Rail workers in France continue their strikes

For the second time in five days, French rail workers on April 8 went on a two-day strike to protest President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to eliminate hard-won labor rights and to transform France’s state-run rail system from a public service into a business.

Euronews reports that because of the strike only one in seven high-speed trains that connect the nation and one in five regional trains were operating during the two-day walkout.

The first two-day strike took place on April 3 and April 4, was equally disruptive.

Bloomberg reports that the four days of strike have cost SNCF, which operates France’s state-owned rail system, $100 million euros.

Four unions of rail workers have joined together to plan and organize the strike.

These two-day strikes will take place every five days and continue until the end of June unless President Macron re-thinks his decision to implement by decree changes to workers’ pension rights and job protections.

The unions are also concerned about Macron’s plan to turn SNCF into a business whose stock will be listed on stock exchanges.

Even though the government will maintain control of the stock, union leaders think that turning SNCF into a business will lead to its privatization.

While the original plan for the nationwide two-day strikes is for them to end in the latter part of June, Philippe Martinez, leader of CGT, the largest of the four striking rail unions, said that if the Macron government continues its present course of stonewalling negotiations, the strikes could last longer.

Martinez called on Macron and his negotiators to “unblock their ears to hear the worker’s discontent.”

“It’s this unwillingness to listen to the railway unions that has caused this situation,” Martinez said on LCI television. “We are a social opposition and that’s our role as a union.”

 

The discontent referred to by Martinez is the result of Macron’s announcement that he will if necessary issue a decree that eliminates early retirement and job security rights for newly hired rail workers.

Right now, rail workers can retire when they turn 52 years old and they have the guarantee of a job for life.

While the business-friendly press has characterized these benefits as privileges, they are in fact benefits that compensate rail workers for doing a hard job vital to commerce, leisure for others, and national unity.

“These rights were won by hard struggle and are seen (by workers) as some compensation for the low pay and the unsocial and unhealthy hours which must be worked to run a national rail network in a large country,” reports John Mullen for Counterfire.

There other reasons for concern among striking rail workers.

Macron wants to change the status of SNCF from that of a state-run public service to a joint-stock company.

Macron has characterized this change as an attempt to make SNCF more efficient, so that it can compete when France’s rail service is opened up to competition as required by the European Union.

The opening is supposed to begin in 2019, but Macron could postpone that intrusion until 2033 if he chooses.

Union leaders like Thierry Nier, deputy head of CGT’s rail workers union, are wary that Macron’s proposal will undermine the public nature of France’s rail system.

“The issue is this,” said Nier. “Does the state want to use this public good to meet the needs of the common interest, or play Monopoly with the SNCF? Competition doesn’t work, and it hurts passengers.”

There is also concern among the public that changing the structure of SNCF will lead to privatization of France’s rail system.

Critics of Macron’s proposal point out that the privatization of France Telecom began in a similar way.

Public opinion about the strike is divided.

The strike has been disruptive, which has been stressful for commuters trying to get to work and to travelers trying to reach their destination. That stress has led to frustration and anger.

But people are also concerned about the long-term impact that Macron’s proposals could have on the nation’s social fabric, leading many to support the strike.

In just two weeks, supporters of the strike have donated more than 500,000 euros to a strikers’ solidarity fund that will be used to supplement wages lost during the strikes.

“I unreservedly support the rail workers in their defense of public service,” wrote one donor.

“I completely agree with the rail workers and the reason behind what they’re doing,” said Hemet Sylla, a rail passenger whose train had been delayed, to The Local. “It’s absolutely vital to protect your rights and keep on fighting those trying to take them away.  And the disruption to our day might be annoying but this is part of living in a society where you have the right to protect yourself.”

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Second UK outsourcing company in financial trouble

Capita, a prominent private contractor that provides a wide array of public services for the United Kingdom and its local governments, on January 30 issued a profit warning and announced that it was initiating a dramatic rescue plan.

The announcement caused further anxiety about the viability of the government’s privatization strategy.

Earlier this year, Carillion, another prominent government contractor, was forced to liquidate because it could no longer pay its massive debts.

Carillion’s liquidation left its 20,000 workers without jobs and the government scrambling to figure out a way to provide services that the defunct company no longer did.

