What does economic injustice look like?

Greetings,

What does economic injustice look like? "In 1965, chief executive officers typically made 20 times as much as their workers. Today, chief executives at Fortune 500 companies make, on average, 354 times as much as their rank-and-file workers ." (Boston Globe, 3/28). This inequality is even more pronounced if you are black or Latino. As this article shows, a typical white household has 16 times the wealth of a black household.

How did we get here? This Boston Globe article examines the growing economic inequality in the United States. In the 1960s and 1970s, private-sector unions played a key role in reducing inequality and creating a strong middle class and opportunities for the poor. The moneyed interests systematically set out to destroy these unions and were largely successful.

Now, the 1 percent is going after the last stronghold - public-sector unions, and educators' unions in particular. High-stakes testing, Level 4/5 designations, school and district takeovers and charters are all tools being used to undermine educators and our unions. Our struggle as union members for our schools, our students and our rights as workers is essential to the struggle for democracy and economic and racial justice.

We have an obligation to step up and fight back. Here are some ways to do just that.

Support Holyoke!
There is a serious risk that Holyoke will become the second school district in Massachusetts, and the first whose members are represented by the MTA, to be put into receivership by the state. This takeover would be drastic, disruptive and undemocratic. It would affect a school district that serves primarily brown and black children and is in one of the poorest communities in Massachusetts.

We are asking local associations to approve a resolution in support of keeping Holyoke schools in the hands of the community. Can you help? Ask your local leadership - and other community groups - to approve the resolution. Please notify us of any favorable votes taken by April 21 by emailing Ari Mercado, MTA governance assistant, at amercado@massteacher.org or calling her at 617-878-8216.

Testing, Testing, Testing
Had enough? Oh, but the testing season has just begun. Click here for information on our campaign for a moratorium on high-stakes testing. You'll be hearing more about this effort in the future, but don't wait to be asked: Start voicing your support for ending the misuse and abuse of standardized tests so they'll hear us on Beacon Hill, in Malden and in Washington, D.C. If your local approves the high-stakes testing resolution, use the same contact information above to let Ari Mercado, MTA governance assistant, know.

GIC Advocacy Day
Please join other public employees attending the Massachusetts AFL-CIO's union GIC Advocacy Day. The governor's plan to require employees to pay a higher premium share on top of higher out-of-pocket costs represents real erosion in health insurance benefits for public employees. The advocacy day is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 2, at Gardner Auditorium in the State House. Details of the GIC proposal and other aspects of Governor Charlie Baker's budget can be found here.

If you plan to attend, please contact John Drinkwater at the Massachusetts AFL-CIO by emailing jdrinkwater@massaflcio.org.

Black Votes Matter
Come to a talk and Q&A with Bob Moses, a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, on voter education and registration in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. He is now a teacher and founder of the national math literacy program called the Algebra Project. He will be at the Museum of African American History, 46 Joy St., Boston, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 2. Admission is $5.

Fight for $15 - Raise the Minimum Wage
One way to fight the rising tide of inequality is to increase the minimum wage. You can help by joining the Fight for $15 rally on Tuesday, April 14, from 4 to 6 p.m. in Boston.

In solidarity, and in anticipation of many great things ahead,

Barbara