicago have formed United Working Families, a political advocacy group, and hired Kristen Crowell as its executive director.

Crowell was previously the executive director of We Are Wisconsin, a coalition of labor unions that raised millions of dollars in the effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Last time I checked, Walker was still governor of Wisconsin, which is an encouraging sign for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

I’m reminded of a scene in The Magnificent Seven where two villagers want to hire gunmen to protect their crops from bandits. One spots a likely candidate and says, “There’s one – look at the scars on his face!” The other replies, “The man for us is the one who gave him that face.”


Here’s What Didn’t Become NEA Policy

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jul• 28•14

Click here to read.


Free Meeting Space

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jul• 28•14

If you were a cadre of liberal county board members and you needed a place to hold a secret meeting, where would you go?



Remember Hope?

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jul• 25•14

Ah, those halcyon days…