Tag Archives: public employees unions

12% of San Francisco’s union bus-drivers missed work

Add this to the 1,001 reasons why America’s cities are broke:

An alarming 12.2% of San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency (Muni) workers — all unionized — didn’t show up for work in 2011, resulting in the cancellation of scores of bus runs each weekday, with no warning or explanation for the stranded passengers.

Obama loves the Service Employees International Union!

Zusha Elinson reports for The Bay Citizen, April 28, 2012, that on average, about 150 out of 1,200 Muni operators — 12.2% — missed work unexpectedly during the last three months of 2011. Such unscheduled absences, as Muni calls them, include drivers who call in sick to take care of themselves or a member of their family, drivers who have jury duty and drivers facing disciplinary issues.

Faced with a $29 million budget shortfall and out-of-control overtime spending, Muni is no longer paying overtime to replace drivers who call in sick. And so, the transit agency now cancels 35 to 45 runs each weekday to reduce overtime costs. The cancellations, which have resulted in cuts to bus service, are putting renewed attention on the contentious issue of driver absenteeism.

The absentee rate for Muni drivers is high when compared with the national average of 3% across industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is also higher than the absentee rate for other workers at the transit agency. On a typical weekday, 7% of Muni’s mechanics have an unscheduled absence.

But the percentage of unscheduled absences is not as high as the rate at one other Bay Area transit agency. At AC Transit in the East Bay, the unscheduled absence rate for drivers was 12.5% — the worst in the Bay Area — during the last three months of 2011. AC Transit skips about 20 runs a day, according to Clarence Johnson, a transit agency spokesman.

Muni drivers say the health hazards and stress of the job contribute to the unscheduled absences. Ron Austin, vice president of the union that represents 2,200 Muni operators, says:

“We’re dealing with homeless people and sick people and mentally ill people and children and teenagers while we’re trying to keep everything on schedule. All this pressure rests squarely on the operator. You’ve got to be a baby sitter, and you’ve got to drive this 40-foot vehicle through very congested streets.”

The new contract with AC Transit’s 1,200 drivers requires drivers to obtain a doctor’s note if they are absent for more than three days. And operators are generally not paid for sick days unless they take two or more. Before the changes, some drivers would take a sick day in the middle of the week and then come in on their scheduled day off and get overtime. Now the agency’s new labor contract includes a rule requiring drivers to work 40 hours a week before getting overtime.

~Eowyn

Black minister to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: “We’ll cut your head off”

Liberals, oops, Progressive, oops, Socialists, oops, Communists are such tolerant, peace-loving, bleeding-heart people!

On April 17, 2012, Wisconsin’s embattled Governor Scott Walker (R) was in Springfield, Illinois, speaking before the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. Walker is facing a tough recall election this June 5 because of his tough stance against public employees unions.

Just yards away, Rev. T. Ray McJunkins of Springfield’s Union Baptist Church riled up a union crowd of thousands with threats of violence. McJunkins, who pretends to be a man of God, likened the unions to the biblical David and Walker to Goliath. McJunkins first asks how many in the crowd came “with your slingshots today?”, then the reverend vows to Walker [2:25 mark]:

“We’ll cut your head off!” 

Can you imagine if a conservative politician or a white minister were to say that?

How low America’s blacks have fallen since the days of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who, like Mahatma Gandhi, was committed to non-violence in both action and rhetoric.

H/t PatriotActionNetwork

~Eowyn

Only 1/3 of Wisconsin 8th-Graders Read at Grade Level

The ability to read proficiently is a fundamental skill that affects not just how well students do in school, but also their future wellbeing as adults. 

Students who read proficiently are more likely to perform well in other subjects, such as math and science, whereas those who struggle with reading are much less likely to be academically engaged and therefore do poorly in school. Reading achievement also predicts the likelihood of graduating from high school and attending college. Adults with poor literacy skills find it difficult to function in society because many basic decision-making skills require reading proficiency. Strong reading skills also protect against unemployment in early adulthood. People who are not able to fill out an application because of limited reading or writing skills are likely to have difficulty finding a job or accessing social services. Research shows that performance on adult literacy tests helps explain differences in wages. Adults with limited reading abilities also are likely to have children with limited reading abilities. [Source]

The term “reading proficiency” refers to performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Reading Assessments. The scores for reading proficiency range from 0 to 500 (with a standard deviation of 100)  and are divided into 3 achievement levels: Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. 

