Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Is Department of Ed effort to make all employees at-will the start of WY anti-public worker effort?

On Monday, the AP reported that

"the head of the Wyoming Department of Education wants all new hires to be classified as at-will employees who serve without job protections."

At-will state employees usually are in management positions. Nothing particularly wrong with that. They get bigger salaries and take bigger risks. It's much different to try to classify all of your employees as at-will. That means that anyone can be fired at any time for any reason. State employees would have no job protections once they complete the one-year probation in which you can be fired without cause, If all of us are at-will, we could conceivably be fired any time for any reason by any of our superiors.

If this sort of anti-public worker effort looks familiar, that's because it is. Think Wisconsin. Think Minnesota. Think Florida. In fact, think of all those states that were taken over by Repub Govs and Republican-dominated legislatures in 2010. Some (WI) are heavily union states. Some (FL) are so-called Right to Work states. It doesn't seem to matter. If your state got an infusion of Tea Party politicians in 2010, public workers are under the gun.

Wyoming is a so-called Right to Work state. There is a union for public employees but workers don't have to join. On Sunday in the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming Public Employees Association Director Betty Jo Beardsley noted that there are 1,600 union members throughout the state. This represents a minority of those eligible for union membership. Betty Jo did say that she's had a number of new sign-ups from the Dept. of Ed since January, which is when the wacko 2011 Wyoming State Legislature began its session. That began with a battle over tenure for teachers and their Wyoming Education Association union, with 6,500 members. Some Tea Party Republicans had some less than nice things to say about teachers and other public workers. Cooler heads prevailed and the anti-teacher bills were defeated.

Those bills will be back in the Legislature again, courtesy of right-wing anti-public education groups and other outside agitators such as the American Legislative Education Council (ALEC).

The WEA summed up its success against these Know Nothings with excellent ass-kicking videos by Ron Sniffin. Here's how Ron's vid summed it up:

The Education Legislative Session from Ronald Sniffin on Vimeo.

This time around, public workers will be the target. Cindy Hill's attempts to transform at Dept of Ed jobs to at-will status is the opening salvo.

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