Socialist-Themed Vegan Food Company Lays Off Workers Without Notice Or Severance (This same left-wing company had previously tried to stop its employees from forming a union)

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/no-evil-foods-layoffs_n_60c653fbe4b0402a2c033cf3

Socialist-Themed Vegan Food Company Lays Off Workers Without Notice Or Severance

Workers at No Evil Foods’ North Carolina plant were furious at the news, according to audio of the layoff announcement.

By Dave Jamieson

June 13, 2021

A self-described socially conscious vegan food manufacturer laid off its entire production staff in North Carolina on Friday, infuriating workers who said the lack of notice and severance pay was out of step with the company’s stated values.

Audio of the layoff announcement at No Evil Foods provided to HuffPost by a source captured stunned workers shouting back at company leaders who delivered the news.

“So we get fired so you can stay alive?” one worker said to the company’s chief executive, Mike Woliansky, as Woliansky explained that the facility will be shut down.

Several workers reacted with disbelief after the company’s human resources chief, Drew Pollick, explained they would be paid for Friday’s work but nothing beyond that because “we’re out of money.”

Workers were heard yelling “screw all of y’all” and ”F*** you!”

“You can’t tell me there’s absolutely no money,” one said.

“They got a better deal ― the ones that f***ed up,” added one worker, in apparent reference to the company’s leadership.

No Evil Foods, which is based in Weaverville, north of Asheville, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Woliansky said in the meeting that No Evil Foods was counting on a new infusion of cash that recently fell through. He said the pandemic presented a number of challenges for the company, and that leaders had decided to move to a co-manufacturing model, rather than have its own dedicated facility.

“The reality of the situation is the company has essentially run out of money, and we’re now really forced to make some really big, really difficult changes,” he said in the audio obtained by HuffPost. “It’s coming down to whether or not there will be a No Evil at all.”

Mike Rapier, one of the workers who spoke up during the meeting, said in an interview with HuffPost that the company’s leaders deserved all the backtalk. No Evil Foods describes itself as a purpose-driven food manufacturer, seeking to address “food insecurity, economic justice, and climate change” through plant-based options. Some of its products make cheeky nods to socialism, like the chicken-free Comrade Cluck.

Rapier said company leaders often spoke about the workforce as a family. That’s why Rapier, a production employee, expected more than a recommendation letter and a leaflet about an upcoming job fair.

“We would have big monthly meetings about core values and family and respect and save-the-world,” said Rapier, who added that he did not make the audio recording. “They preached all of this stuff, but then when it came down to it … they were very, very cutthroat.”

Companies generally are not required to provide severance pay unless a contract requires it. Sometimes employers are required to give 60 days notice or more under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act or similar state laws, but the mass layoff at No Evil Foods appears to be small enough so that the law does not apply.

Rapier estimated that there were between 30 and 50 workers laid off on Friday, though he said others had been let go earlier in the year. The layoffs were first reported by Insider.

This is not the first time workers have accused No Evil Foods of not meeting its socially conscious image. The company pushed back hard against a union drive last year, holding captive-audience meetings and urging workers to vote down the effort with the United Food and Commercial Workers union. When audio of those meetings were posted to the internet, the company made legal efforts to have them removed.

The company fired two workers involved in the organizing effort, claiming they had violated the facility’s social-distancing rules. The two workers, Jon Reynolds and Cortne Roche, accused the company of illegal retaliation, and the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel pursued a complaint. As Jacobin recently reported, No Evil Foods settled those claims by paying $20,000 to Reynolds and $22,500 to Roche.

Rapier said he really enjoyed working at No Evil Foods. He eats meat and didn’t buy into the plant-based-foods mission of the company, but he considered it a solid job and liked his co-workers. He left Ace Hardware a year ago to work at No Evil Foods.

According to Rapier, the company had recently invested in equipment that did not suit its production well, leading to frequent shutdowns. He said he had a feeling business was not going well. Still, Rapier said, given the mission of No Evil Foods, he assumed the company would try to give workers a softer landing.

“They talked the talk but they didn’t walk the walk with regard to their philosophy. They just dumped us,” he said. “This kind of upheaval is not right, the way they went about this.”

Rapier, 59, said his health insurance through No Evil Foods ended immediately Friday, and he isn’t sure if he’ll be able to find coverage he can afford. As for his next work plans, Rapier said he plans to go to that job fair.

June 14, 2021. Tags: , , , , . Economics, Social justice warriors, Unions. Leave a comment.

Keeping the public schools closed is mean, cruel, inhumane, and evil, and it has nothing to do with COVID-19

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

March 26, 2021

Please take a lot at all these things, and please note the date on each one.

All of these things, taken together in context, proves that keeping the public schools closed has nothing to do with COVID-19.

Keeping the public schools closed is mean, cruel, inhumane, and evil.

May 28, 2020

Reopening schools in Denmark did not worsen outbreak, data shows

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-05-28/opening-schools-in-denmark-did-not-worsen-outbreak-data-shows

May 29, 2020

Denmark, Finland say they saw no increase in coronavirus after schools re-opened

https://justthenews.com/world/europe/denmark-finland-say-they-saw-no-increase-coronavirus-after-schools-re-opened

July 13 , 2020

German study finds no evidence coronavirus spreads in schools

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/07/13/german-study-finds-no-evidence-coronavirus-spreads-schools/

July 21 2020

No known case of teacher catching coronavirus from pupils, says scientist

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/no-known-case-of-teacher-catching-coronavirus-from-pupils-says-scientist-3zk5g2x6z

September 18, 2020

Suicide among children during Covid-19 pandemic: An alarming social issue

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7500342/

January 8, 2021

Escalating suicide rates among school children during COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown period: An alarming psychosocial issue

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0253717620982514

February 10, 2021

Child suicides are rising during lockdown

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-02-child-suicides-lockdown.html

March 1, 2021

Matt Meyer, the president of the Berkeley teachers union, says it’s too dangerous to open the public schools. But Meyer was just filmed taking his own daughter to a private school. I never trust anyone who isn’t willing to live under the same rules that they expect everyone else to live under. Clearly, the real reason for keeping the public schools closed has nothing to do with safety.

https://www.kqed.org/news/11862469/after-leading-school-closures-berkeley-teachers-union-president-spotted-dropping-daughter-off-at-in-person-preschool

March 9, 2021

LA teachers warned to not share vacation pics as union seeks safe return to classrooms. UTLA members voted overwhelmingly to reject what the union called an ‘unsafe’ return to the classroom unless certain demands are met. I never trust anyone who isn’t willing to live under the same rules that they expect everyone else to live under. Clearly, the real reason for keeping the public schools closed has nothing to do with safety.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/la-teachers-warned-to-not-share-vacation-pics-as-union-seeks-safe-return-to-classrooms-report

March 19, 2021

Doctors indicate startling rise in child suicide, psychiatric admissions during lockdown

https://elizabethjohnston.org/doctors-indicate-startling-rise-in-child-suicide-psychiatric-admissions-amid-ongoing-pandemic-measures/

March 22, 2021

The lockdown made it harder for victims of domestic violence to seek help

https://www.city-journal.org/lockdowns-and-domestic-violence

March 26, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , . COVID-19, Education, Unions. Leave a comment.

Ted Cruz proposes a $10,000 scholarship for students in districts where the public schools are still closed

https://twitter.com/SenTedCruz/status/1368188283264581636

March 7, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . COVID-19, Education, Unions. Leave a comment.

This private school has been open all school year, and has had zero in-school transmissions of COVID-19. And its tuition is far less than what the public schools spend. The real reason for keeping the public schools closed has nothing to do with COVID-19.

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

March 1, 2021

According to this article, zero cases of COVID-19 have been contracted at this private Catholic school in Philadelphia, which has been open for the entire school year so far.