If Capita’s rescue plan fails, its workers and those who rely on the services provided by the company will be facing the same fate.

These services are extensive. They include operating call centers that help people apply for and receive unemployment benefits, managing the teachers’ pension fund, helping people with disabilities find work, providing services to the UK’s National Health Service, and operating NHS’ online payment system to name just a few.

As soon as Capita announced its rescue plan, Unite, Britain’s largest trade union, called on the Ministry of Defense to reconsider its plan to privatize firefighters and defense workers.

Capita is one of two companies bidding on the department’s privatization proposal.

“Following Carillion’s collapse and the profit warning issued by Capita today the government must order a moratorium on the privatization of the MoD firefighters contract,” said Gail Cartmail, Unite’s assistant general secretary.

Cartmail added that these workers, who protect Ministry of Defense building, equipment, and munitions, “could swiftly find themselves in the same position as Carillion workers.”

“Rather than outsourcing public services, the government should be bringing all its outsourced contracts back in house” continued Cartmail

Like Carillion, Capita suffers from a lack of cash flow that has resulted in an unacceptable accumulation of debt.

The Telegraph reports that Capita has a net debt of  £1.1 billion and owes £380 million in pension contributions.

Jonathan Lewis, Capita’s new CEO, said that the company got itself in trouble by spreading itself too thin.

Capita went on a spending spree buying up other companies in order to increase its market share, but its income could not pay for all of its new purchases.

Lewis said that his rescue plan for Capita would include selling some of the businesses that the company acquired during its spending spree, not paying dividends to investors, and issuing new stock that he hopes will raise £700 million to recapitalize the company.

The bad news from Capita, which saw its share price drop by 40 percent, comes on the heels of the Carillion disaster.

Like Capita, Carillion was a big player in the UK’s privatization game.

For more than thirty years, Britain’s government has aggressively moved to sell off public assets and privatize many government services.

When privatization was first implemented in a big way back in the 1980s, economists and business leaders alike hailed the move as an innovative way to make government services more efficient and cost effective.

But those high hopes have begun to unravel in the UK.

One area of privatization that has come under fire, is the privatization of British Rail. The UK privatized its national rail system in 1993, but a little more than 20 years later, the public has soured on its privatization and critics are calling it a disaster.

More recently, Carillion’s demise has further dimmed the shine on privatization’s luster.

Carillion piled up huge debts while the government tried to keep it afloat by awarding it new contracts.

In addition to its private creditors, Carillion owes nearly £1 billion in unpaid pension contributions.

“The developing picture of the level of incompetence and mismanagement at Carillion is simply staggering,” Cartmail said.

She added that “while Carillion’s employees face losing their livelihoods and the taxpayer has to pick up a huge bill for the company’s collapse, it remains unclear if anyone will ever be held responsible.”

GMB, another union whose members were hurt by Carillion’s demise, criticized the company and the government’s handling of the crisis.

“The more we see, the more it appears that the workers are paying the price for the failures of corporate bosses and government ministers,” said Rehana Azam, GMB national secretary.

“Thousands of Carillion workers still don’t know what will happen to them as their pay, terms and conditions hang in the balance–and worse, the prospect of their pensions being raided.

“The system that has allowed this to happen is broken and it must change.”

 

Union calls for more hiring at VA health care facilities and no more privatization

Veterans Affairs (VA) health care workers in Kerrville, Texas joined a growing number of VA hospital workers protesting plans to privatize the VA.

The VA workers on November 29 rallied outside the gates of the Kerrville VA Medical Center located in the Central Texas Hill Country.

Earlier in the month, VA health care workers, members of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), rallied in Dallas, Temple, and Austin.

They have joined a national movement of union workers protesting plans to privatize the VA and demanding that the VA administration fill 49,000 vacant staff positions at VA health care facilities across the US.

The Kerrville VA workers said that allowing so many vacancies to persist puts the health and safety of their patients at risk.

Cheryl Eliano, national vice president AFGE District 10, said that the failure to fully staff VA facilities and the effort to privatize the VA go hand in hand.

“The lack of hiring is a strategic move to justify privatizing the VA,” said Eliano to the San Antonio Express News. “If they gave the VA the resources to do our jobs, the lines for veterans to get services wouldn’t be so long.”

