From American Progress:
Under the Radar
LABOR -- NLRB RULING BARS MILLIONS OF WORKERS FROM UNIONIZING: In a party-line 3-2 decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) voted yesterday to "slash long-time federal labor laws protecting workers’ freedom to form unions and opened the door for employers to classify millions of workers as supervisors." Under the Taft-Hartley Act, supervisors are prohibited from joining unions. In a group of three cases known as "Kentucky River," the Board's decision to classify charge nurses as supervisors means up to 8 million workers may be barred from joining unions. Under the expanded definition, a worker can be classified as a supervisor if "he or she spends as little as 10 percent to 15 percent of his or her time overseeing the work of others," blurring the original intention of the Taft-Hartley act. Even the anti-union authors of Taft-Hartley clarified that they did not intend to deny bargaining rights to "lead workers or others whose jobs do not include major managerial responsibility to hire, fire and discipline other employees." Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) criticized the board for not being thorough enough in its decision. "The board should have heard from workers," DeLauro said, "yet the NLRB has not held oral arguments in a single case since 2001."
IRAQ -- BUSH ADMINISTRATION WINS 'UNDECLARED WAR' AGAINST RECONSTRUCTION INSPECTOR GENERAL: In August, the Washington Times reported an "undeclared war" was going on between the Bush administration and Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. "As is his mission, Mr. Bowen simply puts out a series of reports detailing failings in the reconstruction effort," the paper wrote. "Privately, Bush administration officials tell us that Mr. Bowen’s quarterly reports and audits are too negative." Today, the Times reports, "Congress has set a 2007 termination date for" Bowen "at the behest of the Bush administration, removing the source of a series of audit reports that have emboldened critics of the president’s war polices." "The just-completed Pentagon authorization bill ends SIGIR, as the post is called, on Oct. 1, 2007." "In Iraq," Bowen wrote in one of his past quarterly reports, "systematic planning for the post-hostilities period was insufficient in both scope and implementation. With respect to human capital, no comprehensive policy or regulatory guidelines were in place for staffing the management of post-war Iraq."
ADMINISTRATION -- FUNDING FOR SCHOOL VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROGRAMS CUT BY BUSH ADMINISTRATION: In the past few weeks, the nation has been stunned by the rash of school shootings in Colorado, Wisconsin, and at an Amish schoolhouse in Pennyslvania. The violence has "prompted changes to school safety rules, sparked debate over the availability of guns and prompted a string of academic studies on the causes of stress, depression and violence in young people." Similarly, President Bush said he was "saddened and deeply concerned" about the shootings and will be convening a summit of education and law enforcement experts to discuss federal action that can help communities prevent violence. While this conference is a good step, it comes a bit late. The Bush administration has repeatedly recommended eliminating funding for a federal grant to prevent school violence. Congress has continued to fund it, but at reduced levels. "Funding was $439.2 million in 2001 but has fallen to $346.5 million this year, with $310 million recommended for 2007." Between 1992 and 2002, 261 kids were killed in school. Funding for the federal school violence and substance abuse programs has been spread so thinly "that more than half the nation's school districts receive $10,000 or less per year -- too little to make a difference," according to Bill Modzeleski, who runs the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools in the U.S. Education Department.