You Didn’t Quit Yesterday! We Fired You Today!

“Esta página está en proceso de remodelación.”

Thus ends AFT’s formal presence in Puerto Rico. As EIA has reported (exclusively for a long, long time — see here and here for example), AFT’s efforts to regain control of the disaffiliated Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (FMPR) have been defeated at every turn. The national union conceded defeat by shutting down the AFTPR web page with the above notice, and overnighting a letter to FMPR President Rafael Feliciano Hernandez on Wednesday, notifying him that AFT was revoking FMPR’s affiliation!

Additionally, the AFT Executive Council terminated the administratorship over FMPR (which never took practical effect anyway), and included a pointed reference to outstanding loans and back dues payments. AFT wants the latter repaid by next Friday. Good luck.

It bears repeating that it has been almost a full year since the FMPR disaffiliation vote, and following months of investigations, protests, rallies, lawsuits, an administratorship, court decisions, a referendum, and a charter revocation, you will still search in vain for any public statement about these events from AFT national headquarters. Can’t have the loss of 32,000 members undermine the message, can we?

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Tease for Monday

It was a pretty bad week for unions in the normally accommodating U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Two cases that will reverberate. Tons of details from the court, and EIA has many to add — too many for this type of format. Let’s just say, “Stay tuned for Monday’s EIA Communiqué.”

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Landmark Files Complaint Against CTA Over Dues Hike

* The Landmark Legal Foundation, noted for filing federal complaints against NEA for violations of political expenditure reporting requirements, yesterday asked the California Public Employment Relations Board to investigate the California Teachers Association’s $54 million dues assessment.

In particular, Landmark questions the union’s characterization of the dues assessment as “debt retirement,” when the debt is obviously caused by political campaign spending. Non-members can be forced to pay the former, but not the latter. In either case, full dues plus assessments are deducted from all paychecks — member or non-member — with reimbursement of political expenses made to non-members upon their annual written request.

Since CTA’s attorneys determine which union expenditures are chargeable or non-chargeable (subject to challenge through arbitration or court filing) at the end of each fiscal year, it is not yet known whether the union planned to claim the assessment as a chargeable expense. The Landmark complaint ensures that that determination will be made in the public eye.

* Ormsby County Education Association President Jeff Greb and another union member were fined $15 each by the Nevada Ethics Commission for using class preparation time to organize a campaign walk for a state assembly candidate last fall.

Greb’s activity isn’t all that newsworthy, but EIA thinks his defense was. He claimed:

1) He was not a public employee.
2) As OCEA president, he was permitted by contract to contact his members about the campaign walk.
3) The district allowed the union use of school facilities and equipment for similar purposes “as a matter of practice.”

If he wasn’t a public employee, he should have been charged with trespassing on school property.

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NEA Executive Director Named Chairman of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills

* The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a coalition of union and business interests, named NEA Executive Director John Wilson as its new chairman. Wilson has been heavily involved in the organization since its formation in 2002, and will now oversee the Partnership, with members such as Adobe, Apple, Cisco, Dell, Ford, Intel, McGraw-Hill, Microsoft, Time Warner and Verizon.

The organization proposes to add 21st century skills to the K-12 classroom, which a recent report describes as: global awareness; civic engagement; financial, economic, and business literacy; problem solving, critical thinking and self-directional skills; and information and communication technology skills.

Wilson will retain his position at NEA while chairing the Partnership.

* Get ready for major fireworks in L.A.

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The. Best. Union. Story. Ever.

If there were a Pulitzer Prize for labor reporting, it would go to Stacy J. Willis of the Las Vegas Weekly for “Picketers for Hire.” Willis went to the new Wal-Mart in Henderson and spoke to the six picketers placed there by Local 711 of the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

Except that the six hard-working folks aren’t UFCW employees.

Nor are they members of UFCW.

Nor are they members of any union.

They are employees of the Allied Forces/Labor Express temp service. They are paid $6 an hour with no benefits for standing outside in 104 degree temperatures. One picketer suffered heat exhaustion and never returned. Another developed blisters, so the dutiful picket line foreman took her inside the air-conditioned Wal-Mart, where the pharmacist recommended a certain balm. The rest of the picketers bought some.

The union drops them off in the morning and returns for them five hours later. Except on the weekends, when they have to make their own way.

“We’re paying these people. They were out of work before (joining their picket lines),” said UFCW organizer Bill Hornbrook, like a character from The Grapes of Wrath.

Yes, the UFCW is outsourcing its picketing to non-union workers, at a sub-standard pay rate with no benefits, in unsafe conditions, with no transportation or means to leave the premises, in order to protest the poor jobs inside Wal-Mart, where workers make twice as much.

Hat tip: Opinion Journal.

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