Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

by Otto Fajen   MNEA Legislative Director
Number 14   April 16, 2015
This message is coming to you from the Missouri NEA Legislative Update listserv (mo-nea-legis-update@list.nea.org).
[A list of the key topics. Click below summary on  “continue reading…“  to read full descriptions.]
STUDENT TRANSFER BILL HEADED TO CONFERENCE
BUDGET
SCHOOL RETIREMENT
PROTECTION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION
CAREER/TECHNICAL CERTIFICATE
HARRIS-STOWE STATE UNIVERSITY
ST. JOSEPH SCHOOL BOARD
REMEDIATION AND DROPOUT
HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY TEST
TEEN SUICIDE PREVENTION
CORPORAL PUNISHMENT
CPR INSTRUCTION
GIFTED EDUCATION
HUMAN SEXUALITY INSTRUCTION
CHILD ABUSE INVESTIGATIONS
CHARTER SCHOOL BOARDS
PARENTAL CONTROL OF EDUCATION
SPECIAL EDUCATION DUE PROCESS
SENATE HEARS TABOR PROPOSAL
MANDATED UNION RECERTIFICATION ELECTIONS
PHOTO ID
WORKPLACE ARBITRATION AGREEMENTS
HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
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We have all heard it.  Some person that demonstrates the proverb that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” at a town hall style meeting.  In this flashback to the time when right-wingers were predicting apocalypse if more folks had access to health care services we have a situation that begs for attention.  Congressman Barney Frank takes a young lady to task for comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler.  Enjoy.

Image result for Image, knowledge is dangerous

Tier 2 wages are have taken root in manufacturing despite company’s record profits.  In this case GM is the firm listed but itBosssleepingon money could be any one of thousands of firms that use a Tier 2 wage structure.  In white collar or other employment settings Tier 2 may not be so obvious but may masquerade as a “Don’t talk salary with your co-workers” policy.  It could also be as ingrained as women receiving 78 cents on the dollar for doing the same job as their male co-workers.

The GM/Tier 2 Cop-Out, How They Sleep At Night

By Darin Gilley

 

Have you experienced this situation?

Tier 2 or Traditional worker: This plant would be more productive if there was Equal Pay for Equal Work.

GM Management or even a fellow hourly worker: You knew what the pay was when you took the job, no promises were made, if you don’t like it – there’s the door.

This was an everyday conversation during our fight to form a union at my old plant.  Management would call a “captive audience” meeting that everyone had to attend and try to ridicule the pro-union workers with a statement very much like the one above – You took the job, you knew the pay, if you don’t like it there’s the door.

It has a kind of self-apparent logic to it since every worker there did indeed take the job at the current rate of pay.

But this logic applies only to a short-term condition because it ignores the very essence of human nature – that people instinctively try to make their lives better.  All of us are here today because we struggled.  The struggle may have been to get through school, hit a fast ball, learn a back handspring, land your first job, or any other activity that makes us better people. Thinking they were making their lives better is probably the reason they took the job in the first place!

So yes, I took this job knowing a two-tier wage was in place.  I also took this job prepared to struggle.  Life itself, from birth forward teaches us that our abilities, education, hobbies, and work are all made better through effort and struggle.

Why would anyone expect these life lessons to be forgotten when we walk through the doors of GM?  Could it be because it allows them to ignore the injustice occurring around them? Does it help them sleep at night?

The struggle to eliminate the two-tier wage structure is just one aspect of the fight for a fair contract with GM.

COLA or Cost of Living Allowance for all workers is vital to maintain purchasing power.  If Traditional wages had increased at the same rate as the cost-of-living since 2004, they would be over $33.00 p/hour.  Traditional workers have lost over five dollars an hour in purchasing power since the last raise.  Of course, pensions must also be protected.  Promises made should be promises kept.

Sign me up as willing to hit the streets in a show of support in a struggle to attain these benefits so crucial to the living standards of autoworkers.

That said, solidarity is a two-way street.  I support you, you support me and we work together to improve our lives.

An agreement that eliminates the two-tier wage structure in a timely manner such as the 3 year, starting at 70% language that was in place during previous times of high profits is no threat to profits today.  A wage of $28.00 w/Tier 2 benefits, an enhanced PSP, and reinstatement of COLA will result in an hourly labor cost of less than five percent.

GM wins by ensuring sustainable labor costs while avoiding the “legacy costs” of defined benefit pensions and retiree health care that got so much blame during bankruptcy.  Hourly workers win with a starting wage they can live on and a compensation package that reflects the value of those building the products that are the foundation of a company earning billions in profits.

So, if a member of management says “You knew what the pay was when you took the job, no promises were made, if you don’t like it  – there’s the door.”  Just smile and encourage them to get a good night’s sleep.