For students who are not part of the school’s affiliated church, tuition is $6,332 yer year. It’s even less for students who are part of the church.

Source: https://d2y1pz2y630308.cloudfront.net/19763/documents/2021/2/Saint%20Pio%202021-2022%20Tuition%20Letter%20and%20Rates.pdf

By comparison, the budget for Philadelphia’s public schools is $14,812 per student per year.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=School_District_of_Philadelphia&oldid=1002556395

This debunks the claim that public schools don’t have enough money to deal with COVID-19.

Somehow, this private school, with far less money per student, was able to open up, and have zero in-school cases of transmission.

Whatever the reason is for keeping the public schools closed, it has nothing to do with COVID-19.

https://whyy.org/articles/in-person-classes-old-buildings-almost-no-covid-are-philly-catholic-schools-a-blueprint/

In-person classes. Old buildings. Almost no COVID. Are Philly Catholic schools a blueprint?

By Avi Wolfman-Arent

February 21, 2021

Francesca Russo hesitates to acknowledge any good news without crossing herself and knocking on wood.

When it comes to COVID, the principal at St. Pio Regional Catholic School in South Philadelphia likes to cover her bases — physical and spiritual.

“We have not had many cases,” said Russo, who was a teacher at St. Pio’s for 19 years before becoming principal two years ago. “Thank goodness. Knock on some kind of wood. We did play it scary-mary safe.”

Each room at St. Pio’s has a window cracked and a door open. There’s a system for when students can use bathrooms between regular cleanings. And each desk has a three-panel barrier that students raise whenever they need to lower their masks.

Behind the barriers sit roughly 230 students, from pre-K through eighth grade, about the same number who occupied this building last year. They’ve been learning in a decades-old Catholic school five days a week since the school year began.

Five members of the school community have contracted COVID-19 since September, Russo says. One of them is among the school’s 15 all-virtual students. Three contracted the virus over winter break while school was closed. The fifth also contracted the virus outside of school.

So far, according to Russo, there’s been no in-school transmission.

“We love these kids,” said Russo. “We’d do anything to make sure they’re safe, protected, and happy.”

St. Pio’s is one of about 100 elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that has been open for full-time, face-to-face education since the school year began. Together, the schools host about 35,000 educators and children in buildings every day, according to the archdiocese. Archdiocesan high schools, meanwhile, have been open on a hybrid schedule.

While public debate swirls over whether the School District of Philadelphia should reopen school buildings on a part-time basis for about 9,000 pre-K through second grade students, another elementary system in the same region has opened its doors to nearly four times as many students. Leaders say they’ve managed to do so safely.

Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia share the same geography as the city’s public schools. And perhaps more than any other school system in the region, the parochial sector shares the public schools’ legacy of contraction, tight budgets, and, in some places, aging infrastructure.

Yet, according to officials, Catholic elementary and high schools in the five-county region have recorded just one suspected instance of in-school transmission during the pandemic. Using bedrock mitigation strategies, the parochial system believes it’s kept kids safer in schools than they would’ve been in the outside world. They’re determined to keep it that way.

“We’re gonna hold the course until June,” said Andrew McLaughlin, the archdiocese’s secretary of elementary education.

March 1, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , . COVID-19, Education, Unions. 2 comments.

Matt Meyer, the president of the Berkeley teachers union, says it’s too dangerous to open the public schools. But Meyer was just filmed taking his own daughter to a private school. I never trust anyone who isn’t willing to live under the same rules that they expect everyone else to live under. Clearly, the real reason for keeping the public schools closed has nothing to do with safety.

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

March 1, 2021

As I’ve said many times before, I never trust anyone who isn’t willing to live under the same rules that they expect everyone else to live under.

Matt Meyer, the president of the Berkeley teachers union, says it’s too dangerous to open the public schools.

But Meyer was just filmed taking his own daughter to a private school.

Clearly, the real reason for keeping the public schools closed has nothing to do with safety.

This from the the San Francisco affiliate of PBS:

https://www.kqed.org/news/11862469/after-leading-school-closures-berkeley-teachers-union-president-spotted-dropping-daughter-off-at-in-person-preschool

After Leading School Closures, Berkeley Teachers Union President Spotted Dropping Daughter Off at In-Person Preschool

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

February 28, 2021

Parent groups are crying “hypocrisy” after a video surfaced showing the president of the Berkeley teachers union dropping off his 2-year-old daughter at an in-person preschool.

Matt Meyer, president of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, has fought for what he called the “gold standard” for the teachers he represents — saying Berkeley schools should only reopen to in-person learning when educators are vaccinated, among other criteria.

A tentative plan between the Berkeley Unified School District and Berkeley Federation of Teachers in mid-February would see preschoolers through second grade returning to class at the end of March and other grades staggering back to in-person learning through April, according to Berkeleyside.

But some Berkeley parents have claimed that the union is moving too slow and are pushing for earlier school reopenings. They have long argued — and the Center For Disease Control and Prevention has agreed — that schools are safe to reopen without vaccinations for all teachers.

Looking to prove a double-standard by the Berkeley Federation of Teachers union president, they followed Meyer and his 2-year-old daughter to her preschool, camera in hand. The footage they captured has ignited the ire of parents groups fighting teachers unions — and Meyer in particular.

“It’s completely opposite of what he’s pushing,” said Jonathan Zachreson, the founder of Reopen California Schools, which counts Berkeley parents among many of its members. “So why is that safe for him and those people who work there (at the preschool), but not for all of the kids in Berkeley Unified and the teachers? The answer is: It is safe.”

March 1, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . COVID-19, Education, Unions. Leave a comment.

Los Angeles teachers’ unions tried to shut down a South Central charter school that had been very successful at teaching low-income black and Hispanic students

In my opinion, successful schools should not be shut down.

Instead, they should be copied.

Every child should be allowed to attend a school as good as this one.

The fact that the teachers’ union tried to shut down this successful school, instead of copying it, is despicable.

This is the complete article from the Wall St. Journal:

https://web.archive.org/web/20081014175429/http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122394095677630803.html

Charter Success in L.A.

School choice in South Central.

October 14, 2008

With economic issues sucking up so much political oxygen this year, K-12 education hasn’t received the attention it deserves from either Presidential candidate. The good news is that school reformers at the local level continue to push forward.

This month the Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF), a charter school network in Los Angeles, announced plans to expand the number of public charter schools in the city’s South Central section, which includes some of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in the country. Over the next four years, the number of ICEF charters will grow to 35 from 13. Eventually, the schools will enroll one in four students in the community, including more than half of the high school students.

The demand for more educational choice in predominantly minority South Los Angeles is pronounced. The waitlist for existing ICEF schools has at times exceeded 6,000 kids. And no wonder. Like KIPP, Green Dot and other charter school networks that aren’t constrained by union rules on staffing and curriculum, ICEF has an excellent track record, particularly with black and Hispanic students. In reading and math tests, ICEF charters regularly outperform surrounding traditional public schools as well as other Los Angeles public schools.

ICEF has been operating since 1994, and its flagship school has now graduated two classes, with 100% of the students accepted to college. By contrast, a state study released in July reported that one in three students in the L.A. public school system — including 42% of black students — quits before graduating, a number that has grown by 80% in the past five years.

Despite this success, powerful unions like the California Teachers Association and its political backers continue to oppose school choice for disadvantaged families. Last year, Democratic state lawmakers, led by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, tried to force Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign a bill that would have made opening a new charter school in the state next to impossible. Mr. Nunez backed down after loud protests from parents in poorer neighborhoods.

