As much as we would rather not accept it, while unions have done a lot of good and have helped workers avoid exploitation, they also seem to have helped senior administrators including superintendent of schools and other senior administrators within the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) in several cases exploit workers. Perhaps it has been a gradual shift over time, with some Unions slowly accumulating more and more power and colluding with management in many cases to abuse employees within PGCPS School District and elsewhere.
Unions in many cases can have the power to impede an organization’s ability to compete and thrive. A school District might be in desperate trouble, yet its unions may be unwilling to bend or compromise in order to help the systems survive. Many school districts around the country are finding themselves left very inflexible when they have Union contracts to abide by which might be good for workers. However, what is happening in PGCPS is driven by pure selfish greed among the Union personnel who are involved in corruption especially within Maryland State Educator Association (MSEA). The PGCEA attorney involved in the grievance procedure a Mr. Damon Felton from MSEA (Pictured here on the right) has been acting in conspiracy with others engaged in corruption with regards to processing grievances and other matters. The grievance system in PG county has failed in accomplishing its initial mission and in this scenerio, students and families of Prince George’s County suffer. There is a direct co–relation with the mal-practice by the union staff which has led to increasing discontent within the entire school District. This dissatisfaction, if not dealt with appropriately, ends up boiling down to an uncomfortable situation and an unpleasant word called ‘stress.’
“Stress is a normal physiological response to ‘danger’ as perceived by the body or brain. The factors that lead to stress can be self-induced as well as induced by the surroundings. Employee stress shows a direct impact on an organization’s business. While from the business angle it can affect productivity, client service, profits and team work, from the individual’s perspective it can lead to deteriorating morale and self-esteem, low confidence levels, health hassles and a troubled personal life.
In many cases, the Union staff involved in negotiations has been busy lining their own pockets or involved in illicit acts as shown in other areas as well for example ACE-AFSCME Local 2250, ASASP, SEIU and PGCEA Unions to the dismay of many members and the community at large. The Union staff members involved in this activity have been violating their oath of office in several ways. They have been acting in questionable ways including lying, bribing select candidates for the local board office among other issues. (The Board members who are the target of bribery and back door campaign contributions are well-known). These issues need to be addressed or brought to a stop without any further delay within PGCPS School District. The PG County delegation needs to look into these issues and stop the practice. If the Unions want to serve and assist, they ought to be accountable or made to account by various stake holders and they must play by the rules. We cannot afford to have a few elements destroy our democratic institutions for what appears to be purely personal greed driven by malice.
Public life means meeting our shared responsibilities, caring for one another, and building the mutual trust upon which democracy depends. The recommendations below are special cases of these moral principles. They also represent a special case of a general strategy – to restore public life to American democracy which includes Prince George’s County School District.
1. We must return the public to our political system and end the corrupt influence of selfish interests that have abandoned our shared responsibilities. This means public finance of campaigns, strict enforcement of the highest ethical standards in public life, and protection of the sacred right to vote.
2. Our nation has vast national wealth: a huge continental landmass with wealth in minerals, agricultural land, forests, cities, beautiful places, as well as its public wealth, that is, the creative wealth of its educated citizenry and the collective wealth of all its citizens and corporations. We, the public, can put our nation’s vast wealth to use in creating jobs that make the lives of all better: building, educating, curing, and imagining. That is the Dream.
To realize the Dream, we must end the Nightmare.
3. We must turn back the Right’s assault on public and higher education and meet our traditional commitment to education. Our children are tomorrow’s public. The future of democracy depends upon them.
4. We must rebuild our public infrastructure, a fancy term for the necessities we share: roads, bridges, dams, parks, fair grounds, water mains, sewers, and the power grid; public agencies that monitor disease, weather and food safety. Government that works for all of us can and should create jobs that serve us all by rebuilding our shared necessities.
5. We must come together publicly to mutually ensure the health of all America. Health is not a private matter. It is public one.
6. We must protect the prior earnings of American workers set aside in Social Security or private pensions. They have been earned through hard work and discipline. Taking these earnings away is theft, despite the Right’s use of the word “entitlements.”
7. A public of unequal voices is not a democratic public. We need a progressive tax system through which all Americans pay their fair share and a business ethics that fairly rewards those whose work creates productivity and profit.
8. We must put the American individual above abstract corporate entities. We must end “corporate personhood,” which gives transnational corporations a greater voice than individuals in our public deliberations.
9. We must end the move to “privatize” institutions through which we meet our shared responsibilities. When the public is removed, the private sphere takes over, charging more, and often creating unaccountable monopolies that bilk the public. Privatization of the public typically means that most citizens just pay more, often a lot more.
10. Discrimination of all kinds must be overcome. Public life depends upon recognition of our equal humanity.
This is why Democracy is, and must remain, public. This is why America has traditionally been a beacon to the world. This is the example America has set. We dare not give it up. The alternative is the Nightmare.