What do you say about a billionaire in Idaho who sees unions as the biggest threat to the American way of life?
As most people know, the number of people who belong to unions has declined dramatically in recent decades. As manufacturing jobs were outsourced to low-wage non-union countries, private sector unions shrank. Today, the majority of American workers are hourly workers with little or no job security and no pension.
And yet, here is a man who poured $1 million into a campaign to support Idaho’s so-called Luna laws (for rightwing state superintendent Tom Luna), which would have crushed the unions, which are already weak, initiated bonus pay, and made it easy to fire teachers at any time for any reason.
The good news is that voters across Idaho repealed the Luna laws, while voting Republican for state offices and the presidency.
To see the depth of his obsession, open the link in this comment by a reader.
“Eastern Idaho billionaire Frank VanderSloot, CEO of the direct-marketing company Melaleuca, contributed well over $1 million to the efforts to support State Superintendent Tom Luna’s Propositions 1, 2, and 3. Prop 1 would have eliminated much of the due-process provisions from teacher firings, limited contract negotiations to salary and benefits only, eliminated renewable contracts (so-called “tenure”), eliminated collective bargaining, among other things. Prop 2 would have instituted a pay-for-performance/merit-pay scheme based, in part, on student scores on standardized testing and on parent evaluations of teachers. Prop 3 (defeated by a 2 to 1 margin) would have spent $180 million over 8 years to purchase a laptop computer for every high school student while require each student to take two online courses in order to graduate.
“Mr. VanderSloot’s $1 million investment was in addition to the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent over the last two years placing full-page ads in numerous newspapers throughout Idaho. One such ad in Idaho’s largest newspaper, the Idaho Statesman, has been estimated to cost $20,000 per insertion. These ads are archived in a web site maintained by Mr. VanderSloot at http://www.communitypagenews.com/ . Without exception, they are anti-union, casting the opposition to the Luna legislation as out-of-state “union bosses” financed by union interests. In fact, they rarely address any issues related to education, other than the pernicious influence of unions.
“A few headlines give the flavor of these lurid ads, but they really have to be seen in full to be believed.
“Unions Declare War On Idaho”
“It’s Time To Put Our Kids First!(Ahead of Union Bosses)”
“Union Against Putting Students First”
“Unions Try To Block Teachers From $38 Million in Bonuses”
“Washington, D.C. Union Tries To Buy Control Of Idaho School”