We Own It Weekly: LeBron’s monster dunk on privatization

We Own It Weekly logo.

Every week, OPSEU’s We Own It campaign publishes a newsletter called The We Own It Weekly. It’s a round-up of news and information about the growing movement to protect communities from privatization.

And here’s the latest issue:

Basketball superstar LeBron James knows public = better

He’s the best player in the NBA. But LeBron James is making headlines off the court this week by opening up a school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

There a lots of great things about this story. But the thing we like best is this: the school is fully public. He didn’t make it private. He didn’t make it a “charter” school. He simply invested in the local school board so it can do what it does best: run a public school that provides quality education to all.

“It’s not a charter school, it’s not a private school, it’s a real-life school in my hometown. And this is pretty cool,” James told ESPN.

The principal of the new school is confident other philanthropists will follow James’s lead, investing in the public school system, rather than private.

“We are going to be that groundbreaking school that will be a nationally recognized model for urban and public school excellence,” says principal Brandi Davis on the website Big Think.

Here’s a video of the speech James gave at the opening of the new public school:

Privatized pay system an ‘international embarrassment’

We’ve known for years that the federal government’s privatized payroll system is a disaster. Hundreds of thousands of employees are being paid too little. And when they do get paid, it’s often too late to keep up with their bills and mortgages.

A new Senate report calls the privatized system an “international embarrassment” that is as expensive as it is disruptive.

“Instead of realizing $70 million in annual savings by centralizing pay operations, the government will incur approximately $2.2 billion in unplanned expenditures,” said Senator Andre Pratte to the CBC. “By any measure, the Phoenix pay system has been a failure.”

The failed Phoenix payroll system was designed and built by the same company that worked on Ontario’s equally disastrous social assistance payment system SAMs.

Airport privatization is ‘bad public policy’

An independent transportation think tank in the United States examined a number of airport privatizations around the world. It didn’t like what it found.

“Airports face a host of challenges, yet full privatization and long-term leases are not likely to solve them,” says the The Eno Center for Transportation in its report Deal or No Deal: Prospects for Airport Privatization in the United States.

“But if seeking to increase competition, decrease costs, and improve management, airports already have a host of tools at their disposal that fall short of navigating a complex regulatory and legal process [like privatization] … Privatization for its own sake is bad public policy.”

We Own It Weekly summer holiday

he We Own It Weekly will be taking a break for the next couple of weeks.

But we’ll still be posting stories about strong public services (and the privatizers trying to wring profit out of them) on Facebook and Twitter.