School reformers in New York, Ohio, Florida, Connecticut, Utah and Arizona have faced similar challenges of late. Last year in Texas, where 81% of charter school students are minorities (versus 60% in traditional public schools), nearly 17,000 students had to be placed on charter waiting lists. Texas is currently bumping up against an arbitrary cap on the number of charters that can open in the state. Unless the cap is lifted by state lawmakers, thousands of low-income Texas children will remain stuck in ineffective schools.

Back in California, ICEF says that its ultimate goal is to produce 2,000 college graduates each year, in hopes that the graduates eventually will return to these underserved communities and help create a sustainable middle class. Given that fewer than 10% of high-school freshmen in South Los Angeles currently go on to receive a college diploma, this is a huge challenge. Resistance from charter school opponents won’t make it any easier.

February 24, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Unions. 1 comment.

California’s AB-5 destroyed many freelance jobs. Now Democrats want to expand the policy to the entire country.

A proposed new federal law is modeled after California’s AB-5. You can read about it here:

https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/538505-the-pro-acts-abc-test-fails-american-workers

Joe Biden supports making the policy nationwide:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickgleason/2020/07/07/joe-biden-endorses-california-law-doing-harm-to-freelancers-which-democrats-hope-to-impose-nationwide/

After many news reports of AB-5 destroying jobs in California, Lorena Gonzalez, the California politician who created AB-5, says the jobs that got destroyed were “not good jobs to begin with.”

https://www.kusi.com/assemblywoman-lorena-gonzalez-fletcher-responds-to-californians-hurt-by-ab-5/

Here are some examples of the devastation that the law caused in California:

California’s AB 5 kills off 40-year Lake Tahoe Music Festival

https://californiaglobe.com/section-2/californias-ab-5-kills-off-40-year-lake-tahoe-music-festival/

California Wedding Industry Turned ‘On Top of Its Head’ by Freelancing Law

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:OolG5bsqcVoJ:https://www.theepochtimes.com/california-wedding-industry-turned-on-top-of-its-head-by-freelancing-law_3222935.html+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

The Young Turks: New Law Could DESTROY Independent Music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwpx-8Rl7lM

Vox praised AB-5 for allegedly making workers better off. But a few months later, Vox laid off hundreds of its own writers in response to the very same law.

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:q2hpHWVNK1IJ:https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/19/how-law-aimed-uber-lyft-is-hurting-freelance-writers/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

AB-5 limits freelance journalists to 35 pieces per year for any given publication

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/california-freelance-journalists-sue-over-204250896.html

The Devastating Impact of AB5 on People with Disabilities and Their Families

https://medium.com/@staceybiro/the-devastating-impact-of-ab5-on-people-with-disabilities-and-their-families-fae1b47a76ec

February 21, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Economics, Joe Biden, Unions. Leave a comment.

A progressive parent’s rant about the politics surrounding school reopening

https://rmbodenheimer.medium.com/a-progressive-parents-rant-about-the-politics-surrounding-school-reopening-a816cae963fd

A progressive parent’s rant about the politics surrounding school reopening

By Rebecca Bodenheimer, PhD

February 12, 2021

I think we’re at a crucial point in this debate on school reopening right now. Case rates are dropping quickly, the surge is over, and people are starting to get vaccinated — though way too slowly of course. The public health community, including the CDC, have reached consensus that reopening schools is an urgent priority (instead of citing all my sources, I’m going to do more of a free-write here, so feel free to reach out if you want me to cite a source for anything I write here).

This is because the harms of prolonged school closure vastly outnumber the risk of COVID. It’s not only learning loss among public school kids (mostly in urban areas), though that will of course have long-term implications, especially for teenagers who really need to get decent grades to be able to get into college but who are flunking classes at astronomical rates. Remember also that they’ll have to compete against private school kids, who are having a much more normal school year.

More importantly, it’s our our kids’ mental health that’s the real emergency. A few weeks ago the New York Times published a devastating piece about the rise in student suicides in Las Vegas and how that got the superintendent to open schools. All over the country, mental health emergencies and hospital visits by kids are skyrocketing. The prolonged isolation, depression and anxiety that stem from learning by yourself on a computer all day are taking a massive toll on kids who haven’t seen the inside of a school for almost a year!

I just don’t know how anyone can sit by and think this is an acceptable state of affairs for a developed country — it just makes my blood boil to see how little this country cares about kids. All of Europe has done the right thing — schools are last to close, first to open. It’s simply not a political stance in Europe (as it is here) to say we need to reopen schools for the sake of kids wellbeing and emotional and academic development.

The politicization of this issue is what’s really fucked up. Schools are largely open in red states and closed in blue ones (see below for a devastating graphic). It’s very difficult for me to understand the simplistic thinking that says: Trump said open schools, so we must keep them closed at all costs. I have never felt so alienated from the people I usually align myself with politically. I will never understand how the left in this country has decided that advocating for putting kids first is somehow right-wing. I’m hearing from progressive parents all the time who are so infuriated about the Democratic apathy around school reopening — from politicians like Gavin Newsom, who are willing to allow their stances to be dictated by teachers’ unions — that they’re considering supporting the recall effort, maybe even switching parties.

Because here’s the thing: parents are not willing to sacrifice their kids’ wellbeing for the sake of ideology or being a good leftist. And they shouldn’t. It’s our most important job to do what’s best for our kids. And if that means calling out teachers’ unions, so be it. I won’t stay silent while unions ignore the science and the entire public health community, and all the research telling us schools aren’t drivers of transmission, that spread is much lower in schools than in the surrounding community. Last March we didn’t know any better. But now we know — and we’ve known for months. Europe opened up in the fall. Florida, Texas, all the red states opened up. Rhode Island was one of the few blue states that was committed to putting kids first. Can you remember even one major outbreak that was tied to school transmission (not a handful of cases, but an outbreak)? I can’t. And teachers aren’t at greater risk either.

Many of the parents I’m working with on this issue see themselves as progressive and have until now supported organized labor and unions (I myself went to the picket line for Oakland teachers 2 years ago), but it’s so clear to us that teachers’ unions are dead wrong on this issue and that their interests are diametrically opposed to what’s best for our kids. Your own kid might be doing ok in remote learning, but by and large, kids aren’t doing well. Mine sure isn’t. Just remember: the principles of child development haven’t just vanished because we’re in a pandemic. It’s still not good to have our kids in front of the screen for hours upon hours every day. Kids still need to learn alongside other kids and still need to play with other kids. What I’m saying is, there’s no amount of improvement of distance learning you can do that will make it be a good platform for learning.

Now, here’s where I’m gonna go in hard on the unions. NOT the teachers, but the unions. I know there are many teachers who don’t feel the union represents them on this. And to that point, here are some amazing examples of brave teachers who have spoken out to say that blocking reopening is morally wrong.

Fantastic op-ed by NYC teacher

This YouTube video of a CA teacher calling out her union at a school board meeting is a must-watch

Another op-ed by Baltimore teacher

Great recent piece in SF Chronicle about SF teachers who have been afraid to speak up until now

I’ve seen a culture of shaming here in Oakland that surrounds any critique of the union, so it’s very hard for teachers to take this public stance and say the union is wrong, but more and more simply can’t in good conscience pretend this isn’t harming kids. I know distance learning is very hard on teachers as well as kids, which is why I can’t understand why so many are allowing their unfounded fear to blind them to the data and research that says schools can reopen safely.

I’ve seen the most absurd justifications from unions and their allies for why we shouldn’t reopen schools, like denying there’s any learning loss associated with distance learning or suggesting parents can be adequate substitutes for teachers (SF school board president Gabriela Lopez). I mean, it’s so incredibly tone-deaf and ridiculous: they are devaluing their own profession just so as not to go back to the classroom! If parents or anyone else could fill in so easily, why should we pay teachers more? Why should we value them as professionals? Real valuing of your profession means admitting remote learning is a poor substitute for face-to-face, interpersonal contact and that parents can’t do teachers’ jobs, and trying to get back to that as soon as possible.