The VA has been in the sights of privatization advocates since 2014 when the media began reporting that some veterans were having to wait too long for medical appointments at VA facilities.

A number of right-wing, pro-privatization groups used the long wait periods as an excuse to ramp up efforts to privatize the VA.

At the time, David J. Cox, Sr., national president of AFGE blamed the long wait periods on understaffing.

“When we look deeper into this issue of extended wait times for veterans to receive an appointment, we have to recognize that understaffing is a major culprit, Cox said.

In order to reduce long wait periods, Congress passed a bill that did two things: it increased VA health care funding so that VA facilities could hire more staff and upgrade its facilities, and it created a privatized alternative called Veterans Choice.

Veterans Choice, which provides veterans with vouchers to use with private health care services, was supposed to be a temporary alternative for veterans to use until the VA fixed its understaffing problem.

But plans are underway to expand it and make it permanent.

In June, the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs held hearings on a bill that expanded VA Choice and made it permanent.

At the hearing representatives of congressionally charted veterans group voiced their opposition to VA Choice and their support for the VA.

“The American Legion supports a strong VA that relies on outside care as little as possible and only when medically necessary, rather than a move toward vouchers and privatization,” said American Legion Assistant Director Jeff Steele at the hearing.

“Even with the additional options of the Choice program, veterans in general overwhelmingly prefer to use VA,” said Disabled American Veterans Deputy National Legislative Director Adrian Atizado to the committee. “DAV strongly urges this committee, Congress, and the administration to honor the clear preference of the vast majority of veterans who choose to use the VA health care system–a system created to meet their unique needs.”

Despite the veterans groups’ support of the VA, the Republican leadership in Congress, President Trump, and the VA administration are moving ahead with other plans to privatize VA health care services.

In November, word leaked out about secret meetings between President Trump’s administration and the VA’s administration.

Out of the meetings came memos that proposed a plan for merging VA Choice with Tricare, the military’s health care system for troops, their dependents, and retirees.

In a letter to VA Secretary David Shulkin, five Democratic members of Congress, who are veterans, told the secretary that had “grave concerns” about a Tricare-VA merger.

“A Tricare-VA merger could compel veterans entitled to care provided by the VA system to instead seek care through the private sector, a shift that could unfairly force veterans to pay out-of-pocket costs that they wouldn’t otherwise be required to bear,” wrote representatives Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Anthony Brown (D-MD), Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Collin Peterson (D-MN).

While all of this activity aimed at privatizing the VA has been taking place, the VA has done little to deal with the understaffing problem that originally caused the long waits.

In fact, the understaffing problem has gotten worse. In 2016, there were 42,000 vacant positions at VA facilities. By the end of 2017, that number had grown to 49,000.

“If . . . Secretary (Shulkin) were interested in improving the care veterans receive, he would stop trying to outsource to for-profit providers and instead focus on filling the more than 49,000 vacancies plaguing the VA nationwide,” said AFGE’s Cox. “The men and women who served our country were promised a health care system that fulfills their needs, not a voucher to go stand in the back of the line at private providers ill-equipped to treat them.”

Big win for “Tennessee Is Not For Sale” campaign

Leaders of four campuses that belong to the University of Tennessee System announced on October 31 that they would not participate in the state’s plan to privatize the jobs of workers who provide grounds keeping, maintenance, and landscaping services at their campuses.

The campuses rejecting the state privatization plan are the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, the University of Tennessee Martin, the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.

Under the leadership of Gov. Bill Haslam, the state of Tennessee has proposed privatizing facilities management services at all state universities, prisons, and parks.

In April, the state selected Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a multinational real estate company, to manage the privatization of these services.

But a vigorous “Tennessee Is Not For Sale” campaign led by United Campus Workers CWA Local 3865 (UCW) raised questions about the secret process that led to the selection of JLL, the unsupported claims that privatization would save money, and the improbable claims that no state employees would lose their jobs or benefits as a result of privatization.

Beverly Davenport, chancellor of the University of Tennessee Knoxville, said that her decision not to participate “was based on the extensive analyses of the financial considerations, the complexity of the work done on our research-intensive campus, and our commitment to the East Tennessee economy and our workforce.”

UCW called the decision not to participate in Gov. Haslam’s privatization scheme, “a victory for all of us here who made calls, sent emails, attended meetings and protests, lobbied their legislators, and so much more.”

