Not Just L.A.: Where Teachers Might Strike in 2019

The ongoing teacher strike in Los Angeles won’t be this year’s only uprising of educators pushing for higher pay, better working conditions and changes to education policy.

With more than 30,000 members of the United Teachers Los Angeles union off the job since their strike began Monday, teachers from half a dozen public schools in Oakland, Calif., are preparing for their own walkout on Friday. Friday is also the deadline for teachers in Denver to reach a contract agreement with their district, and the union has scheduled a strike vote for Saturday if that doesn’t happen.

Meanwhile, teachers in Chicago, Indiana and Virginia are all weighing various actions — formal strikes, walkouts or other demonstrations — over what they say is the underfunding of their schools. This follows a year in which teachers across the country — sometimes across an entire state — went on strike or protested in Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

Shutdown Hits Mississippi Harder than 90 Percent of States

— The ongoing federal government shutdown is doing more damage in Mississippi than in most states, an analysis finds.

Mississippi ranks eighth, according to WalletHub, thanks in part to its share of federal workers and its dependence on federal programs.

WalletHub determined Mississippi’s ranking after looking at all 50 states and the District of Columbia and considered in each the share of federal jobs, contract dollars per capita, the percent of families receiving food stamps, real estate as a percentage of gross product and national parks access.

JacksonFreePress.com

ExxonMobil shifting attention to Metro Council after School Board rejects tax break requests

The biggest taxpayer in East Baton Rouge Parish will be paying more in property taxes after the parish School Board rejected its requests for breaks for its refinery and polyolefins plants.

ExxonMobil’s narrow 5-4 defeat came just shy of midnight Thursday at the end of a marathon, seven-hour meeting. But it was also the culmination of years of organizing by the faith-based group Together Baton Rouge and allied education groups. They have rallied for changes in how industrial tax breaks are given out in Louisiana as they seek to raise more money for public schools and other public services.

The Advocate

The record government shutdown, if not resolved soon, could be ‘fodder for recession’: Moody’s

American consumers could lose faith in the economy if federal workers don’t go back to work soon, Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi warned Friday. “If this drags on into February, March, then growth rates are going to fall to a place where unemployment will start to rise,” Zandi said in a CNBC interview. “That’s fodder for recession.” Shortly after Zandi’s appearance on “Squawk Box,” the University of Michigan said its preliminary reading on consumer sentiment for January showed a drop to its weakest level since Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016. CNBC

Virginia senate panel adopts HQ2 incentive bill as activists fight uphill battle against it

The Virginia Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of an incentive bill that would provide workforce cash grants of up to $550 million to Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) for creating 25,000 jobs in Arlington County. “The legislation before the committee today Is an investment in the future growth of the commonwealth,” Holly Sullivan, who was among the leaders of Seattle-based Amazon’s HQ2 search team, told the committee. “It will help diversify the economy and will serve as a catalyst for drawing other businesses to the entire state.” It was a relatively uneventful, 15-minute discussion. Committee Co-chairman Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Solon, asked at one point, “Holly, if we were to vote this down, could we go back to the table and get a sweeter deal?” “I guess I could ask the same question,” Sullivan responded. They laughed, and voted to report the bill — a far cry from the battle Amazon is waging in New York City for the other half of HQ2. Washington Business Journal

North Texas TSA agent: ‘I just don’t know how the government can get away with not paying us’

While some union colleagues rallied outside Terminal D at DFW Airport on Wednesday, hundreds of TSA agents kept doing their jobs inside. For traveling passengers, it was just a usual afternoon flying. But for those unpaid agents, it was the 26th straight unusual day at the office. “Worried, stressed and frustrated, trying to figure out where I’m going to be able to pay my bills,” said Becky Mancha, a Love Field TSA agent since 2008. “I’m a very strong person. I’m self-sufficient, and I have to tell my kids, I don’t know where it’s coming from.” Dallas Business Journal

Shutdown hits home in DFW: ‘We have some tough decisions to make in the coming days’

Denise Massie is worried. Massie’s husband, an engineer with the Federal Aviation Administration, hasn’t been working or getting his paycheck since before the holidays because of the partial government shutdown. A nurse by trade, Massie is on partial bed rest as she nears a March due date for the birth of the couple’s fifth child. The Fort Worth family is cutting back and budgeting, but they’re very anxious about their finances. “It is something that you don’t want to talk about a lot,” said Massie, 42. “It is something. Pride. You don’t want to ask and say, ‘We need this, we need that.’ ” As the partial government shutdown continues, many Texas families like the Massies are carrying a quiet burden. Fort Worth Star Telegram

NC having trouble paying unemployment benefits to federal workers

RALEIGH — The state’s Department of Employment Security is in a pickle about how to handle furloughed federal employees applying for unemployment benefits. Nearly 800 people have applied for unemployment benefits relating to the federal shutdown, according to DES, but it’s unclear if they are eligible for those benefits because of state law. Unemployment insurance could be a critical stopgap for many of those workers who have now gone almost three weeks without being paid. For many of them, the stumbling block is an inability to respond to notices from the department, which is in charge of administering the state’s unemployment insurance. Raleigh News & Observer

Georgia unemployment claims by federal workers continue to surge

The wave of federal employees filing for unemployment benefits in Georgia continues to surge, as the partial federal government shutdown persists and more workers scramble for assistance. More than 1,200 federal employees sought new unemployment benefits last week, accounting for about one in 10 new claims the state received in that time period, according to data the Georgia Department of Labor released Wednesday. Only 34 federal employees sought benefits in the year-earlier period. The sharp increase comes after nearly 450 federal workers in Georgia filed unemployment claims in the two weeks before that, representing roughly an eight-fold increase from the year-earlier period. AJC.com

Government shutdown leaves Mississippi’s NASA employees, contractors without pay

NASA’s name is on Stennis Space Center’s front gate but nobody in the space agency is working inside its sprawling facility in Hancock County. NASA employees and their contractors haven’t been on the payroll since the partial government shutdown began Dec. 22. Phone calls to offices go to voice mail and some parking lots are empty. The nearby Infinity Science Center, the official visitor center for Stennis, is open but bus tours of the space center are not running. Services such as the switchboard and security are still in place, supporting the 40 or so government agencies, aerospace industries and other companies located at the facility which has a total of about 5,000 employees. Mississippi Business Journal