What Was this Term In a Comment? May 30, 2012 6:27 PM   Subscribe

A few months ago there was an AskMe or MeFi comment that described a very specific term for when layoffs or pink slips are used to force a political agenda. I think the context was education. Can anyone remember the comment or term? Please forgive or delete this if it's misuse of MeTa. And thanks too!
posted by snsranch to MetaFilter-Related at 6:27 PM (13 comments total)

Was it in a brinkmanship way, in which someone defending their empire responds to budget cuts by first cutting items that cause a public outcry? Something along those lines might be in the University of Florida dropping (then reinstating) computer science thread.
posted by Pronoiac at 6:52 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Was it this comment about appointing "emergency financial managers" in MI - "The current EFM of the Detroit public schools recently mailed layoff notices to every teacher"? There's a link to an article talking about it in that comment.

I found these two threads specifically discussing this issue as well, but I skimmed them and didn't find "a very specific term" in either:
Creating the Future of Education and Work
An education "turnaround"
posted by flex at 7:03 PM on May 30, 2012

Quoting from that article:
In the meantime, Bobb said that he planned to exercise his power as emergency manager to unilaterally modify the district's collective bargaining agreement with the Federation of Teachers starting May 17, 2011.

Under a law known as Public Act 4, passed by the Michigan legislature and signed by the state's new Republican governor in March, emergency managers like Bobb have sweeping powers. They can tear up existing union contracts, and even fire some elected officials, if they believe it will help solve a financial emergency.

"I fully intend to use the authority that was granted under Public Act 4," Bobb said in the statement.

posted by flex at 7:09 PM on May 30, 2012

I remember this, I think, and I think it was a comment by a husband about his wife's school district in a public school, but I don't remember what the post/context was or where the poster was located. Maybe that will help someone else toward the right rabbit hole though.
posted by shortyJBot at 7:15 PM on May 30, 2012

Thanks folks, but there was a very specific term and it even has a wiki entry. Part of the action is that the layoffs are intentionally excessive and portrayed as being incredibly harsh as to garner political support and public attention.
posted by snsranch at 7:18 PM on May 30, 2012

I seriously have been racking my brains because this sounds familiar to me, I wonder if it's because my husband recently told me about something he heard on the CBC that I can't find on MeFi, but I'm going to offer it up to you: is it "musical ride"?

That's shorthand among federal bureaucrats for the way departments can embarrass their ministers when ordered to make budget cuts. They make highly visible cuts the public won't like that are certain to get the minister in hot water, making the minister a little more shy about future budget slashing. The expression comes from the old trick used for years by the RCMP whenever they were asked by Treasury Board to come up with ways to reduce their budget. The Mounties would always offer up the Musical Ride in sacrifice. Imagine the public uproar if the boys in scarlet were forced by some mean old minister to eliminate the Musical Ride...
posted by flex at 8:04 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Washington Monument Syndrome? More than a few months, but.
posted by gracedissolved at 8:10 PM on May 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

That's the same thing, US version! Good stuff.
posted by flex at 8:14 PM on May 30, 2012

Also not only is that an answer to snsranch's own AskMe question, he marked that comment as a "best answer" and he favorited it. ;)
posted by flex at 8:18 PM on May 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

I didn't even notice that when I pulled it up. Ha!
posted by gracedissolved at 8:25 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is it "RIF" or related to RIF (IRIF - involutary RIF)?

RIF in and of itself doesn't imply excess, but is sometimes in education used in the context you suggest.

I'm trying to think of other terms used in union negotiations or political arguments over school personnel staffing but I am drawing a blank.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:59 PM on May 30, 2012

gracedissolved: "Washington Monument Syndrome? More than a few months, but."

grace, dis solved.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:36 PM on May 30, 2012

Ha, thank you gracedissolved! That's some good detective work and no wonder I felt like it was just barely eluding me.
posted by snsranch at 2:55 PM on May 31, 2012

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