Two years ago, Gov. Haslam, a billionaire described by the Intercept as ” the richest US elected official not named Donald Trump,” began laying the groundwork for the next phase of his ambitious privatization plans.

He organized a group high ranking state agency officials to plan the massive outsourcing project that would directly affect 10,000 grounds keepers, custodians, clerks, and skilled maintenance workers when fully implemented.

For months, they met in secret. When they were ready to write the request for proposals seeking bids for the project, they asked representatives of three companies that were likely to bid on project’s contract to help them write the proposal.

One of those companies was JLL.

In addition to helping write the request for proposal, JLL had another advantage that would make it the favorite to win the contract worth $330 million over five years.

Gov. Haslam had at one time been a JLL investor, and according to the Nashville Post, “it’s unclear whether or not he still holds stock in the company.”

The governor’s office said that Haslam has put his JLL investments in a blind trust.

To no one’s surprise, JLL in April was selected for the privatization project.

As soon as Gov. Haslam’s latest outsourcing plan was made public in 2015, UCW members began talking directly to state lawmakers to explain the impact that privatization would have on jobs in the lawmakers’ districts.

As a result, lawmakers from both parties raised concerns about lost jobs and the questionable practices that led up to the selection of JLL.

Over the next two years UCW members held demonstrations on campuses across the state, gathered signatures on petitions, wrote letters, and explained to the fellow workers what was at stake.

Their message was simple: “Privatization is a bad deal for the public. It’s bad for public employees whose jobs are lost. . . ,(and) it’s bad for taxpayers, who lose accountability and oversight of their tax dollars as shadowy multinational corporations take over.”

Supporters of the privatization effort said that no workers would lose their jobs or their benefits, but UCW members said that there were plenty of loopholes in JLL’s contract  that would lead to lesser pay, lesser benefits, and the loss of jobs.

The contract only requires that workers affected by privatization be provided total equal compensation, which means that the company could eliminate the workers’ pension and replace it with a 401(k) type savings plan as long as the company said that the two plans were of equal value.

Workers could also lose their jobs if the company decided to reduce staff. The contract requires that the company offer workers affected by staff reductions a similar position at another facility within a 50-mile radius. A  50-mile commute would be difficult if not impossible for many of the workers affected.

In addition, the contract requires workers to pass a battery of company tests before they will be retained, and it creates a two-tiered work environment because newly hired workers and workers with fewer than six months on the job can be paid less and receive fewer benefits.

The decision by the four campuses not to participate in Gov. Haslam’s privatization scheme was also a big victory for the 1100 workers whose public service jobs were saved, but it’s not the end of the fight.

“We still have a fight to make sure all our jobs are protected,” said UCW.

In all there are 12 other public university campuses. One has already privatized facility management services, but the others have yet to make a decision. There are also a number of state prisons and state parks that have yet to make a decision.

Nevertheless, UCW members are savoring their victory.

“Today’s news signals relief for the thousands of UT employees across the state whose jobs were imperiled by the plan,” said UCW. “Millions of square feet of real estate and tens of millions of dollars will stay in the public interest.”

VA workers rally to stop privatization and closure of VA hospitals

Veteran Administration workers held 38 rallies at VA hospitals across the US to protest a proposal that if enacted would privatize health care services for veterans and shut down all VA hospitals and medical centers.

The proposal was drafted by seven members of the Commission for Care, a commission appointed by Congress in 2014 to recommend ways to improve care and accessibility at the VA.

Members of this rump group, which met in private, include executives from four for-profit hospital companies and an employee of the Koch brothers, the right-wing duo, who have spent millions funding political candidates who support privatizing government services.

The commission will soon release its recommendations, and VA workers and veterans are concerned that the commission’s recommendations will reflect the thinking expressed in the report from the rump group.

“Even though the vast majority of veterans oppose privatizing the VA, there are many people who would benefit financially from dismantling the VA and forcing veterans into a network of for-profit hospitals and insurance companies,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the union that represents 230,000 VA employees. “VA employees across the country are speaking out against these corrupt business interests with a clear message: it’s time to put people ahead of profits.”

Veteran’s groups have also expressed opposition to the proposals in the report, which has been dubbed “the strawman document.”

