Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Last month at this time, I wrote an article titled, “What Changed?” In it, I laid out how I didn’t think anything had changed when Kevin Cramer decided to seek reelection rather than challenge Heidi Heitkamp for the U.S. Senate. I said Cramer was never going to run against Heidi, that it would be too much of a gamble. It wouldn’t make sense for him to challenge a popular incumbent when reelection odds seemed sound, I wrote. My take hasn’t changed, but something else has. Cramer has flipped. Today, he’ll announce his campaign against Heitkamp. What changed?
WASHINGTON – AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is challenging organized labor to go on the offense, despite control of Washington and states by anti-union politicians.
The fed leader issued his demand at the United Auto Workers political conference in D.C., in early February. He headlined a parade of speakers, including Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.
The recent stock market rumpus has been set off in part by fears that a tight labor market and quickening wage growth are a foretaste of higher inflation and interest rates. But sustained raises for American workers may be possible only if employers can break a habit: handing out one-time bonuses in place of salary increases.
A growing preference among employers for one-time awards instead of raises that keep building over time has been quietly transforming the employment landscape for two decades. But it was accelerated by the recession’s intensity, which made employers especially cautious about increasing labor costs.
On a the vehicle’s compactor crushed him. He was rushed to a hospital, where he died.morning in 2013 in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood, an 18-year-old recycling worker, Luis Camarillo, was loading materials into a truck when
Mr. Camarillo’s death, while seemingly a freak accident, was in fact not unusual.
The hazards facing people in this line of work have a long history — they inspired the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike of 1968. That walkout was set off in part by the deaths of two Memphis sanitation workers, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, who were crushed to death by the hydraulic press of the truck they were riding on one rainy winter evening.
The North Dakota AFL-CIO will host a town hall-style meeting with the theme of "Unions, Politics and Power" for union members and their families at the Bismarck Labor Temple on
Come learn and discuss how we can use our freedom to join together to build better lives for North Dakota union families and to build a better North Dakota for all workers.
Pizza, Pop, Coffee and Cookies will be served.
NOTE: This discussion will be geared specifically towards North Dakota union members, retired union members and union family members. Similar Labor Town Halls for the general public are forthcoming. Locations for Grand Forks, Minot TBA.
On any given day 54,000 North Dakotans rely on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) to put food on their table. SNAP is set to be reauthorized in the 2018 Farm Bill. Based on past Farm Bills and what we are hearing from Congress, we expect the program will be at risk of significant cuts and damaging policy changes.
Mobile Messaging for North Dakota Workers!
We are happy to introduce a new tool in the fight for workers' rights in North Dakota!
Text NDLABOR to 235246 to join our new mobile messaging service and stay up-to-date on upcoming actions and events for working people!
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
North Dakota KIDS COUNT
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Job Openings - HUD-VASH/HCHV Outreach Social Workers
The Veterans Administration is hiring!
The Social Worker is a part of the Fargo VA Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) team and reports to the Supervisor of Health Care for Homeless Veterans Programs. They will function as the Williston CBOC's HUD/VASH Case Manager, operating in the Williston, Watford City and surrounding areas to include Williams county. This position will also serve as an outreach worker and strive to develop positive relationships with community providers. The incumbent is responsible for oversight of the region of the HUD/VASH and HCHV programs. Duties include administrative data collecting and reporting, serving as the primary contact with local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs), and providing case management-based services (directly or through referral) necessary to ensure that veteran care is coordinated with the VA medical center, community health or mental health providers, CBOC, and agencies that serve homeless populations.
The incumbent in this social work position provides housing and case management services to Tribally Eligible homeless veterans. In 1992 the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) established the HUD/VA Supportive Housing (HUD/VASH) Program. The program is a collaborative effort, supported through HUD Section 8 rental assistance vouchers and VA's provision of intensive case management services. In 2016, the VA provided grants to select Tribal Nations implement a Tribal VASH demonstration grant. The primary goal of both HUD/VASH and Tribal HUD/VASH is to move veterans and their families out of homelessness. The primary component of the program is VA case management services, designed to improve veteran's health and mental health, enhancing their ability to remain stable, housed and community-integrated.
Interested Applicants should contact Diana Hall via email!
Monday, January 29, 2018
From Rule for Engagement: Social-Emotional Learning for Senators: This Elementary School Exercise Helped End the Shutdown
Social-Emotional Learning for Senators: This Elementary School Exercise Helped End the Shutdown
A group of Senators helped negotiate the compromise that ended a three-day government shutdown using an exercise familiar to many elementary school teachers: To prevent interruptions during a spirited conversation, the elected officials were only allowed to speak when they were holding a "talking stick" that belongs to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
In elementary and middle school classrooms that emphasize social-emotional learning and restorative practices, it's not unusual to see students sitting in a morning circle, taking turns talking as they pass a prized object around. Some students take turns bringing things from home to pass around—like toys or family photos—which helps create a sense of community during conversations with classmates.
