Cablevision technicians in Brooklyn voted to join the Communications Workers of America by a margin of 180 to 86. Cablevision management had run a classic anti-union campaign, hiring anti-union consultants and subjecting workers to captive audience meetings to pressure them to oppose the union—obviously unsuccessfully. Workers wanted a union not only to address pay and benefits questions but, according to Daniel Massey of Crain’s, “to codify disciplinary procedures.”

Congratulations to the new CWA members at Cablevision!

And more:

Dave Johnson and Scott Paul look at aspects of President Obama’s emphasis on American manufacturing in his State of the Union address.
By contrast with his discussion of manufacturing, the education section of President Obama’s State of the Union was quite weak. Though Obama said he did not want teachers teaching to the test, diarist StarbuckAGTM points to the outcome of Obama’s education policies:

I’m a huge supporter of President Obama, but last night in his State of the Union speech, he heralded the fact that he has taken a page from his conservative couterparts and promoted competition in education. What he neglected to say was that this competition will be based on test scores. In fact, President Obama’s Race to the Top program emphasizes linking teacher pay and evaluation to student data (read: test scores). Apparently, this will hold me accountable to spending every moment of my time teaching to the test.

Related, The Answer Sheet’s invaluable Valerie Strauss takes a close look at the recent study finding long-lasting benefits for students of effective teachers, pointing out that the testing data the study relied on dated from before the high-stakes era of No Child Left Behind and that the much-quoted (including by the president) figure that a good teacher can increase a class’s lifetime earnings by more than $250,000 works out to around $250 per student per year. Assuming full-time employment, that’s about $4.80 a week or 12 cents an hour. It’s not nothing, but it’s a lot less impressive sounding than “more than $250,000.”
The five biggest lies about the right-wing corporate-backed war on our schools.
Kansas is attacking Project Labor Agreements and some building safety standards.
Josh Eidelson reports on the $10 million anti-union ad campaign being run by Rick Berman’s “Center for Union Facts.” That’s the same Rick Berman “who as a food and beverage industry lobbyist famously denied that high soda consumption is a cause of diabetes.”
Safety violation of the month?

MSHA issued an imminent danger order when an inspector observed a coal pile, 5 feet high and 10 feet in diameter, on fire approximately 23 feet from an explosives storage magazine outside the mine. Additionally, the storage magazine, which contained two cases of explosives, had not been secured against unauthorized entry. A clearly identified key was lying on top of the magazine. Furthermore, a 5-gallon oil bucket full of burning coal and other materials was discovered near the intake portals of the mine.

Those weren’t the only violations at that mine, but they sure are ones you don’t have to know a thing about coal mining to appreciate.
I can’t think of another way to introduce this item beyond to say fuck New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg:

Seven of the 33 schools where the city is seeking to fire half the staff were rated an A or B on their latest city-issued report cards, a review by The Post found.

That means roughly 260 teachers are slated to be cleared out from schools that were just celebrated in the fall for making significant gains.

The mayor plans to close and reopen the schools this summer.