Oh, and don’t get me started on the SF school board and the way they just pushed through renaming of 44 schools (which will cost a ton of money) and (just last night) made a rash, unpopular decision to change Lowell’s admission process, all while even the youngest kids haven’t gone back to the classroom! They’re so incredibly out of touch with the reality of public school families right now that it took a lawsuit to light a fire under their asses! And no, the agreed upon deal with SF teacher’s union isn’t good enough because there’s no reopening date.

California says schools can reopen once cases are less than 25 per 100K people (ie, in the purple tier), but the deal says either SF has to be in red tier with all school staff vaccinated or in the orange tier (unlikely for this school year, which is exactly what unions want). And if you think fall 2021 is safe for full reopening, think again. They will likely argue for hybrid/2 days a week even when all adults are vaccinated. These demands, which SFUSD should never have agreed to, are completely out of touch with the state and county public health guidelines — that we can open K-6th grade in places like SF right now (SF is currently at about 11.5 cases per 100K). As for older kids, we have no idea if teachers will even agree to go back to middle/high school in the fall at all.

I just want you all to understand that reaching a deal doesn’t mean reopening will be happening soon. In contrast, NYC elementary schools have been open since November and they’re now planning for reopening middle schools, Chicago’s union (which had an incredibly bitter fight with the district) just reached a deal to go back later this month, Miami has been open this whole damn time! The Bay Area/California isn’t special — the only difference is that our unions are incredibly powerful and have been able to hold our kids’ education hostage.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at this graphic that someone shared on Twitter a few days ago. I can’t explain how depressed and enraged it made me feel to see in these stark visual terms how my home state (and the entire west coast) is failing its kids so miserably. I’ve never felt ashamed of California until now, that its leaders care more about appeasing unions (one of the most powerful lobbies in the state) than about the wellbeing of kids.

Other things that have made me flip my lid about this situation: teachers unions are demanding vaccinations before going back to school — last month, some here in SF and Oakland were even saying vaccinations wouldn’t be enough to get them back to the classroom! No other essential worker has had the privilege to demand this — and this has been a real slap in the face to all the essential workers (like my spouse) who have been going to their workplace for 11 months with no vaccine and who aren’t being prioritized like teachers are.

It is this particular stance that has really alienated many other essential workers, particularly those who work on the front lines — the fact that teachers in blue states have been so incredibly protected during this pandemic, while all others have not had the privilege to demand this. So I don’t ever wanna hear again about teachers being “underdogs” or having no power — unions contribute millions to Dem politicians and that’s why people like Newsom and Biden have been so damn weak on this issue and put kids last (all while Newsom’s own kids attend private school in-person). Unions are a behemoth in California and parents are the only group of people advocating for our kids needs. No one else is gonna do it.

I also want to bring up an ugly aspect of this whole debate: the ways unions have played the race card and presumed to speak for Black and Brown families. As an advocate for reopening schools I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen union reps and supporters say it’s only white, wealthy parents who want to reopen and that we are racist to want this. First, it is false that only white parents want to reopen. White parents do tend to trust the school districts more than Black and Latino families do, with good reason — white kids get treated better and go to better funded schools. So naturally, we tend to favor reopening, as we trust it can be done safely.

However, we can’t just ignore the role of white teachers in this dynamic. In this country, teachers are around 80% white — something people don’t talk about. So why is it that when white parents support reopening it’s racist and we don’t care about Black and Brown kids (which, PS, my own kid isn’t white!), but when mostly white teachers unions advocate for their interests, they’re representing what Black and brown families want? The reality is, neither white parents nor white teachers can speak for Black and Latino families, many of whom have their own reasons for not wanting to send their kids back (like having experienced COVID close-up or not trusting school system to put into place adequate safety measures). And yet, they’re not a monolith either — many want and need their kids back in school. Our family survey here in Oakland indicated that Black and Latino families were evenly split between three choices: 1/3 wanted to send kids back, 1/3 didn’t, and 1/3 wasn’t sure. The unions interpret this as “a majority of Black and Latino families don’t want to go back,” but as should be clear, that’s a distortion. Their voices are drowned out by unions insisting they speak for marginalized families.

But don’t take it from me. Watch this incredible statement by a Chicago-based Latina sociologist and mom about the ways unions have cynically played the race card:

https://twitter.com/karenvaites/status/1355947764027420680

Lastly, I just want to say: many parents feel absolutely betrayed by teachers unions. I think they’re making a massive miscalculation with these rigid, stances not backed up by any data and demands that go way beyond what their public health officials are suggesting. What they’re doing right now is incredibly myopic. They are handing thousands and thousands of parents over to private/parochial schools or charter schools, and are paving the way for a major decimation of public education. Parents will never choose ideological loyalty over their kids and the more unions dig in their heels, the angrier parents get. Many have already fled public ed. Some who could never have fathomed sending their kids to private school are considering it now. Families with means (and even those who don’t but will take out loans) will leave in droves. I don’t understand how unions don’t see this — the only explanation I can find is that they’re so ensconced in their ideological bubble that they’re blind to the reality of what’s going on.

Friends, I’ve never spent so much unpaid labor and time advocating for an issue and I’ve never been so convinced that I was doing the right thing — not just for my own kid, but for all kids. Nothing has made me want to leave this country more than this issue, especially as I’ve seen all of Europe put kids first. How can we possibly accept that most kids in private schools are back in their classrooms while public school kids suffer from depression and fall behind? How can we think it’s ok for urban districts with majority Brown and Black kids to abandon their duty to these kids for going on a year and possibly much longer, all because teachers unions refuse to do what all other essential workers have done for 11 months? There is no such thing as zero risk (what they’re demanding), and a harm reduction approach means we must do what’s best for the most people, which is to open schools.

Lastly, for those of you parents who don’t want to send your kids back yet for whatever reason: we have no desire to force you to go back. We honestly don’t care if you decide to stay remote — that’s your decision. But to side with the unions and advocate for keeping schools closed until the teachers “feel” it’s safe (which is a constantly moving goal post), and NOT when public health officials decide it’s safe (as they already have) is actively harmful to kids, and frankly selfish. You will continue to have a choice — so give us the choice as well to send our kids back to school.

February 20, 2021. Tags: , , , . COVID-19, Education, Unions. Leave a comment.

Even after getting vaccinated, teachers union in Fairfax County, Virginia refuses to go back to work

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:zqczWNa_yuoJ:https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/25/fairfax-county-should-open-schools-or-stop-vaccinating-teachers/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Fairfax County should open schools or stop vaccinating teachers

By Rory Cooper

January 25, 2021

The Fairfax County school system demanded and then received high-priority placement for teachers and administrators to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Those vaccines began a week ago, and, according to the Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand, 5,000 teachers have received their first dose and an additional 22,000 teachers are registered to receive their first dose soon.
 
And yet, having jumped to the front of the vaccine line, Brabrand, the FCPS School Board and the teachers union are delaying opening schools. That raises the question of why they have the priority placement to begin with, and whether these vaccinations should be immediately halted so that high-risk individuals or public servants who have been working outside of their homes for the entirety of the year have access.

There is simply no common-sense explanation for vaccinating teachers ahead of other high-risk groups if they refuse to return to full-time in-person learning. The simple truth is that the Fairfax school system wants the benefits of heroism without taking a heroic action.

At the Jan. 21 school board meeting, Fairfax Education Association President Kimberly Adams said she received her first vaccine dose on Jan. 14, two days ahead of the scheduled start for school personnel. She has said that her union would not support a return to full-time education even in the fall. The fall. As in September 2021. Nine months after she was vaccinated.

