Where did the Government Jobs Go?


























Long a ticket to the middle class, especially for African-Americans, they have become increasingly difficult to find


APRIL 27, 2016

On a muggy afternoon in April, Angelina Iles, 65, folded herself into my passenger seat and took me on a tour of her beloved Pineville, La., a sleepy town smack in the middle of the low, wet state. We drove past spaced-out, low-slung houses and boarded-up businesses — shuttered restaurants, a decrepit gas station — as Iles, an African-American retired lunchroom worker and community activist, guided me toward the muddy banks of the Red River. Near there stands the locked-up Art Deco shell of the Huey P. Long hospital, which once served the poorest of the poor in Rapides Parish — and employed more than 300 workers.

When employers leave towns like Pineville, they often do it with a deaf ear to the pleading of state and local governments. But in the case of Huey P. Long, the employer was the government itself. Its demise began, arguably, in 2008, when Bobby Jindal was swept into the Louisiana governor’s mansion on a small-government-and-ethics platform, promising to modernize the state and unleash the power of American private industry along the Gulf Coast. At the time, Louisiana was flush with federal funds for Hurricane Katrina reconstruction and running a budget surplus. Jindal and the State Legislature slashed income taxes and started privatizing and cutting. This was a source of great pride for Jindal. During his failed bid for the presidency last year, he boasted that bureaucrats are now an endangered species in Louisiana. “I’ve laid off more of them than Trump has fired people,” he said, “and I’ve cut my state’s budget by more than he’s worth.” Full article here

Flint Public Library Responds to Lead Contamination to the Water Supply

Via the Progressive Librarians Guild:
Letter from Flint Public Library about Lead in Water Crisis to PUBLIB

On Sat, Jan 23, 2016 at 9:05 AM, Kay Schwartz wrote:

Friends in the Library world,

The Flint Public Library is getting many expressions of sympathy from libraries all over the country about the water crisis in Flint – thank you all so much for your concern for our community and our library!

Flint indeed has a long road to travel, because we have to now determine what homes and businesses and what underground water systems were damaged by the corrosive water, and decide how to fix all that. Now that we’re
back on regular Lake Huron water, we still aren’t able to drink it until each and every home and building is tested to make sure that the service lines AND the lines within the home are not leaching lead. It varies building
to building, neighborhood to neighborhood, and house to house. Understand that it was not the river water per se but the failure to add corrosion control to the water, that caused the damage. The water was ok when it left the plant but corroded the pipes on the way to homes and corroded the pipes inside your home or building on the way to your faucets.

Read the full letter here.

SHAME! Wisconsin School District Bows to Hate Group–Cancels Book Reading about Transgender Teen.

From the New York Daily News:

Wisconsin elementary school cancels reading about transgender teen after anti-LGBTQ group threatens lawsuit

Saturday, November 28, 2015, 4:18 PM

A Wisconsin elemejazz-book-312x217ntary school called off a scheduled reading of a children’s book about a transgender girl after a Florida-based non-profit threatened to sue.

The Mount Horeb Primary Center had planned to read “I Am Jazz,” a book based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, a 15-year-old transgender activist.

The principal sent home a letter to parents on Nov. 19, in advance of the reading, according to the Minneapolis StarTribune.

“We believe all students deserve respect and support regardless of their gender identity and expression, and the best way to foster that respect and support is through educating students about the issue of being transgender,” the letter said.

Then, religious activists stepped in. Full Article Here

Harvard Library Workers Resist Top-Down Restructuring and Austerity

February 12, 2013 / James Cersonsky

With an endowment of $32 billion, Harvard is the wealthiest university in the world. Upon rebounding from the recession, the university is remodeling all its dorms, expanding its online course program, and constructing a new science center. Its library workers, meanwhile, have gotten the short end of the stick.

Workers beat back threatened mass layoffs last spring, but are now enduring the consolidation of their work in a new “shared services” model that translates into bigger workloads and fragmented work relationships. Now, along with the rest of Harvard’s clerical and technical employees, library workers are mobilizing for a fair—and long-overdue—contract.

Evolving Expectations

With more than 55 miles of bookshelves, Harvard boasts the largest academic library system in the world. Its range of archives and specialized resources are a major draw for scholars and the backbone of the university’s academic culture.

Nonetheless, university leaders concluded last spring that the Library was lagging behind the “evolving expectations of the 21st century scholar.” Their restructuring initiative, launched with hype more typical of a social media IPO than of a library, has been a blow to workers and patrons alike.
Full Article HERE

The world's wealthiest university is squeezing workers with a new "shared services" model. Staff rallied in Harvard Yard in November. Photo: HUCTW

Chicago branch libraries to reopen Monday mornings this fall. About 100 lower-wage pages to be hired instead of librarians

From the Chicago Tribune:

By Kristen Mack, Chicago Tribune reporter

8:33 p.m. CDT, July 16, 2012

Chicago Public Library neighborhood branches will reopen on Monday mornings this fall after the city hires more than 100 workers to replace librarians.

Because of budget cuts, the city’s 76 neighborhood branches were scheduled to be closed for four hours on Monday during the school year. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Library Commissioner Brian Bannon announced Monday that they will hire back 105 lower-wage library pages to staff branches and allow the city to offer a full day of service on Mondays without additional cost.
Read the full article here

Children dance and sing Monday during story time at Chicago's Northtown Branch Library, where Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Library Commissioner Brian Bannon announced that the libraries will be open all day on Mondays in the fall. (Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune / July 16, 2012)

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