In case you have been enjoying the start of summer vacation and haven't been following labor news closely or you are still mourning the death of Jamaica High School like me, there has been a great deal happening in the labor world nationally.
In a very significant public sector union case, the US Supreme Court made a narrow ruling in the case of Harris v Quinn in Illinois. It was a setback for unions in that the Court's conservative majority created a new class of employee called partial public employees who do not have to pay for representation whether or not they are in the union. Illinois home health care workers who sued do not have to pay what is called an agency fee.
The Court could have ended agency fee shops throughout the country, including in the UFT. Instead, the narrow ruling in the Harris v Quinn case lets stand the precedent from 1977 that forces non-union members in the public sector to pay for the union representation they receive. (I know many of you feel the UFT does nothing for us and it would be a good thing if they had to actually work to get our money. I will take up that issue another day.)
Justice Samuel Alito appeared to leave the door open for more of these kinds of cases when he questioned the 1977 decision that compels non union members to pay the agency fee.
For reaction, see this statement from Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis.
Closer to home, the clergy in Newark, NJ protested the rehiring of Cami Anderson, one of the most horrible school superintendents in the country. A common factor in the school privatization movement is to ignore the will of the public. This is done all the time and rehiring Anderson in New Jersey is just another example.
For some analysis of the Newark situation, read here.