The union says that all students must also be vaccinated. Never mind that no current vaccine has been approved for use on children under the age of 14. Adams also wants 14 days of zero community spread. Neither of these goals is likely to occur this calendar year. The excuses pile up faster than the half-inch of snow that typically shuts down school operations.

Students are struggling. They have been locked out of schools for nearly a year now. Children with learning disabilities have had little to no support. Special-needs children were turned away from a hybrid return by the union. Kindergartners have never seen their schools. Return dates have been continually pushed back, usually the night before a return was scheduled, resulting in a few tears shed in our home (by the kids, too).

Academically, students are struggling. The data shows that decisively. Emotionally, they’re struggling. Sadly, the data also shows that decisively, and parents are seeing it. Real harm is being caused to them, and it’s by the people meant to look out for them. And they want that harm to continue for another year.

Typically, when the school opening debate is had, union allies line up to accuse parents of wanting teachers to get sick or wanting increased community spread. Or they selfishly accuse parents of wanting a day care not an education. These insulting and bad-faith arguments are not supported by science or medical, pediatric and pandemic experts who almost universally say schools should be open for public health purposes.

Schools are indeed open all across this country five days a week. Teachers without vaccines in public schools elsewhere, or private schools right here in Fairfax County, are working every day with reasonable mitigation efforts and with very little negative consequence. A valid question is whether these teachers who have been in-person for months or the entire year have also been skipped in the vaccination line by the Fairfax teachers union.

Last week, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced that his state is prepared to take all available legislative and legal action to get schools reopened in the next several weeks. He was, of course, attacked by unions in his own state. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and Fairfax County Chairman Jeffrey McKay (D) continue to hide from this issue altogether and must hope that people simply forget that we even have a governor or county government.

It bears repeating that Fairfax County schools are some of the best-funded schools in our nation. They have had a year to make plans and use their incredible resources to open schools. Instead they have done very little to that effect, leaning on their four-day-a-week schedule of laptop time. And this funding is at risk because taxpaying parents are voting with their feet and are either begging for entry to private schools or leaving the county altogether.

The school board, under threat of recall by several parent groups, has shown itself to be completely unprepared and unwilling to execute their positions responsibly. Voters should sign recall petitions and remember their incompetence at the ballot box.

Countless people with serious health risks may not see a vaccine for months. They were told to wait for the teachers. And now school administrators simply don’t want to make good on the promise of their position in the vaccine line. It’s time to open the schools full time or get new administrators. Really, we should do both.

January 27, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . COVID-19, Education, Unions. Leave a comment.

3 Unions That Endorsed Biden Seem Like They’re Already Regretting It

https://www.westernjournal.com/3-unions-endorsed-biden-seem-like-already-regretting/

3 Unions That Endorsed Biden Seem Like They’re Already Regretting It

By Erin Coates

January 22, 2021

Three unions seemed to be regretting endorsing President Joe Biden after his first day in office.

Biden revoked the construction permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline on Wednesday, destroying thousands of union jobs.

“Leaving the Keystone XL pipeline permit in place would not be consistent with my Administration’s economic and climate imperatives,” Biden said, according to The Associated Press.

Keystone XL President Richard Prior said more than 1,000 unionized jobs would also be eliminated in the next few weeks as it slowly shuts down the construction of the 1,700-mile pipeline.

https://twitter.com/660NEWS/status/1352272270060900355

The United Association of Union Plumbers was one group that endorsed Biden last year, saying he would help it “win more work with good wages and benefits.”

“This endorsement is about putting UA members to work and fighting for fair wages and good benefits,” General President Mark McManus said in August.

https://twitter.com/UAPipeTrades/status/1295490141402861574

Less than a year later, the union has expressed disappointment in Biden.

“In revoking this permit, the Biden Administration has chosen to listen to the voices of fringe activists instead of union members and the American consumer on Day 1,” McManus said in a statement.

“Sadly, the Biden Administration has now put thousands of union workers out of work. For the average American family, it means energy costs will go up and communities will no longer see the local investments that come with pipeline construction.”

North America’s Building Trades Union, which also endorsed Biden last year, said it was “deeply disappointed” in the decision to revoke the permit.

“Environmental ideologues have now prevailed, and over a thousand union men and women have been terminated from employment on the project,” NATBU president Sean McGarvey said in a statement.

“On a historic day that is filled with hope and optimism for so many Americans and people around the world, tens of thousands of workers are left to wonder what the future holds for them.

“In the midst of a pandemic that has claimed 400 thousand American lives and has wreaked havoc on the economic security and standard of living of tens of millions more, we must all stand in their shoes and acknowledge the uncertainty and anxiety this government action has caused.”

The Laborers’ International Union of North America “proudly” endorsed Biden in September.

https://twitter.com/LIUNA/status/1302971085466611712

Four months later, the LIUNA called Biden’s decision to revoke the construction permit “insulting and disappointing.”

“We had hoped the new Administration would make a decision based on the facts as they are today, not as they were perceived years ago,” general president Terry O’Sullivan said in a statement.

https://twitter.com/GOP/status/1352304266405433347

“The Biden Administration’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit on day one of his presidency is both insulting and disappointing to the thousands of hard-working LIUNA members who will lose good-paying, middle class family-supporting jobs.

“By blocking this 100 percent union project, and pandering to environmental extremists, a thousand union jobs will immediately vanish and 10,000 additional jobs will be foregone.”

January 23, 2021. Tags: , , , , . Environmentalism, Joe Biden, Unions. Leave a comment.

Young Turks employees vote to unionize over Cenk Uygur’s strenuous objections

https://hotair.com/archives/john-s-2/2020/04/10/young-turks-employees-vote-unionize-cenk-uygurs-objections/

Young Turks employees vote to unionize over Cenk Uygur’s strenuous objections

April 10, 2020

The Young Turks is a progressive media company co-founded by Cenk Uygur. When a group of employees announced plans to form a union earlier this year, CEO Uygur suddenly started sounding like a conservative union-buster. He warned that a union couldn’t make a magic pot of money appear and begged employees to reconsider. Thursday, over his objections, the employees voted to unionize:

https://twitter.com/TYTUnion/status/1248448082666090497

Politico reports that before the vote took place Uygur wrote two letters, each more than 1,500 words, warning employees that having a union wouldn’t improve the company’s financial situation.

“Before IATSE came in, I think we used to have a great relationship with everyone at the company. But maybe I am Michael Scott and I thought we were friends and family but you never saw it that way,” Uygur wrote in an email to employees last week, as negotiations between the union and the company continued. “I’m hoping that isn’t the case, that some folks got you to believe that being adversarial with ‘management’ is the right thing to do.”…

In another email Uygur sent to staffers before their vote began earlier this week, he again urged his employees to vote “no” — using arguments that several staffers characterized as typical anti-union talking points often deployed by Republicans.

“[T]here is no magic that creates more money by having a union, especially at a company that does not yet make a profit,” Uygur wrote. “One of the top concerns I have is that having a union will cost us too much money — and that will not only endanger the company but also leave less for all of us,” he wrote…

“I don’t know where I go to get my reputation back,” Uygur wrote in one of his emails arguing against unionization sent last week. “Some portion of people will now forever know me as a union-buster, and much worse, as a boss who treats his employees poorly. So, if you wanted to do that damage, you already have.”

Uygur spoke to Politico about the letters and said he believed every word and didn’t mind them being made public. But, really, what is he going to say at this point? He lost the vote and all he can do now is try to make the best of what he clearly believes is a bad situation.

And that is what he really believes. Back in February, when the announcement to pursue unionization was made, Uygur reportedly became emotional, throwing papers off his desk onto the floor. The fact that he was still writing long emails to employees begging them to vote against unionization this week suggests he’s had the same anti-union opinion all along.

