Is our public school system under attack? Why are public schools important?
Absolutely. We have to beware of policies that will harm public schools, primarily through the voucher program and charter schools. Voucher programs allow public money, which was originally intended for public schools, to be diverted to private schools, and charter schools are often not held to the same standards of accountability, transparency, and equity as public schools. Public schools are an integral social anchor in local communities, where teachers not only educate but empower students to achieve their fullest potential. What needs to be done is to support to increase funding to our public schools, so they are more equipped to provide a strong environment of learning for all students. In addition, it is necessary to support public school teachers and their work.
What is the Affordable Care Act and what has it done?
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010 with provisions coming into force in 2014. All health insurance plans must include essential health benefits, such as mental health and chronic illness. Since enactment, ACA has:
• Improved access to quality health insurance and lower cost over time,
• Allowed insurance to be purchased on health exchanges with tax credits and subsidies,
• Expanded Medicaid, and
• Introduced new consumer insurance protections
Furthermore, more than 20 million Americans now have healthcare coverage, and coverage can no longer be denied to those with preexisting conditions.
What is “right-to-work” and why is it bad for the labor movement?
Right-to-work prohibits collective bargaining agreements between employers and union members. 27 states and Guam have adopted right-to-work laws, and some of whom have adopted right-to-work constitutional amendments. The term “right-to-work” is a misnomer to give the impression that it will benefit workers and protect workers against being forced to join a union. In reality, federal law already makes it illegal to force someone to join a union. The real purpose of right-to-work laws is to tilt the balance toward big corporations and further rig the system at the expense of working families. These laws make it harder for working people to form unions and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions.
Why is fighting the climate crisis a labor issue?
The negative effects of climate change disproportionately affect all working people. Workers and environmentalists must be engaged together to address the deepening income inequality. Long-term sustainability must address environmental protection; economic fairness, including income inequality and jobs; and social justice.