NEA for Hillary next week.

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NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia skyping for Hillary.

What has been rumored for several weeks is now pretty much a sure thing.

The NEA board of directors are meeting next week and they will go through the motions of taking a vote.

But an endorsement of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Party primary race is all but assured.

NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia has been making calls and having skype meetings with state leaders from around the country in anticipation of next weeks meeting, sending the message that she wants a Hillary endorsement.

In her talks with state union leaders around the country she has admitted that Bernie Sanders and the NEA are more often in 100% agreement on education issues but that Hillary is more electable.

This has echoes of the early no-strings Obama endorsement in 2012, although that was eventually brought to the floor of the NEA RA for a delegate vote. Since this is a party primary endorsement, a RA vote is not required.

Polls released today show Hillary down double digits to Sanders in New Hampshire.

Teacher paraprofessionals, federal workers and a living wage.

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In 2013 the L.A. Unified School District was paying some of its employees as little as $8.00 an hour.

An historic agreement in 2014 with SEIU raised it to $15.

It wasn’t until this year that my old school district in Park Ridge District 64 started paying its unionized entry level paraprofessionals $15 an hour.

Ten of thousands of paraprofessionals and non-certified staff in Illinois school districts make far less.

The largest employer of workers earning less than $15 an hour is the federal government.

Good for Bernie Sanders for shining a spotlight on this situation.

“There is no justice in America when the largest low-wage employer is not McDonald’s, it is not Burger King, it is not Walmart. It is the United States government,”Sanders said, as he voiced support for a $15 minimum wage for federal contract workers. A 2013 report from the liberal research organization Demos estimated that the federal government funds nearly 2 million jobs that pay less than $12 per hour. Meanwhile, McDonalds’ total worker headcount at corporate-owned and franchise restaurants is about 750,000.

Last year President Obama issued an executive order that raised the minimum wage for federal employees from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour.

That is $21,000 a year.

That is less than the official U.S. poverty line for a family of four.

“When we talk about morality and when we talk about justice, we must understand there is no justice when so few have so much and so many have so little,” Sanders said at a church Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

He was addressing striking federal contract workers who’d walked off their jobs on Tuesday morning to protest their poor pay.

The federal workers appealed to Pope Francis who arrived in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile Sanders pointed out that the government employs more minimum wage employees earning less than $15 an hour than any fast food chain.

Negotiations.

I read that NY Congressman Anthony Weiner complained that Obama wasn’t acting like a Commander-in-Chief, but as a Negotiator-in-Chief. I thought, “Not really.”

Weiner was speaking as part of the rebellion by Democrats to the deal Obama was pushing to extend the Bush tax cuts for billionaires.

The tax-cuts-for-the-rich is a bad idea. And I agree with Senator Sanders, who spoke from the Senate floor for almost nine hours on Friday, calling it part of the war on working people.

But as someone with some negotiation experience, I’m not impressed with Obama as a chief negotiator. He sure wouldn’t get elected to our negotiation team for our union local.

Even if you accept the art of the deal, this is a bad deal.

Let me offer some humble negotiating advice to the White House. Humbly.

Rule #1 is you start with “no.”

If you start with “yes,” negotiations are over. “No” allows you to negotiate another day.

It seems to me that Obama fell over himself rushing to say, “yes.”

“No,” would have allowed for getting more out of the deal. The Tpublicans are so single-minded about defending the interests of their Wall Street funders that they will do anything to keep the billionaire tax cuts.

So, why not demand more?

My old friend and Reverend, Walter Coleman, has a suggestion. Include the Dream Act.

Getting it through the Senate would depend on Republicans so the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is urging calls and letters to the state’s Republican senator, Mark Kirk. 

But some DREAM Act supporters call that effort a waste of time. “Kirk is not going to do anything independently of the Republican Party,” said immigrant-rights activist Rev. Walter Coleman, pastor of Adalberto United Methodist, a church in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.

“This is something that has to be worked out by leadership,” Coleman said. “Our pressure needs to go on Obama and it needs to go on the Democratic leadership, who’ve been playing us for two years, to finally come through and meet their promises.”

Coleman said that would mean making the DREAM Act part of any deal with Republicans about taxes.

Or as Kenny Rogers once said, “You gotta know when to hold em…”