Wouldn’t it be something if this progressive standard-bearer went on his show and admitted what he really thinks? I’m no fan of Uygur, but if he could just do a segment pointing out how this decision puts his company at risk, I’d give him some credit. But he won’t do that. He’ll pretend that unions are a great thing in general, just not in his unique case. And what makes his case unique? Unlike other small businesses his company has, get this, limited resources. He really seems to imagine that’s not the case anywhere else.

April 10, 2020. Tags: , , , . Unions. 1 comment.

The Young Turks: New Law Could DESTROY Independent Music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwpx-8Rl7lM

 

March 17, 2020. Tags: , , , , . Unions. Leave a comment.

California Wedding Industry Turned ‘On Top of Its Head’ by Freelancing Law

https://www.theepochtimes.com/california-wedding-industry-turned-on-top-of-its-head-by-freelancing-law_3222935.html

California Wedding Industry Turned ‘On Top of Its Head’ by Freelancing Law

By Jamie Joseph

January 31, 2020

TEMECULA, Calif.—Temecula-based destination wedding and event planner Michelle Garibay has run her business for the past 14 years without employees. Garibay has appeared in some of the nation’s most prestigious bridal magazines, including Style Me Pretty, The Knot, and Southern California Bride.

However, Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) has impeded her latest business operations, along with many others in her industry who use independent contractors. AB5 essentially prohibits freelance work, with a few exceptions; it mandates that businesses hire employees instead of paying contractors.

“This industry isn’t well suited to having employees, because the work isn’t steady,” Garibay said. “And the contractors I have working for me have their own businesses as well, and they’re moms with kids—they left full-time employment to be able to have the freedom to work as a contractor.”

In effect since Jan. 1, AB5 was passed by lawmakers in September to clarify a 2018 case, Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County. Lawmakers intended for the bill to protect employees from companies that label them as independent contractors to avoid giving them the benefits due to employees.

But the bill has had a collateral effect on small business owners and independent freelancers who have made this business model their livelihood.

“A lot of the businesses in the wedding industry are women-owned,” Garibay said. “This is a female-dominated industry, so it takes away our freedom. It really does negatively impact the women in the workforce who want the freedom to work at home and be with their families.”

The law was originally backed by unionized gig-economy workers, such as those working for ride-share companies Uber and Lyft. One of the main writers of the bill, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), has received both praise and criticism for the bill.

“I’m sorry you feel that way. This is not a bad bill. Without it there would be no ability to freelancers to work under Dynamex. Also, thousands of workers would not have the protections they need. You want changes, that doesn’t mean the bill is bad.”

— Lorena (@LorenaSGonzalez) December 13, 2019

Due to the outcry and lawsuits from business owners and contractors in various industries, lawmakers are scrambling to write in exemptions. Earlier this month, Governor Gavin Newsom allotted $20 million in his proposed 2020 budget to enforce AB5.

Like many freelance-dominated industries, the wedding industry does not have a traditional work schedule.

Owners of small-scale wedding businesses hire contractors based on each wedding’s specific needs, Garibay said. It depends on the scale of the event. Both Garibay and her freelance workers are uninterested in forging a permanent employment contract, since those workers also have their own businesses.

When Garibay first heard about the bill, her reaction was to think about her team and “how unwelcoming this news would be.”

“They don’t want to be employees, they left full time jobs to do what they do now,” Garibay said.

Regarding the business owners who will have to hire their contractors as employees, Garibay said, “My heart goes out to those people who are going to be forced to bring in so much more [money] in order to pay the taxes that full employment requires.”

Small business owners in California already pay a lot of tax, and they will have to pay more to cover a portion of their employees’ taxes if they hire their freelancers.

California imposes both business and personal income taxes on small business owners who establish limited liability companies (LLCs), creating a double taxation on pass-through net income and the business itself.

Virtually all businesses in California are subject to at least one of three state income taxes on businesses: a corporate tax, a franchise tax, and an alternative minimum tax. Sometimes, small businesses are subject to all three.

To pay all these taxes, plus the added costs of hiring freelancers as employees, small business owners would have to increase their prices, Garibay said.

“This state is not very small-business friendly,” she said. “This is our main source of income to put food on the table for our families. It’s really cost-prohibitive when the state starts demanding that we now hire these people as employees because it’s going to completely throw this industry on top of its head.”

According to attorney Braden Drake, there’s an exception for business-to-business relationships within AB5 and there will likely be more exceptions carved out in coming months. However, in the wedding business freelancers who own their own businesses would not be exempted; they are hired for one day by the couple getting married, rather than another business.

Drake is working with small business owners to help them navigate the future of their businesses with AB5 in mind. “I’m trying to guide those business owners on how to meet those exceptions,” Drake said.

“We don’t know yet if they are going to enforce the law on California businesses who start hiring contractors outside of California,” Drake said. “What could happen is businesses could decide to relocate outside of California.”

Conversely, there are businesses in other states who are now refusing to work with freelancers in California, Drake said.

Small business owner Carla Kayes, a wedding and event florist in Riverside County—who has also been in the wedding industry for 14 years—is concerned about the industry’s future. Kayes has three part-time employees, but often hires freelance florists for high-end gigs, and said she was “sick to her stomach” when she first heard about the bill.

AB5 is “very unsustainable for my business,” Kayes said. “It’s kind of wiped out a whole industry of people here, and now people are hiring from out of state to get around it. The people that are in the state aren’t working. Literally everyone I know who is in wedding and events, they have to use freelancers consistently. It affects everyone.”

The freelancers Kayes hires “have their own floral businesses as well and fill in with work when they don’t have their own client bookings,” she said.

She plans to convert one of her freelance workers into a full-time employee, but can’t afford to convert more than one. Luxury wedding florists in Orange County, San Francisco, and more affluent cities who have to raise their prices to cover employee costs, presumably won’t experience a major negative impact, Kayes said.

“But for someone like me, who lives in Temecula, people are going to look at my work and say, ‘Oh, I can’t afford that,’” she said. “I think the lawmakers were completely unaware. I completely get the Dynamex case, and I think the employees winning that case were right, but I don’t think the lawmakers even knew how many industries would be affected.”

March 17, 2020. Tags: , , , , , . Unions. Leave a comment.

California’s AB 5 kills off 40-year Lake Tahoe Music Festival

https://californiaglobe.com/section-2/californias-ab-5-kills-off-40-year-lake-tahoe-music-festival/

California’s AB 5 kills off 40-year Lake Tahoe Music Festival

Another casualty in the quest to ‘save’ workers from ‘misclassification’

By Katy Grimes

March 1, 2020

California’s AB 5 has taken another life: The new law has now killed off the 40-year old Lake Tahoe Music Festival.

“After 40+ years of classical music concerts offered outside with family and friends, the Lake Tahoe Music Festival will call a wrap to our summer festival with two performances in August of 2020,” the official festival website says. The Festival also posted the announcement on their Facebook page.

Assembly Bill 5 by former labor leader Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), has already significantly limited Californians’ ability to work as independent contractors and freelancers. It was revealed during Senate debate in September that the AFL-CIO wrote AB 5.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that AB 5 has already affected more than 1 million independent contractor and freelance working Californians.

Gonzalez can now add one more casualty to the growing list of 300+ industries impacted by the new law.

The Lake Tahoe Music Festival explained their decision:

New CA employment law AB-5 requirements add to the challenge of meeting our financial goals and create the final stressor on our small non-profit organization. For several years we have experienced the same slowly eroding philanthropic support of cultural life faced by other small arts organizations in our state. We now join many who also face increased uncertainty regarding employment costs and infrastructure needs associated with AB-5. So we will bring our festival to a close with pride in our long-time contribution to community life in North Tahoe and Truckee.

How is this “protecting” workers?

