Each week, AFGE browses the World Wide Web for stories that matter to AFGE members. Here are the five stories you shouldn’t miss this week:
1. North Carolina teachers rally in Raleigh for raises, funding
This is the basic math in the life of North Carolina kindergarten teacher Kristin Beller: one master’s degree, plus 14 years of experience, plus 10-hour workdays, plus a sometimes six-day workweek equals $51,000 in annual salary. That does not include the money she makes on the side as a tutor. Nor does it take into account the hundreds of dollars of her own money Beller said she has shelled out to make sure her students at Joyner Elementary School in Raleigh have new books to read.
On Wednesday, Beller and thousands of other teachers from across the Tar Heel State skipped school, donned red T-shirts, and marched through North Carolina's capital demanding a raise — along with more state funding for education — from lawmakers who they say have been shortchanging public schools for years.
2. Almost half of US families can't afford basics like rent and food
The economy may be chugging along, but many Americans are still struggling to afford a basic middle- class life. Nearly 51 million households don't earn enough to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a cell phone, according to a study released Thursday by the United Way ALICE Project. That's 43% of households in the United States.
3. Majorities See Government Efforts to Protect the Environment as Insufficient
Majorities of Americans say the federal government is doing too little to protect key aspects of the environment including water (69%) and air quality (64%). And two-thirds of Americans (67%) say the government is doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change. These findings come after a year of change in climate and energy regulatory policies under the Trump administration.
4. EPA Chief Sets Up a Legal Defense Fund
Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt on Wednesday acknowledged to senators that he has set up a legal defense fund to address his ethics issues now being examined in more than a dozen investigations.
5. I Work with Mark Janus. Here’s How He Benefits from a Strong Union.
What convinced Mr. Janus to join this destructive lawsuit? Your guess is as good as mine. I do know it’s much bigger than him. He’s the public face, but this case is backed by a network of billionaires and corporate front groups like the National Right-to-Work Foundation. But the truth is, even Mark Janus himself benefits from union representation.