The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Massive Attack on Employees and Students

Aug 1, 2011

Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts has begun a huge attack on all 10,000 school employees–from teachers through bus drivers and cafeteria workers.

Roberts says the state’s new Emergency Manager law allows him to impose whatever he wants, even rewriting union contracts–so he’s imposed a 10% wage cut on all DPS workers across the board, and suspended annual raises. And, he’s making all employees pay 20% of all of their health care coverage.

Many employees, like bus drivers, custodians and cafeteria workers, make just $20,000 a year. A wage cut like this will be devastating to them and their families–and the extra health costs could take an extra 10% of their wages!

And many Detroit teachers would see their pay slashed by more than $7,000 a year.

Roberts points out that his salary will also be cut by 10%. But he makes $250,000 a year–more than ten times as much as the lowest-paid workers whose wages he’d be cutting!

Roberts claims that all this is necessary to protect the education of DPS children. But this is blatantly untrue. The cuts he’d make in employee pay would directly affect the quality of education.

Roberts plans to suspend pay to teachers for oversize classrooms–which means he plans to see class sizes overstuffed, leaving teachers with less time for each student.

He’d suspend pay for unused sick and personal days–which means teachers would be forced to use up all their unused days before they retire, leaving them in the classroom less.

He’d suspend pay for lost prep periods, meaning more teachers will be asked to cover for each other’s absences–losing time to prepare their own classes.

He’d suspend premiums for Special Ed programs, among the most difficult teaching positions of all.

He’d suspend bonuses for earning extra teaching certificates–meaning he wants untrained teachers.

And, astoundingly, he’d suspend payments to employees who are assaulted on the job!

Roberts’ attack on DPS employees has nothing to do with saving the district, or with better educating the students. He was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to do exactly what he’s doing–to slash the amount of public money being spent on education, so that more of it can be handed over to corporations!