The new law, effective January 1, 2020, was passed under the guise of protecting “misclassified” employees. Instead, the law has caused thousands of freelance journalists, musicians, actors, Uber and Lyft drivers, and  millions of gig workers, to suddenly find themselves out of work.

Gonzalez and Democrats who supported AB 5 say the “unintended” consequences of the law now need legislative fixes. But that’s bunk. California Globe attended the legislative committee hearings on AB 5, and witnessed how lawmakers were warned over and over by hundreds of freelance and independent contractors of the consequences.

But California’s Democrats’ devotion to Big Labor Unions always wins.

While Gonzalez has finally reluctantly acknowledged that freelance journalists and photographers will get an exemption from AB 5 and its randomly chosen 35 freelance articles per year, there are now more than 30 bills in the Legislature changing or removing aspects of the law — at what cost? This was totally unnecessary.

Most recently, AB 1850, authored by AB 5 backer Assemblywoman Gonzalez, would exempt freelance and independent contractor writers and photographers and remove the controversial ’35 content submissions a year’ rule, California Globe reported. Assemblywoman Gonzalez and other lawmakers had been considering such changes since December of last year, before AB 5 was even law. So they knew this was a disaster-in-waiting.

Thursday morning, the the California Assembly rejected a motion by Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) to suspend AB 5 while corrective legislation is under consideration. Kiley’s Assembly Bill 1928 is an urgency measure to repeal AB 5 and would return the legal standard for independent contracting to what it was for decades before AB 5 and the Dynamex decision. Kiley proposed the Legislature suspend those recent changes pending further legislative consideration, but his bill was voted down by Democrats.

March 17, 2020. Tags: , , , , , . Unions. Leave a comment.

The Young Turks’ Progressive Founder Urged His Staff Not To Unionize

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-young-turks-progressive-founder-urged-his-staff-not-to-unionize_n_5e540686c5b6ad3de3823a32

The Young Turks’ Progressive Founder Urged His Staff Not To Unionize

In a tense meeting with employees, Cenk Uygur argued that a union doesn’t belong at a small news network struggling to make profits.

February 24, 2020

Top leadership at the progressive news network The Young Turks held an all-staff meeting at its office in Culver City, California, on Feb. 12. The regularly scheduled gathering was supposed to deal with personnel matters, but instead the focus turned to the staff’s nascent union campaign, which had just gone public.

Earlier that day, a Twitter handle claiming to represent TYT employees had announced on the social media platform their intention to form a union. In the staff meeting, the network’s co-founder and influential host, Cenk Uygur, urged employees not to do so, arguing that a union does not belong at a small, independent outlet like TYT, according to two workers who were present. He said if there had been a union at the network it would not have grown the way it has.

His talk ― at times emotional, the staffers said, with Uygur throwing his papers to the ground at one point, and chastising an employee ― seemed to contradict the progressive, worker-first ethos that TYT broadcasts to its millions of lefty followers. Jack Gerard, who is acting as the company’s chief operating officer as Uygur runs for Congress in California, told the staff they were not discouraging unionization.

But the message from Uygur was clear ― and, to at least some staffers, discouraging.

“We generally feel disappointed, but unshaken,” said one staffer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. “We feel it’s the right thing to do because of what TYT values.”

In an interview with HuffPost, Uygur said he is a strong supporter of unions, especially at large corporations that aren’t sharing profits with their workers. But he said he worries a unionized workforce would bring new legal and bureaucratic costs that TYT can’t sustain. The network has a growing subscription base and has raised venture capital money, but faces many of the same headwinds as other online media dealing with the collapse of ad revenue.

“The reality is we’re in a precarious position,” Uygur said. “We’re in a digital media landscape where almost no one makes money or is sustainable.”
He added, “For a smaller digital media company, those are absolutely real considerations. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a union. Everyone should know the full context … If folks say they don’t believe we’re in a precarious position, OK. And that’s their decision to make.”

Uygur said he was caught off guard by the union effort that appeared on Twitter the day of the meeting, and that it was so early in the process he wasn’t sure if it was real or if he was “being punked.” He acknowledged that he threw papers in the meeting ― in a downward direction, not toward anyone, he noted ― and that he reprimanded an employee whom he believed to be smiling. According to staffers, Ugyer said it would be funny “later” — an ominous statement they found unsettling. He told HuffPost it wasn’t meant to be a threat.

“The person smiling seemed to be openly mocking the idea that the company might not survive after 18 years. And we put all this blood, sweat and tears into it,” he said. “I don’t find the idea of us going down funny.”

Media has become fertile ground for union organizing in recent years, with workers at both old, legacy newspapers and newer, web-only outlets seeking the protections of a collective bargaining agreement. The union push has made for some awkwardness at organizations with liberal reputations, where management may resist collective bargaining despite overseeing labor-friendly coverage.

The campaign at TYT comes with another wrinkle: Uygur’s attempt to fill the Congressional seat vacated by former Rep. Katie Hill, a Democrat who resigned in October amid an ethics probe into her relationship with a staffer. Uygur is running to the left in the Democratic primary. The front-runner, Christy Smith, a California assemblywoman, generally has the backing of the party establishment and many labor unions.

As the union spat became more public, Uygur suggested on Twitter that the union campaign was politically motivated by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the union trying to organize TYT employees. IATSE endorsed Smith in the race. But staffers said their first organizing discussions date back more than two years, and their recent attempt to round up support began shortly before Uygur declared his candidacy ― a timeline confirmed by a union organizer.

IATSE has asked TYT management to voluntarily recognize the union through “card check,” saying a clear majority of staffers who would be represented have signed union cards. That has often been the course at liberal media organizations, so staff can avoid the pressures of a union election. IATSE would represent the production and post-production staff ― about a quarter of the company’s 65-employee workforce.

But TYT management has proposed having the workers vote in a secret-ballot election to be administered by a third party, outside the National Labor Relations Board. Management has also disputed the union’s proposed bargaining unit, saying some of the employees should be considered managers.

Uygur told HuffPost he wants a secret-ballot election because a few employees told him after the meeting that they do not support a union ― “some, not all,” he said.

“Am I supposed to say, ‘I don’t care what you want?’” he said. “That’s crazy.”

In recent cases where liberal outlets have resisted a union drive, such as at Slate, employees have typically ended up unionizing anyway, either through an election or a public pressure campaign that wears down the employer. Uygur acknowledged his position on the union poses a political problem in his Congressional bid ― indeed, Smith has already dinged him for it ― but said he wants staff to know the potential downsides of unionizing.

“Look, at the end of the day, my opinion on it is irrelevant,” he said. “It’s the employees who get to decide and who should decide.”

The TYT staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity described support for the union as “a solid majority,” and said it hasn’t frayed despite the turmoil of the past week and a half. The staffer also said colleagues are insistent on the company recognizing the union without a secret-ballot election, and including all the staff they believe should be part of it. They expected plenty of disagreements in bargaining a contract, but not a fight over the formation of the union.

“We love the company,” the staffer said. “We’re just getting the company to live by its principles.”

February 25, 2020. Tags: , , , . Unions. Leave a comment.

Democrats Threaten to Skip Next Week’s Debate Over Union Dispute

https://www.yahoo.com/news/warren-sanders-yang-threaten-skip-191620412.html

Democrats Threaten to Skip Next Week’s Debate Over Union Dispute

December 13, 2019

All of the Democratic presidential candidates who have qualified for next week’s debate say they will skip the event rather than cross a planned picket line at the venue.

The seven candidates — Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang — all said Friday that they would not show up for the debate at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles next Thursday if the Unite Here Local 11 goes forward with its protest of food service contractor Sodexo SA.

The union, which represents about 150 Sodexo employees at the LMU campus, reached out to the campaigns on Friday to inform them they planned to demonstrate. The union and the food-services company have been negotiating for months but their talks stalled this week.

