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Immersion Education for Parents Volunteers at Culver City schools face off against union demands Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   Gertie Keddle 

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  Posted 05 May 2012 - 08:10 AM

Pete Peterson and Kevin Klowden
Immersion Education for Parents
Volunteers at Culver City schools face off against union demands that they pay dues.
4 May 2012
City Journal
Excerpt:

At a recent Culver City Unified School District board meeting, dozens of parents packed the chambers to protest an outbreak of campus bullying. Valentina Garcia, the mother of a first-grader attending the National Blue Ribbon–awarded El Marino Language School, stepped to the microphone and proclaimed that if ruffians had accosted her daughter for her lunch money, “my logical response would not be to write the bullies a check.” What made Garcia’s statement unusual was that she wasn’t describing the bullying of children—she was referring to a local education union’s intimidation of parents.

In this West Los Angeles school district, the Association of Classified Employees (ACE)—a union representing non-teaching school staff—wants to force minimally compensated, hard-working volunteers and classroom adjuncts to unionize in a scheme both sides agree would be more expensive and exclusionary. This isn’t the first time a California-based union has tried to muscle school volunteers. In 2010, parent and community volunteers in a Bay Area school district sought to fill non-teaching positions slashed during two years of budget cuts, only to be met by a service union threatening a lawsuit to block their participation. Now ACE is contemplating legal action to stop El Marino’s adjunct program.

Culver City launched El Marino Language School, the first Spanish-language immersion program in the United States. The program started more than 40 years ago. The school expanded to include Japanese in the early 1990s. Because its students needed additional classroom help, parents in 1989 created Advocates for Language Learning El Marino (ALLEM), a nonprofit organization that raises money to hire part-time, independent adjunct teachers for each classroom. The adjuncts work one and a half to three hours per day, five days a week. Since language immersion requires a great deal of work to keep students up to date in both English and the second language, the extra help is significant. Most adjuncts have some personal connection to the school. Many are parents of current or former students. Some are former teachers or tutors themselves. They’re not unqualified or untrained amateurs.

The mother of two kids in El Marino, Jeanine Wisnosky Stehlin explains the challenge of keeping ALLEM alive. “We worked so hard,” she said. “It is very unglamorous how we raised money to support these 20 adjuncts that we have at El Marino. We had bake sales, silent auctions, pledges; we’ve begged grandparents. We have book sales; we host community nights at local restaurants. It’s a dollar here and a dollar there. That’s how we have raised money, and we’ve done it for 23 years.”

The union argues that the adjunct program is unfair to other schools that lack a similar level of parent and community involvement. At the same time, the union proposes that ALLEM continue its fundraising—to support higher-cost, unionized adjuncts. ACE president Debbie Hamme claims that unionized adjuncts would be better part-time teachers because they would receive regulated training under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Somehow El Marino, an award-winning school with high student-performance rankings in mathematics as well as language, has flourished thus far without such advantages.

“When people are doing our bargaining unit work on a daily basis, we have the right to ask that those people be made a part of our unit,” Hamme says. She added, in words calling The Sopranos to mind: “We decided as an executive board for the union that we needed to negotiate that they be brought into our unit. It’s not a personal thing, it’s a negotiations thing.”

Parents aren’t buying it. They see ACE’s machinations as a simple power grab. As Jeanine Stehlin maintains: “The booster clubs are expected to continue paying for the programs, but lose all rights of hiring, control, supervision and decision-making.” Another parent, Bryan Tjomsland, notes that if ACE prevails, Culver City residents are unlikely to support a foundation that would end up subsidizing the union. “If they unionize, the kids would be getting half of the benefit, but what’s worse, parents won’t want to support a program where they only get half of the benefit of their money,” he said. A spokesman for Advocates for Language Learning El Marino said the group would need to raise 40 percent more money every year to pay for unionized employees.

Remarkably, the union has no plans to move the adjuncts toward full-time status or even make them eligible for union health benefits and pensions. Instead, the newly unionized workers would have to pay union dues equivalent to those of full-time workers without receiving any of the benefits. Should they decline union membership, they would still have to pay collective bargaining fees—becoming “fee payers” who pay roughly 80 percent of full member dues without actually being enrolled in the union.