It's kind of funny to imagine the "world's greatest deliberative body" using a colorful prop to solve a seemingly intractable dispute. But there are some good takeaways for schools about being sensitive to students' relational needs and emotional development in the classroom. (Collins, it so happens, is a member of the Senate education committee.)
1. When it comes to skills like listening, adults don't have it all figured out.
Congress voted to restore funding to the federal government Monday after a three-day standoff over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for those brought to the country illegally as minors. A group of mostly Democrats who'd pushed for congressional action for DACA recipients agreed to move forward on a pledge to debate immigration policy in the coming weeks.
But in the initial hours of the standoff, there was a lot of talking (and tweeting) and not a lot of listening.
Collins, who also helped broker a compromise after the 2013 government shutdown, called the bipartisan meetings she held with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., the "Common Sense Coalition." That's when the talking stick came into play.
"As you can see, it's beautifully beaded and it was given to me by my friend, Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota," Collins told CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. "It is originally from Africa and it is used to help control the debate in a meeting, particularly when you have a large number of loquacious people."
Collins danced around reports that one senator had broken a glass elephant after throwing the stick in frustration. The senator was just trying to toss the stick to a colleague and "the toss went slightly amiss," she said.
The experience illustrates something school leaders have told Education Week in the past: It's wrong to assume that adults have social-emotional learning all figured out. We all need help with skills like social-awareness and relationship skills, and some tools and scaffolding never hurt anybody. Many school leaders who've put social-emotional learning plans into place have later said they should have started with adults, like teachers, who are crucial for modeling respect and healthy interactions to students.
2. Tools and exercises can help make students more deliberate.
Listening is central to many of the social skills schools emphasize. It helps students build social awareness, it's key to forming healthy relationships, and it involves a great deal of self-awareness and self-control.
But young students don't always recognize how they communicate with body language and facial expressions. So some schools use the same kinds of "scaffolding" exercises when they teach listening as they do when they teach traditional academic subjects, like writing. That might be posters with sentence starters that help children reflect what they heard back to their peers, or objects like talking sticks to make the roles of speakers and listeners more deliberate.
A few years ago, I watched a group of fifth-grade students in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, an area known for gang violence and poverty, complete a listening circle. To help listening become more deliberate, their teacher had created a routine. First a classmate led them in some mindful breathing to "inhale the positive and exhale the negative." Then they went around the circle answering questions from their teacher: What is something they've said or done that made someone happy? What's something they've done that made someone hurt? How could they "set an intention" to fix it?
All along, the students followed routines, sometimes even reminding each other to keep their eyes on the student who was speaking and to gently acknowledge peers who were more hesitant to speak.
Such conversations may seem frivolous to some, but learning the ordinary things about each others' lives makes it easier to talk about more difficult things, students told me at the time. Once, while talking about where they like to play, a girl said she doesn't like to go outside because of gangs in the alley outside her home.
And those listening skills can be leveraged for academic benefits, teachers say. One teacher in Oakland told me last year how she has her second-grade students have guided conversations, exploring each others' ideas and asking questions, before they complete writing exercises. The exercise helps promote listening skills, and it helps students identify the thinking process behind writing, rather than seeing it as merely a skill of mechanics and grammar, she said. Another teacher who completed a similar exercise said she used posters with conversational prompts to help students improve their listening process.
3. Be sensitive to the unique needs of students.
Committed to addressing a congressional dispute, Collins surely wouldn't have introduced a talking stick if she thought her fellow senators would respond poorly to the exercise.
Similarly, teachers need to think of developmentally and culturally appropriate ways to engage students in learning social skills. For example, not every conversation in that Watts classroom deals with heavy social issues. Sometimes kids talk about their favorite ice cream flavors.
Also, teachers should be careful with the concepts like talking sticks—and any object with cultural significance—if they aren't aware of their history. A Cherokee woman recently recalled how her daughter brought home a "talking stick" craft project, a twig with feathers and glitter glued to it. Her teachers had incorrectly told her it was an American Indian tradition without specifying anything about the tribe they believed to be involved. The project was deeply offensive to this mother, who wanted her daughter to learn about her cultural history in a specific and accurate way.
It sounds like those teachers should have done a little more listening themselves.
What do you think? How should schools teach listening skills? What's the best way to make exercises personal and meaningful for students?
Top image: Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, displays her talking stick in a screen capture from CNN.
Bottom photo: "Talking pieces" decorate a blanket in the middle of a discussion circle at Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary School in Los Angeles. Students bring in objects to represent themselves as they take part in discussions aimed at building trust and support. (Jamie Rector for Education Week)