If a fellow union member says it, remind them that struggle, both theirs and those that came before paved the way for what they earn today.  Struggle is what will lead to better living standards tomorrow.

 

This message is coming to you from the Missouri NEA Legislative Update listserv (mo-nea-legis-update@list.nea.org).
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Missouri NEA Legislative Update   Week 14, No. 3, April 15, 2015
By Otto Fajen    MNEA Legislative Director
SENATE APPROVES STUDENT TRANSFER BILL
BUDGET
CORPORAL PUNISHMENT
CPR INSTRUCTION
PHOTO ID
SCHOOL RETIREMENT
WORKPLACE ARBITRATION AGREEMENTS
SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
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This message is coming to you from the Missouri NEA Legislative Update listserv (mo-nea-legis-update@list.nea.org).
[A list of the key topics. Click below summary on  “continue reading…“  to read full descriptions.]
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Missouri NEA Legislative Update   Week 14, No. 2, April 14, 2015
By Otto Fajen    MNEA Legislative Director
STUDENT TRANSFER BILL
BUDGET
SCHOOL RETIREMENT
SPECIAL EDUCATION DUE PROCESS
HARRIS-STOWE STATE UNIVERSITY
PARENTAL CONTROL OF EDUCATION
REMEDIATION AND DROPOUT
PROTECTION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION
SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
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NBC News has this story on a CEO that not only reduced his salary from $1,000,000 a year to $70,000 he established a $70,000 minimum wage throughout the company.  Some employees that were making $35,000 a year will see their salary doubled.  

How refreshing to see someone do more than just talk about fixing income inequality.  Can it get any more personal than this?

Finally, somebody realized that a company is part of a community and not just a profit maximizing device.

PickupTrucks.com has just completed a head-to-head contest of mid-size pickup trucks sold in America.  Looks like the two Missouri made trucks bested the competition.  Congratulations to all the Franklin County folks that helped build America’s best mid-sized trucks!

No matter how you look at this comparison test, the win by the GMC was impressive. Of the 14 empirical challenges we set up for these midsize trucks, the GMC came in first or second place in 11 of them. In the judges’ scoring, the GMC was chosen as the outright winner by two of our three judges, and our consumer family scored the GMC in first place by a wide margin. Even though our Challenge was designed to have a more serious off-road slant, the GMC was quite capable: The suspension was softer than we’d like but not bad during any of our dirt maneuvers; the tires, although less aggressive, had plenty of grip; and the interior materials, feel and quality was far ahead of the Nissan and Toyota.

In the end, the Canyon scored well throughout our test, and offered a capable and luxurious ride and feel that clearly separated the GMC from the rest of the field. We were especially impressed with its road manners and performance with a full load in the bed, scoring a first- or second-place finish in all of our max-payload testing (which for this truck meant carrying a stunning 1,440 pounds).

Image result for image gmc canyon and chevrolet colorado

This message is coming to you from the Missouri NEA Legislative Update listserv (mo-nea-legis-update@list.nea.org).
[A list of the key topics. Click below summary on  “continue reading…“  to read full descriptions.]
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Missouri NEA Legislative Update   Week 14, No. 1, April 13, 2015
By Otto Fajen     MNEA Legislative Director
SENATE DEBATES STUDENT TRANSFER BILL
HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY TEST
TEEN SUICIDE PREVENTION
CAREER/TECHNICAL CERTIFICATE
GIFTED EDUCATION
HUMAN SEXUALITY INSTRUCTION
CHILD ABUSE INVESTIGATIONS
CHARTER SCHOOL BOARDS
SENATE TO HEAR TABOR PROPOSAL
PHOTO ID
MANDATED UNION RECERTIFICATION ELECTIONS
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This week’s audio netcast:  Peter Galbraith is a former ambassador and expert on the Middle East. He answers questions about the Image result for Image, radiovalue of the administration’s deal with Iran. Richard Heinberg is an environmental and energy expert. He warns we are on the brink of extinction as a civilization. And Bill Press interviews the Reverend Barry Lynn about recent assaults on civil liberties.

Last weekend I enjoyed the movie Whiplash about an aspiring drummer and his quest to be become the best ever.  You may recognize Image result for Image, Buddy Rich drumsetthe actor that plays his instructor as the guy from the Farmers Insurance commercials.  I won’t give away the storyline but will share this amazing drum solo from the film.

This solo is based on the jazz classic Caravan.  The most famous version of this solo was done by the legendary Buddy Rich.  I use the term legendary but much to my surprise none of my family or their friends knew about him.  For those unfamiliar with this rhythmic genius check out this video of Buddy in a drum-off against Ed Shaughnessy who was the drummer for the Tonight Show.  This video of Buddy’s “Impossible Drum Solo” will also demonstrate why he is a legend.  Enjoy.

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