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#2 User is online   Taggart Transcontinental 

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 08:16 PM

So please explain to me how union's are such important things for the survival of the United States today? Maybe 100 years ago they were useful because the employers were just as ruthless. Sadly though today the unions remain filled with thugs while the Companies in the US have since given up thuggery as a means to coercion. Now they just leave.
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#3 User is offline   MontyPython 

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 08:33 PM

View Postlaziter, on 05 May 2012 - 08:16 PM, said:

Maybe 100 years ago they were useful because the employers were just as ruthless.


Exactly. Once upon a time unions were necessary to protect workers from unscrupulous bosses. But now workers need protection from unscrupulous unions.

B)
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#4 User is offline   Floridamom 

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 12:33 PM

View PostMontyPython, on 05 May 2012 - 08:33 PM, said:

unscrupulous unions.

B)

Nowadays these two are synonymous.
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#5 User is offline   MontyPython 

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 03:36 PM

View PostFloridamom, on 06 May 2012 - 12:33 PM, said:

Nowadays these two are synonymous.


Pretty much, yup.

B)
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#6 User is offline   Ticked@TinselTown 

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 03:47 PM

Quote

The union argues that the adjunct program is unfair to other schools that lack a similar level of parent and community involvement. At the same time, the union proposes that ALLEM continue its fundraising—to support higher-cost, unionized adjuncts.


It couldn't be the simple fact that the non-union teachers are better at getting the children to learn than their union counterparts?

As for their proposal that ALLEM continue to fundraise to pay high ticket, less effective unionionized adjuncts, I have one thing to say:

<censored> you!
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#7 User is offline   Diamond369 

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 06:28 PM

View PostMontyPython, on 05 May 2012 - 08:33 PM, said:

Exactly. Once upon a time unions were necessary to protect workers from unscrupulous bosses. But now workers need protection from unscrupulous unions.

B)


In other words, the unions have become all too powerful and have lost the original foundation, meaning worker's rights and fair treatment. Is that a fair assessment?
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#8 User is offline   MontyPython 

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:02 PM

View PostDiamond369, on 06 May 2012 - 06:28 PM, said:

In other words, the unions have become all too powerful and have lost the original foundation, meaning worker's rights and fair treatment. Is that a fair assessment?


Yes, that's fair. But it's really only part of it. For example, my girlfriend must belong to SEIU (because she's a professional home-caregiver.) And the corruption of SEIU is well-documented around here.

Then there's the union I used to belong to (sheetmetalworkers union): The union struck for more money, even though we were already making more money than anybody else in town. Well we "won" the strike, forcing the company to pay higher wages. And therefore they laid off about 25% of the employees, in order to be able to afford those completely unnecessary higher wages. So dozens of people lost their jobs altogether, thanks to the greedy union.

Unions have long outlived any "usefulness" they once had.

B)
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#9 User is offline   southernsweetie 

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:31 PM

View PostMontyPython, on 06 May 2012 - 07:02 PM, said:

Yes, that's fair. But it's really only part of it. For example, my girlfriend must belong to SEIU (because she's a professional home-caregiver.) And the corruption of SEIU is well-documented around here.

Then there's the union I used to belong to (sheetmetalworkers union): The union struck for more money, even though we were already making more money than anybody else in town. Well we "won" the strike, forcing the company to pay higher wages. And therefore they laid off about 25% of the employees, in order to be able to afford those completely unnecessary higher wages. So dozens of people lost their jobs altogether, thanks to the greedy union.

Unions have long outlived any "usefulness" they once had.

B)

That happened here in Huntsville. There was a company that made bricks, and the workers went on strike. They were on strike for a really long time, maybe several months. Anyway, one day, they were no longer there, strick was over and then before you know it, the entire company closed. A lot of jobs lost.
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#10 User is offline   MontyPython 

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:46 PM

View Postsouthernsweetie, on 06 May 2012 - 07:31 PM, said:

That happened here in Huntsville. There was a company that made bricks, and the workers went on strike. They were on strike for a really long time, maybe several months. Anyway, one day, they were no longer there, strick was over and then before you know it, the entire company closed. A lot of jobs lost.


Sounds all too familiar.

Hooray for unions.

<_<
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#11 User is offline   Mr. Naron 

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 08:34 PM

Quote

The union argues that the adjunct program is unfair to other schools that lack a similar level of parent and community involvement.


That sums up the problem right there. Let a community find a solution to its problems and a freaking union has to elbow its way in and cry "unfair!"
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