This is the second labor issue to complicate plans for the December debate. It had been set to be held at the University of California at Los Angeles’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. But the Democratic National Committee asked the debate’s media sponsors to find a new location because the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees demanded that the candidates to boycott it over a contract dispute involving patient care workers at the university’s hospital system.

“The DNC should find a solution that lives up to our party’s commitment to fight for working people,” Warren wrote on Twitter. “I will not cross the union’s picket line even if it means missing the debate.”

Biden said he would not cross a picket line and had to stand with the union’s members “for affordable health care and fair wages.”

Xochitl Hinjosa, the DNC’s communications director, said late Friday that the group’s chairman, Tom Perez, “would absolutely not cross a picket line and would never expect our candidates to either.” She added that the DNC was trying to find a solution that “will enable us to proceed as scheduled with next week’s debate.”

(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

December 16, 2019. Tags: , , , . Unions. Leave a comment.

Hypocrite labor unions are exempt from the very same local minimum wage laws that they helped to pass

Labor unions are responsible for passing local minimum wage laws in cities all over the U.S.

But in many of these cities, unions are exempt from the very same minimum wage laws that they helped to pass.

According to this article from the Washington Examiner, hypocrite unions are exempt from the local minimum wage laws in Chicago, Illinois, SeaTac, Washington, and Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, as well as the California cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Long Beach, San Jose, Richmond, and Oakland.

Why would unions support the passage of local minimum wage laws while simultaneously getting exemptions for themselves?

Something sinister must be going on. I don’t trust anyone who isn’t willing to live by the same rules that they expect everyone else to live under.

Apparently, the equal protection clause doesn’t apply to liberal hypocrites.

Shame on unions for not living by the same rules that they expect everyone else to follow.

December 31, 2018. Tags: , , , . Economics, Unions. Leave a comment.

Hypocrite liberals have rejected my challenge for them to buy a McDonald’s franchise and pay the workers $15 an hour

It’s been more than three years since I wrote the following:

I dare liberals to buy a McDonald’s franchise, and pay the workers $15 an hour

Liberals are always talking about how easy it would be for McDonald’s to pay its workers $15 an hour.

However, so far, no liberal has actually bought a McDonald’s franchise and paid those wages.

So, I dare liberals to prove that it’s as easy as they claim it is. I dare liberals to buy a McDonald’s franchise, and pay the workers $15 an hour.

Unfortunately, liberals have rejected my challenge.

 

May 24, 2017. Tags: , , , , , . Economics, Unions. 3 comments.

Italian court bans Uber because it’s BETTER than traditional taxis

Well this takes the cake. In Italy, a court has banned Uber.

Not because it’s dangerous.

And not because its customers were complaining about it.

Instead, the court banned Uber because – get this – it is BETTER than traditional taxis.

The legal term for this is “unfair competition.”

The complaint against Uber was filed by taxi driver unions.

I support unions when they do things that actually make sense, such as protecting the safety of coal miners.

I oppose unions when they do ridiculous things, such as trying to ban “unfair competition.”

If “unfair competition” was never allowed to exist, we would all be cavemen.

May 5, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Police state, Technology, Unions. Leave a comment.

Why are California Democrats against letting union members see how their mandatory union dues are being spent?

In California, the government uses taxpayers’ money to pay a crossing guard to work in an area where pedestrians never actually cross the street, because there is an underground tunnel for them to cross. This job is a concession to unions.

One union member wanted to see how her mandatory union dues were being spent. There was a vote, strictly across party lines, against opening up the union’s books for people to see.

What is in those book that the Democrats are so afraid of letting people see?

 

May 5, 2016. Tags: , , , , , . Government waste, Politics, Unions. 1 comment.

Social justice warriors harass fast food employee who is just trying to do her job

This one fast food employee has more work ethic, integrity, and respect, than all of these social justice warriors combined:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9trsPlvLnQ

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/04/15/fight-for-15-protesters-invade-fast-food-restaurant-invite-worker-to-go-on-strike-listen-to-her-instant-response/

‘Fight for 15′ Protesters Invade Fast Food Restaurant, Invite Worker to Go on ‘Strike’ — Just Watch How She Responds

April 15, 2016

A group of “Fight for 15” protesters invaded a Taco Bell restaurant in Austin, Texas, on Thursday and invited a worker to go on “strike” to demand more money and better working conditions.

The protesters’ message wasn’t well received by the employee, who said she just wanted to do her job.

After one protester informed her it was a “day of action,” the employee responded sharply, “This is also a job that I am trying to do.”

“Y’all are hindering my work, you may leave the building,” she added.

The apparent leader of the protest still finished his speech and invited her to go on “strike” and join the protest — but she didn’t seem interested in the least.

April 15, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Economics, Politics, Unions. Leave a comment.

Los Angeles unions that support $15 minimum wage want an exemption for themselves

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-los-angeles-minimum-wage-unions-20150526-story.html

L.A. labor leaders seek minimum wage exemption for firms with union workers

May 27, 2015

Labor leaders, who were among the strongest supporters of the citywide minimum wage increase approved last week by the Los Angeles City Council, are advocating last-minute changes to the law that could create an exemption for companies with unionized workforces.

The push to include an exception to the mandated wage increase for companies that let their employees collectively bargain was the latest unexpected detour as the city nears approval of its landmark legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

The City Council voted last week to gradually increase the hourly minimum wage to $15 over the next five years.

Last fall, the council approved an ordinance increasing the minimum wage at large hotels to $15.37 per hour. That law says that provisions of the hotel wage hike may be waived in workplaces that have collective bargaining agreements.

June 4, 2015. Tags: , , , , , , , . Economics, Politics, Unions. Leave a comment.

Would liberals please explain why union workplaces are exempt from SeaTac’s $15 minimum wage law?

The Washington Post recently published this article on the new $15 minimum wage law in SeaTac, Washington. The article states:

“… union workplaces are exempt…”

This exemption is wrong because the law is supposed to treat everyone equally.

But also, it is an extreme example of hypocrisy. It was unions who got the ball rolling on this $15 minimum wage. It was unions who said that all workers should be paid at least $15 an hour.

But now, these very same unions are getting an exemption from the very same law that they so strongly supported.

Would liberals please explain why union workshops got an exemption from SeaTac’s $15 minimum wage law that was initiated and supported by these very same unions?

 

September 7, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economics, Politics, Unions. 2 comments.

Unite Here says Obamacare “threatens the middle class with higher premiums, loss of hours, and a shift to part-time work and less comprehensive coverage.”

Unite Here is a union that represents 300,000 employees in the hotel and restaurant industries. It supported Obama in both elections.

In March 2014, Unite Here said:

“If employers follow the incentives in the law, they will push families onto the exchanges to buy coverage. This will force low-wage service industry employees to spend $2.00, $3.00 or even $5.00 an hour of their pay to buy similar coverage.”

“… the ACA threatens the middle class with higher premiums, loss of hours, and a shift to part-time work and less comprehensive coverage.”

“Obamacare will cost our members the equivalent of a significant pay cut to keep their hard-won benefits.”

“… it will inevitably lead to the destruction of the health care plans we were promised we could keep.”

April 1, 2014. Tags: , , , , . Health care, Politics, Unions. 1 comment.

SEIU, NAACP, and other left wing groups protest Koch brothers’ $100 million donation to hospital

In the past, donations from the Koch brothers were used to fund the invention of a cancer drug called Yervoy, which has saved the lives of cancer patients.

Now, the SEIU, the NAACP, the Working Families Party, and other left wing organizations are protesting against the Koch brothers’ recent $100 million donation to New York-Presbyterian Hospital. You can read about this absurd protest, and see pictures of it, here, here, and here.

March 17, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , . Health care, Politics, Unions. 3 comments.

Next Page »