Recently, eight leaders of veterans organization signed a letter to the Commission for Care chairperson expressing their opposition to ideas in the document.

“On behalf of our combined 5 million members, the vast majority of whom use the VA health care system, we write to express our grave concerns with the ‘proposed strawman document’ that was discussed and disseminated during your March meetings in Washington, DC,” reads the opening sentence of a letter.

Among other things, the veteran groups’ leaders were concerned about the proposal on pages 19-20 of the document that calls for closing VA hospitals and medical centers, halting all construction of new VA facilities, halting all renovations of existing facilities,  and transitioning veterans in need of care to private hospitals and care providers.

The document envisions that in twenty years all VA hospitals and medical centers will be closed, and the VA will exist only to write voucher checks to private health care providers.

The Commission for Care was created in 2014 when the media reported that veterans were experiencing long waits for care at VA hospitals.

As it turns out, the long waits were not typical of the system, and the media reports were a bit exaggerated; nevertheless, Congress acted to address the problem by appropriating funds to hire more staff and improve VA facilities. It also allowed veterans facing delays in service to seek help from private providers.

As a result, the VA has added 14,000 health care workers, opened up 3.9 million more square feet of clinical space, and added 20 million provider hours of care.

It also cut its compensation and claims backlog by 87 percent and overhauled its scheduling system.

Those who have actually studied the VA’s performance such as RAND have concluded that “the quality of care provided by the VA health system generally was as good as or better than other health systems on most quality measures.”

But the authors of “the strawman document,” chose to ignore the progress made and good work done by the VA and, instead, to pursue their own agenda.

According to the veterans’ leaders, veterans want to see improvements at the VA but not at the cost of eliminating VA facilities and the “veteran-centric” services they provide.

The veteran leaders also criticized “the strawman document” for ignoring wishes of veterans “who would choose to receive care at VA medical facilities rather than seek care from disparate community providers.”

The VA rallies by AFGE members, many of whom like Cox are veterans themselves, was meant to call public attention to the possibility that VA services could be privatized for the benefit of private interests rather than for veterans themselves.

“Veterans should not be reduced to a line item on a budget sheet,” said Cox. “They have served our country with honor and distinction, and their medical care shouldn’t be left to the whims of profiteers and claims adjusters.”

 AFGE locals have organized 38 rallies to date in 19 states: Alabama, Alaska, California, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

 

Costa Rican dock workers strike to stop privatization of port

Costa Rican dock workers, striking to protest the privatization of the country’s publicly owned port terminals, received a boost on October 27 when other unions including those representing public employees, electrical workers, nurses, teachers, and refinery workers announced that they would support the dock workers demand that the government renegotiate the privatization contract.

Earlier on the same day, students and workers from other unions joined the dock workers in an anti-privatization demonstration. Police were called in to break up the demonstration.

The dock workers, whose union Sintrajap called the strike, walked off the job on October 23. The work stoppage halted the unloading of three ships docked at Puerto Limon, Costa Rica’s Atlantic Coast port, which handles about 80 percent of the country’s port traffic.

The government reacted quickly to the work stoppage by sending in the police, who arrested 68 of the strikers.

The workers went on strike after the government of President Luis Guillermo Solis gave its approval to the privatization deal with APM Terminals, owned by the Dutch shipping conglomerate Maresk.

Under the terms of the contract, APM will invest nearly $1 billion to build the Moin Container Terminal in Puerto Limon and begin operating it in 2016.

When construction of the new terminal is complete, it will be able to handle the large “Panamax” containers, and the company will control 60 percent of the port’s terminal operations.

Costa Rica’s port terminals are currently operated by a public authority, Japdeva.

Union leaders said that the new privately operated terminals will create “an illegal monopoly” that will threaten the livelihood of the union’s members, degrade the environment, and impede the free passage of goods throughout the country.

“We believe that private monopolies are banned in this country and the right to protest them is protected by the Constitution,” said Ronaldo Blear, general secretary of Sintrajap. “We also believe that the Costa Rican people are tired of privatizations and concessions (to foreign corporations).”

Blear said that the strike would continue until the government agrees to renegotiate the contract with APM.

The union has been the most vocal opponent of the government’s plan to privatize port operations, and as a result, the government has been trying to undermine the union.