Wisconsin’s public school teachers are among the thousands demonstrating in Wisconsin’s state capital against Governor Scott Walker’s plan to rein in public employee unions’ runaway health costs and other benefits. The teachers not only cancelled classes, they corraled their students to join the demonstrations.

But a report  by the NAEP reveals that although Wisconsin’s spending on public schools had more than doubled in the past 10 years, that has not resulted in even one iota of improvement in the students’ reading skills. Worse still, some two-thirds of the state’s 8th graders read below “proficiency” level!

Only in America’s public sector are employees’ pay detached from their performance. If America’s public schools were a privately-owned business, it would have gone bankrupt years ago.

~Eowyn

Two-Thirds of Wisconsin Public-School 8th Graders Can’t Read Proficiently—Despite Highest Per Pupil Spending in Midwest

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
By Terence P. Jeffrey

(CNSNews.com) – Two-thirds of the eighth graders in Wisconsin public schools cannot read proficiently according to the U.S. Department of Education, despite the fact that Wisconsin spends more per pupil in its public schools than any other state in the Midwest.

In the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests administered by the U.S. Department of Education in 2009—the latest year availableonly 32 percent of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned a “proficient” rating while another 2 percent earned an “advanced” rating. The other 66 percent of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned ratings below “proficient,” including 44 percent who earned a rating of “basic” and 22 percent who earned a rating of “below basic.”

The test also showed that the reading abilities of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders had not improved at all between 1998 and 2009 despite a significant inflation-adjusted increase in the amount of money Wisconsin public schools spent per pupil each year.

In 1998, according to the U.S. Department of Education, Wisconsin public school eighth graders scored an average of 266 out of 500 on the NAEP reading test. In 2009, Wisconsin public school eighth graders once again scored an average of 266 out of 500 on the NAEP reading test.  Meanwhile, Wisconsin public schools increased their per pupil expenditures from $4,956 per pupil in 1998 to 10,791 per pupil in 2008. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator the $4,956 Wisconsin spent per pupil in 1998 dollars equaled $6,546 in 2008 dollars. That means that from 1998 to 2008, Wisconsin public schools increased their per pupil spending by $4,245 in real terms yet did not add a single point to the reading scores of their eighth graders and still could lift only one-third of their eighth graders to at least a “proficient” level in reading.

The $10,791 that Wisconsin spent per pupil in its public elementary and secondary schools in fiscal year 2008 was more than any other state in the Midwest.

Neighboring Illinois spent $10,353 per student in 2008, Minnesota spent $10,048 per student; Iowa spent $9,520 per student.  Among Midwest states, Nebraska was second to Wisconsin in per pupil spending in its public schools, spending $10,565 per student.

Of these nearby states, only Minnesota did slightly better teaching reading to its public school students. In 2009, 39 percent of eighth graders in Minnesota public schools earned a rating of “proficient” or better in reading, and the average eighth grade reading score in the state was 270 out of 500.

In Illinois, only 32 percent of eighth graders earned a rating of “proficient” or better in reading, and the average eighth grade reading score was 265 out of 500. In Iowa, only 32 percent of eighth graders earned a rating of “proficient” or better in reading, and the average reading score was 265 out of 500. In Nebraska, only 35 percent of eighth graders earned a rating of “proficient” or better in their public schools, and the average reading score was 267 out of 500.

Nationwide, only 30 percent of public school eighth graders earned a rating of “proficient” or better in reading, and the average reading score on the NAEP test was 262 out of 500.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress explains its student rating system as follows: “Basic denotes partial mastery of prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at each grade. Proficient represents solid academic performance. Students reaching this level have demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter. Advanced represents superior performance.”

In other words, despite the $10,791 that taxpayers were paying to educate students in Wisconsin public schools, two-thirds of eighth graders in those schools showed at best only a “partial mastery of prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work” at that grade level.

In fiscal 2008, the federal government provided $669.6 million in subsidies to the public schools in Wisconsin.

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For more on how the National Assessment of Education Progress measures and evaluates students’ reading, go HERE.