Feb 17, 2009

WTU Prez Spends Union Monies On Nonsense

At the February 14th WTU Executive Board meeting- I was saddened to learn that WTU President, George Parker sought a legal opinion on the union's liability for 'freedom of speech' statements made by any of its union officers including the leadership, board members and local school union representatives in the press or on blogs. The title of the legal opinion is 'Potential Liability For Speech.' I would argue that Parker did this in an attempt to try to block other meaningful dialogue about the critical issues that impact teachers. Listening to this legal presentation took away valuable time from other issues that needed to be discussed. It seems to me that Parker's other motive may have been to discourage board members from exercising their right to free speech in the press and on blogs.

Again without any input from the WTU Executive Board, Mr. Parker forged ahead in his typical dictatorial style. As a fiduciary agent of our union, I suspect and am concerned that this legal opinion may have cost our union membership thousands of dollars. What I gleaned from this presentation is that defamation lawsuits can prevail against unions, officers and individuals ONLY IF what members say is intentionally false and causes injury to a person's position within society. The truth is always an absolute defense as it should be. I think this is a no brainer for most of us.

What was even more troubling is that board members were not provided a copy of this legal opinion of which might I add union dues helped to pay for. The real travesty in this is that even if board members wanted to digest this document in its entirety they couldn't because they were requested to return the document to the WTU before leaving which was totally absurd.

I can think of better things that we as a union can spend our funds on like assisting our union members. This certainly is a matter that needs to come before the WTU Representative Assembly. All union members have a 'right to know' what our union dues are spent on and demand accountability from our union president. (Posted by The Washington Teacher).


Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly, Candi. Transparency and accountability to the membership are the order of the day.

CleanConscience said...

Isn't it possible that the legal opinion sought was obtained for free from the WTU's legal counsel, or even the AFT's legal counsel.

This inside squabbling, and the shrill voices of the Executive Board make me wonder, could George Parker be on the right side of this, and he's trying to herd cats?

If I were the Union, I would focus on building an organization ready to pounce, and ready to support the WTU's new proposal. You spend time posting messages of internal dissent, you become weak. Then people will exploit that weakness...

Leaders of the WTU: start talking to your colleagues about supporting your very own, progressive contract. The Chancellor will try to claim it as her own; the Chancellor may toss it aside. Are you ready to address that?

Perhaps, you all DO speak too much and without making any sense...

NYC Educator said...

Here in fun city, part-time UFT President Randi Weingarten spent 600K on lawyer's fees in order to bring Green Dot, a charter chain that offers neither tenure nor seniority privileges, to NYC. It's amazing what these folks get away with.

The Washington Teacher said...

Clear Conscience:

I have to disagree with some of your points.

Unfortunately legal opinions obtained by our union law firm are not free. I never mentioned that the AFT legal counsel was involved in this matter.

Our union members have a right to transparency and full disclosure. You see it as internal squabbling-I see it as bringing the issues to the forefront so that the mebership can be made aware and have input and take whatever action they deem appropriate.

All board members have a fiduciary responsibility to the union. Had previous board members and others like the AFT upheld their fiduciary responsibility under the Bullock administration and addressed concerns to the representative assembly- the WTU may not have lost millions of dollars in a scandal that we are still having to repay and trying to recover from.

You see the glass as half empty- I see it as half full. No matter what union members do, we are da**** if we do and da**** if we don't because our critics love to sit on the sidelines and crticize all of our efforts.

Anonymous said...

AFT still trying to push their contract. "Internal dissent, you become weak" How could WTU be any weaker? Could we find a union member weaker than our current Prez? Where was AFT when Bullock was stealing 5 million and Parker was fumbling negotiations for 16 months?

Anonymous said...

Why does everything always lead back to the contract proposal? The discussion started about a legal opinion only to get sidetracked on the contract. How can I support a proposal which no one has seen except George Parker, Randi Somebody, and Michelle Rhee. That’s stupid. I am reserving judgment by reading first and then thinking about it. That is how I bought my car, my house and my husband. Where does common sense enter the equation? I will never ever trust that sorry devil George Parker again. His mistakes have cost my family money. We got an ineffective President negotiating with an vain Chancellor stroked by an egomaniac National President. I want to know what this legal opinion said. In fact, I want to read the legal counsel contract too. We should have a copy if our money paid for it. I thought legal counsel man was a bumbling idiot at the McKinley- could not speak loud enough. Are we paying him $600K like New York? Time and time again we hear from the voices in NY about their contract misgivings. AFT and WTU seem like rip-offs. Don’t be suckered, I want to read everything because I am suspicious. Thanks for keeping us informed Candi. Without you nobody would know anything. I trust you. Believe me me and my girlfriends are not going for this nonsense. Keep looking out for the school counselors.

Strike Out Steve is Back! said...

Has anyone listened to the new commercial by WTU. George Parker went back to his old sidekick Steve "I've sold you guys out twice" Aupperle to make the pitch for WTU. We remember Steve from being chair of the union's cope committee that manipulated the endorsement process and gave the union's Mayoral endorsement to then candidate Adrian Fenty instead of Linda Cropp.(Tried to give the chairperson's endorsement to Kathy Patterson but had already notified now Chairmen Vincent Gray). First Strike.

Next we forward to Steve participation on the committee to select a new Chancellor. Which didn't execute it's legal responsibility and ending up selecting Michelle Rhee. Second Strike.

Now Steve wants us to blindly endorse and work for a new proposal that doesn't create healthy enviroments for students, protect teachers rights or change workings conditions for teachers. Because he cares for children. Sorry Steve Your out!

Anonymous said...

Where the heck are you getting your information and why do you have it in for Steve Aupperle?

Seems like you have a huge block on your shoulder about something.

This contract proposal is new, not the old proposal, and was drafted by the AFT, not Aupperle.

The Chancellor was picked by the mayor - no one else - or did you forget how that played out in the press?

Your post is nothing but an attempt to slam a nice guy and good teacher.

Grow up.

lindsey said...


I went to the wtu website and clicked on the new link that talks about the dcforkids. I heard the radio announcement that aft did and the press release.

I knew that those wtu members' voices were familiar and now "strike out steve" made me figure it out. Steve Auperle and Jacki Hines. those are the voices. How were they chosen? are they officers?

I really want to know what stations the ad will be on and how much it will cost wtu?

Strike Out Steve Revisted said...

Sorry Anonymous,
Sounds like your the one who needs to "grow up". The information I shared on "Strike Out Steve Aupperle" can easily be found on the DC Wire, DC Watch or The Washington Post.com. Next time do your own research and don't hide behind anonymity. What does being "nice' and a "good teacher" have to do with selling others out in an attempt to personally prosper. Sounds like there is definitely some growing up to do!