Restricting Privatization

Losing the Freedom to Form Unions

The National Labor Relations Board ruled this week that a range of professionals, estimated at 8 million workers, are now deemed "supervisors" and thus lose all protections under labor law. What this means is that an estimated 8 million workers who say a positive thing about unions can be fired at will by their bosses seeking to eliminate unions. The AFL-CIO has more here on the legal details.

Op-Ed: Beware of big-buck Easterners testing their theories on us

Published August 28, 2006 in the Great Falls Tribune by Sen. Steve Doherty (Ret.) and Rep. Dave McAlpin Beware the traveling salesman peddling political snakeoil. Montana is overrun with such characters these days -- national organizations dumping money in to our state to influence public opinion and advance their hidden agendas. The most recent and nefarious example in this cycle is the Center for Union Facts, the organization running the vicious ads attacking public employees on our airwaves.

Multi-state Advertising Campaign Targets Public Employees

For public employees in four states, this may have been a rough week. As if balancing typical duties of work and family is not enough, a front group for anonymous business interests this week began running ads in Michigan, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon accusing public employees of being lazy and overcompensated. The campaign is connected to the well-orchestrated rightwing attempt to impose TABOR-style spending limits in numerous states through ballot measures this fall.

Waste and Abuse in Homeland Security Contracts

A followup to Monday's Dispatch on waste and corruption in privatization of government services: it turns out that Accenture, the company that screwed up in taking over Texas's human services computer systems, is also a star player in a new Congressional report, Waste, Abuse, and Mismanagement of Homeland Security Contracts.

TX: Lobbyist Turned Consultant Hooks Buddy Up With State Investment

The AP picked up an important story out of Texas, where it appears that the good ol' boy community thinks that corruption is a fine method of operating. The story goes like this: Bill Ceverha, a lobbyist, consultant, and member of the board of the Employees Retirement System of Texas, lobbied for an education privatization front group in 2005. One of his big donors was a man by the name of James Leininger. Leininger is also the founder of Kinetic Concepts.

Stopping Privatization Profiteering

A number of state leaders have been promoting what seems like a free lunch. Hand over control of government services to private industry and those companies promise better service at a lower price. Like most promises of a free lunch, privatization has mostly ended up being a deceptive boondoggle, a point the non-partisan news emphasized this past week:

Vouchers and the Myth of Private School Superiority

Two things happened this past week. Some in Congress proposed spending $100 million on vouchers for private schools as a supposed educational solution for low-income students.

Beyond the Minimum Wage: New Policies to Raise Wages

The reality for working Americans is that wages have been largely stagnant for over three decades.   For many workers -- especially those without a college degree -- pay has actually gotten worse, meaning that this generation is the first one in American history which is not doing signficantly better than the previous one.  Part of the reason for these stagnant wages is that inflation was allowed to erode the federal minimum wage-- its inflation-adjusted value dropping from $9.12 per hour in 1968 down to just $5.15 per hour in 2005.  

IN: Rushed Social Services Privatization Condemned

In Indiana, critics are condemning a rushed $1 billion privatization of the states' social services work -- despite the fact that the companies bidding on the contract have mismanaged similar contracts in other states and, more tellingly, no one even bothered to determine whether the companies could do the job cheaper than current state employees: