For immediate release
September 8, 2004
Company's labor practices and textbooks with poor educational value cited by workers, labor leaders, and politicians
Indianapolis, IN, Wednesday, Sept. 8 – Workers from Pearson Education, local labor leaders, and politicians testified at a public hearing today and asked that Indiana reject textbook submissions by Pearson Education and its imprint Prentice Hall. The hearing was held by the Indiana Advisory Committee on Textbook Adoptions, which is in the process of reviewing and selecting science and health textbooks for the state’s adoption list for next school year.
The company’s poor labor practices and lack of educational value in its textbooks were detailed in testimony and cited as the basis for the state to reject Pearson Education’s textbook submissions.
Workers at Pearson Education’s distribution center in Lebanon, IN, voted for union representation with UNITE HERE in 1998. For the past six years the company has defied National Labor Relations Board decisions and court orders and refused to recognize the union and collectively bargain with its employees. On July 6th, the US Court of Appeals issued its decision and again ordered the company to begin bargaining.
Dick Williams, a ten year employee at Pearson Education in Lebanon, testified that “After all these years of delays we just want to negotiate our contract.”
“Corporations that defy the law act immorally,” stated Duane Cheney, State Representative for the 10th District and a member of the House Education Committee. Representative Cheney continued “If the state rewards this corporation by recommending their textbooks, it would be an insult to the thousands of union members I represent in my district.”
State Senator Vi Simpson also issued a statement through her legislative assistant expressing her “concerns about contracting with or purchasing from textbook publishers which do not negotiate with employees in good faith.”
Thorough reviews of Pearson Education’s Prentice Hall science textbooks by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Middle School Physical Science Resource Center, and The Textbook League have criticized the textbooks for being full of typographical and fundamental errors and unable to convey basic scientific principles and concepts.
Pat Cronin, a representative of UNITE HERE, presented detailed critique on the company’s science textbooks based on the reviews and research conducted by these organizations. “Due to the demonstrated lack of ability to convey fundamental principles and concepts, failing to address and correct blatant errors, utilizing authors without physical science backgrounds, and for being rated as one of the worst science textbooks in the industry, the state of Indiana should reject Pearson Education’s textbooks and support other more qualified and reputable submissions.”
UNITE HERE is the newly merged union of distribution, hospitality, gaming, apparel, textile and laundry workers. The new union represents nearly half a million workers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. For more information, please see www.unitehere.org.