Monthly Archives: March, 2015

Why a Good Plumber Is Getting as Hard to Find as a Tenure-Track Position


We have all noticed how hard it is to find a reputable electrician or plumber. But almost no one ever asks, never mind addresses, why this shortage has developed.

The major reason that so few people are going into the trades is that, more often than not, doing so leads to just another kind of low-wage job.

Operating a small business as an independent contractor requires substantial operating monies up front, which completely eliminates it as a possibility for most young people from working-class, never mind even more economically disadvantaged, backgrounds. Such a business is also very difficult to sustain. To have any chance of succeeding in such a business, one needs not only vocational certification in the trade but also at least an associates degree in business. Because the demand for services always fluctuates, one inevitably needs at least a partner, if not employees, the cost of which will…

View original post 334 more words


A Posthumous Honor for Ted Kennedy for His Support of Labor


U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez,
Induction of Senator Edward M. Kennedy
Into the Department of Labor Hall of Honor
Washington, D.C.,
March 12, 2015

[as prepared for delivery]

Thank you, Chris. Mrs. Kennedy, Teddy, Patrick, Secretary Brock, Secretary Herman, friends, colleagues, thank you so much for joining us today.

I looked it up, and in the history of the Baseball Hall of Fame, the all-time top vote-getter is Tom Seaver with 98.8 percent. With all due respect, I believe that Senator Kennedy was an even more effective advocate for workers than Mr. Seaver was a pitcher. And so I’m proud to say that we’re inducting him today thanks to a 100 percent unanimous vote.

It’s wonderful to look out into this audience and see so many old friends and familiar faces. The Kennedy diaspora is out in full force, that’s for sure. Just about everyone who…

View original post 2,451 more words

For All of Its Flaws, NAFTA Was Not Negotiated with This Level of Secrecy


The item below is from the Campaign for America’s Future. It is re-posted with the permission of its Co-Director, Roger Hickey.

The item provides a succinct description of how the agreement is being shaped to corporate priorities.

Although it does not address the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on academic institutions both here and abroad, higher education is becoming a major priority and, increasingly, “big business” in the nations of East Asia.

So, given the increasing corporatization of our institutions, the escalating efforts to privatize public education in the U.S., the relentless insistence that technology can be used to cut instructional allocations even farther than they have already been cut, and the concerns about the higher-ed-related provisions in the revised GATT agreements, it is difficult to imagine that this deal is going to be a largely good thing for higher education, either here or elsewhere.


The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)…

View original post 367 more words