The International Labor Communications Association, the professional organization of labor communicators in North America, has awarded the Heartland Labor Forum first prize in its annual Media Awards competition. The Heartland Labor Forum won for its production Canary in the Mine ; Heartland Labor Forum Goes to New Orleans which aired on KKFI 90.1FM Kansas City Community Radio on December 20, 2008. The Forum is Kansas City's only radio program about the workplace and labor.
by Judy Ancel
For the first time in forty years Kansas City teachers are working without a contract.
What does this mean to a teacher? It means that administrators have all the power, that principals can revise the rules at moment’s notice, with no input from teachers. It means that a teacher can be disciplined and even suspended without the contractual right to file a grievance. One teacher told me, “They’ve forgotten what we do. They’ve forgotten what we’re here for. Would you want to send your kids to someone every day who was frustrated, worried about their job, with no stability?”
by Judy Ancel,
Director of the Institute for Labor Studies, UMKC
For the past forty years the Kansas City School District has sat down every year to negotiate a labor agreement with the Kansas City Federation of Teachers. Some years the negotiations were difficult and prolonged, dragging on into fall semester, but even if the parties had not agreed by the start of classes in late August, teachers were assured that the terms of their old agreement would apply until a new one was signed.