In 2010 when the government was seeking port privatization proposals, the government tried to replace Sintrajap’s democratically elected union leaders with leaders who would support the privatization plan.

The government’s efforts were thwarted by the Constitutional Branch of the Supreme Court when it ruled that the government takeover of the union was illegal.

Despite the union’s opposition, the government in 2011 awarded the port terminal privatization contract to APM.

For three years, the union and other opponents of the privatization deal were able to delay implementation of the contract, but earlier in October, the Constitutional Branch gave its approval to the deal.

There was some hope that Costa Rica’s newly elect president Luis Guillermo Solis might oppose the privatization deal and would agree to renegotiate the contract with APM.

Solis, the leader of the Citizen’s Action Party, won the election for President earlier this year.

He ran on an anti-corruption platform and said that he would put the brakes on so-called free trade deals like the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

Solis had been a leading member of the  National Liberation Party, the party of Costa Rica’s oligarchy, which had dominated the Costa Rican political scene for decades.

He broke with the NLP because of what he characterized as corrupt business deals between foreign corporations and the NLP-led government.

One such deal involved Alcatel-Lucent, the French telecommunication corporation. Alcatel was eventually forced to pay a fine of $92 million because it bribed government officials in return for contracts worth $300 million.

But when Sintrajap leaders met with representatives from the Solis government two weeks ago, the union leaders were told that the deal with APM had President Solis’ approval.

After the meeting, Sintrajap called the strike.

After the 68 strikers were arrested on October 23, the union and the government reopened talks to resolve the strike, but so far the government has refused to renegotiate the APM agreement and the union has refused to lift the strike.

What do you get for $340 million? Filthy schools

School principals in Chicago are complaining that since the Chicago Public Schools privatized custodial services their schools have not been properly cleaned and that as a result, they are spending too much time dealing with cleanliness issues rather than education.

Earlier this year, the Chicago Board of Education decided to privatize school custodial services and awarded school cleaning contracts to two multi-national corporate vendors, Aramark and Sodexmagic. The cost of the contracts over a three-year period is $340 million.

As a result of the privatization deal, school custodians report to their private employer rather than school principals.

The board promised that the privatization deal and the change in command resulting from it would lead to better services at a lower costs.

But a recent survey of principals found that custodial services have deteriorated badly since Aramark and Sodexmagic began cleaning the schools. According to the results of the survey, many Chicago schools are just plain filthy.

Valerie Strauss, writing for the Washington Post, reports that Chicago principals in the survey complained of “serious problems with rodents, roaches and other bugs, filthy toilets, missing supplies such as toilet paper and soap, and broken furniture.”

One of the reasons that schools aren’t getting cleaned is the private contractors have not hired enough custodial staff.

“I am still trying to figure out how we care going to clean the schools with four (cleaning staff) in a school that has 1,000 kids,” wrote one school custodian in comments appearing in an article published by Catalyst Chicago.

The understaffing problem looks to get even worse. Aramark has announced that by the end of September, it will lay off 476 school custodians, a 20 percent staff reduction.

When the layoffs occur, the problems keeping the schools clean “will only be exacerbated,” said Julie Valentine, a spokesperson for SEIU Local 1 to the Chicago Sun Times.

The filthy state of Chicago’s schools has caused a number of principals to publicly voice their complaints about the private contractors.

Troy LaRaviere, principal of Blaine Elementary in an e-mail to other principals that was partially reprinted by Strauss,  called the contracts with Aramark and Sodexmagic a “massive unethical wast of tax dollars.”

“That’s $300 million that should have been committed to education of the children in you schools; instead, those funds are being squandered to the profits of a corporation with a history of being ridden (with scandals) across the United States,” wrote LaRaviere.

LaRaviere is the chair of Administrators Alliance for Proven Policy in Legislation and Education, a group of activist principals within the Chicago Principals and Administration Association.

AAPPLE was the group that initiated the survey that resulted in so many negative responses from Chicago principals. Fixing the custodial problems has become a priority AAPPLE. Instead of overseeing education too many principals are spending too much time trying to keep their schools clean, said LaRaviere in his e-mail

According to LaRaviere, if Aramark and Sodexmagic can’t deliver the services that they promised, CPS should void their contracts.