Detroit Teachers Rally to Stabilize Detroit Public Schools

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Workers Independent News is heard Monday through Friday at 8:45 and 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.

Detroit American Federation of Teachers union members, parents and clergy and other labor leaders are rallying in Lansing Tuesday for “Schools Our Kids Deserve.”

They are urging the legislature to pass funding bills to stabilize the Detroit Public Schools.

Terrance Martin is the executive vice president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers. He says Detroit students are enduring dilapidated conditions as the district struggles with a huge debt under the state Emergency Manager laws.

“We’ve lost over half of our membership in the last 10 years because of these laws. We’ve closed over half of our schools because of these laws. And so we’ve been hit tremendously.”

Martin says the expansion of Emergency Manager laws in 2011 usurped local democratic control, allowing emergency managers to rule with iron fists, slashing budgets, negating union contracts and taking local government and schools decisions completely out of local hands.

“This is an attack on labor, an attack on working families, an attack on all of us. Those who care about education, care about children, care about those who work a job each and every day. This is an attack upon us all. It takes away power; it takes away our ability to really voice our concerns for change. And so we are standing shoulder to shoulder with our students and parents and our faith leaders and labor leaders to show Lansing that we deserve better.”

UAW: VW Is Cheating Its Workers by Violating Labor Law

UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel says the union wants the National Labor Relations Board to order Volkswagen “to immediately abide by federal law and come to the bargaining table with its employees.”

Casteel says VW is in clear violation of U.S. labor by refusing to bargain with workers who voted to join the UAW.

Volkswagen has decided to appeal the ruling by the NLRB that it must bargain with a group of skilled trades workers who voted for UAW representation at VW’s Chattanooga, Tenn., plant.

The UAW asked the NLRB Monday to issue an unfair labor practice complaint against Volkswagen Group of America.

The UAW rejects VW’s claim that recognizing and bargaining with the skilled trades workers as required by law would somehow splinter the workforce in Chattanooga. The UAW says by thumbing its nose at U.S. labor law VW is cheating its workers.