Tag Archives: strike

Unions, Education and The Chicago Teachers Strike

By Betsy L. Angert

The Chicago Teachers Union strike, and the recent rallies held in conjunction, speak to a problem larger than the conventional meme of pay increases, tenure, or pensions. Chicago Teachers want better working conditions. They realize as no other employees might; the environments in which they work fashion the future of our nation. Our children’s education is at-risk.

Twenty-five years have passed since Chicago Teachers Union members have gone out on strike. These Educators realize as do all workers ¬Unions today are not the powerhouses of yesteryear. According to a study by Sociologist Jake Rosenfeld, unionization among private-sector full-time employees fell by 40% between 1984 and 2002. Indeed, as cited in Unions, Norms, and the Rise in American Wage Inequality, “From 1973 to 2007, private sector union membership in the United States declined from 34 to 8 percent for men and from 16 to 6 percent among women. Inequality in hourly wages increased by over 40 percent in this period.”

The reasons are stark. Continue reading

Troopers Intimidation of Legislators in Wisconsin – Special Emergency Powers Legislation

By Jonathryn

The news from Wisconsin today is that Wisconsin State Troopers, under the direction of a political appointee of the Governor, are visiting the homes of legislators who are resisting the Governor’s deeply unpopular legislation. By what reckoning can an executive, using armed men in state uniforms, dictate a legislator’s prerogatives, or the prerogatives of a caucus of legislators? If you chose “brute force,” you answered correctly.
Continue reading

The Party Game Is Over: Stand and Fight

By John Pilger
Information Clearinghouse

Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number.
Shake your chains to earth like dew.
Which in sleep has fallen on you.
Ye are many – they are few.

These days, the stirring lines of Percy Shelley’s The Mask of Anarchy may seem unattainable. I don’t think so. Shelley was both a Romantic and political truth-teller. His words resonate now because only one political course is left to those who are disenfranchised and whose ruin is announced on a government spread sheet.

Continue reading

Banks Bet Greece Defaults on Debt They Helped Hide

“It’s like buying fire insurance on your neighbor’s house — you create an incentive to burn down the house,” said Philip Gisdakis, head of credit strategy at UniCredit in Munich.

New York Times
February 25, 2010

Banks Bet Greece Defaults on Debt They Helped Hide
Nelson D. Schwart and Eric Dash

Bets by some of the same banks that helped Greece shroud its mounting debts may actually now be pushing the nation closer to the brink of financial ruin.

Echoing the kind of trades that nearly toppled the American International Group, the increasingly popular insurance against the risk of a Greek default is making it harder for Athens to raise the money it needs to pay its bills, according to traders and money managers.

These contracts, known as credit-default swaps, effectively let banks and hedge funds wager on the financial equivalent of a four-alarm fire: a default by a company or, in the case of Greece, an entire country. If Greece reneges on its debts, traders who own these swaps stand to profit.

“It’s like buying fire insurance on your neighbor’s house — you create an incentive to burn down the house,” said Philip Gisdakis, head of credit strategy at UniCredit in Munich.

As Greece’s financial condition has worsened, undermining the euro, the role of Goldman Sachs and other major banks in masking the true extent of the country’s problems has drawn criticism from European leaders. But even before that issue became apparent, a little-known company backed by Goldman, JP Morgan Chase and about a dozen other banks had created an index that enabled market players to bet on whether Greece and other European nations would go bust.

Full Article

The Hoi Polloi vs. Goldman Sachs

Numerian

February 15

Greece is turning into a battle royal between the global financial elites and the average worker in the industrial West. This started out as a more limited struggle, pitting the finance ministers and central banks of the European Union against the Greek unions, but the fight has unexpectedly broadened with news of the surreptitious involvement of Goldman Sachs in helping Greece avoid borrowing constraints.

The picture painted in the Western financial press makes the unions the villain in this play. The unions are described as greedy, lazy, too quick to strike, and insensitive to the burdens they were imposing on the Greek economy. To cope with union threats and extortion, various Greek governments had no choice but to borrow excessively, and well beyond the European Union target range that allowed domestic budget deficits to be no higher than 3% of GDP. As of last year, Greece’s budget deficit was 12.7% of GDP.

The sheer level of these deficits – the highest in the European community – has spooked international investors and the ratings agencies like Moody’s, which have dropped the Greek sovereign credit rating and threatened further demotions if nothing is done. This, along with the prospect of default on their government debt, has thrown Greece into a crisis and into the hands of the EU commissioners and finance officials who are contemplating a bailout.

Another way to look at this is to ask yourself who knows how much has really been borrowed by various governments around the world?

Continue reading