Nov 24, 2009

WTU Loses Court Case For RIF'd Teachers

Judge Bartnoff made her court ruling this afternoon on the RID'd teachers law suit. WTU lost this court case . Bill Turque covered this story on the DC Wire this afternoon and I am sure there will be even more coverage tonight and tomorrow. Until we get a copy of the actual court ruling, read Turque's analysis of Bratnoff's decision.

WTU Loses Court Challenge To Layoffs

A D.C. Superior Court judge has ruled against a bid by the Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) to roll back the Oct. 2 layoffs of 266 DCPS teachers and staff.
In an opinion issued late Tuesday morning, Judge Judith Bartnoff said WTU had failed to prove any of its core arguments against Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's decision to conduct a RIF (reduction in force) due to a $43.9 million budget shortfall. She said that given the District's financial situation, a reversal of the layoffs would force Rhee and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty to make other cuts in the DCPS, harming the public interest.
"The District asserts, and the plaintiff has not disputed, that in that event, other staff would be subject to a RIF--even further into the school year--or programs that have been deemed essential would have to be cut," Bartnoff wrote. "Such an action would not benefit DCPS, its teachers, students or staff, or the wider District of Columbia community."
No word yet on whether WTU plans to appeal.
The union argued that the RIF was not a budget-driven layoff but an illegal mass firing, and that the shortfall cited by Rhee was a sham and a pretext for dumping older teachers. As a mass firing, WTU contended, the action was subject to arbitration under the District's collective bargaining agreement with the WTU.
The union charged that Rhee, in essence, went on an illegal hiring spree over the spring and summer, bringing more 900 new teachers on board knowing that she would need to make cuts later.
But Bartnoff said the union failed to provide any substantive evidence that DCPS packed the system with teachers it could not pay for until the D.C. Council cut its 2010 budget by $21 million on July 31. In contrast, she singled out Rhee's chief of staff, Lisa Ruda, as "a very credible witness" in her testimony on DCPS' budget problems after the council cut. -
Bill Turque

Posted by The Wash. Teacher featuring Candi Peterson, blogger in residence, article courtesy of the DC WIre


Classic said...

The WTU never had a game plan that is why the teachers are in the fix we are in. I think they are working with Rhee. If you saw what I saw in court you would not have been suprised that we lost. I have an attorney and I am not dealing with the Union any further. Those of you who are still memers need to DEMAND new counsel because when you need help, and believe me you will, Lee Jackson is ineffective.

A RIF'd Teacher said...

We cannot blame anyone but ourselves by not demanding as members of the WTU union for new WTU legal representation. The WTU lawyers are incompetent and did a shabby job of presenting sound evidence. The WTU lawyers did not have a winning strategy. Not once has the WTU lawyers met with the RIf'd teachers as a whole to consult. They were not prepared for the TRO or the Injunction Hearing. A novice in the court room that day would have thought they had just stepped out of law school. The law firm of Jackson et al should be RIF'd/fired and Joseph Greenwald, & Laake, PA. should be hired immediately to represent teachers, etc. in the future. You can believe that there will be additional FIRINGS. The WTU/AFT leadership did not listen to their members to hire another attorney firm. They were arrogrant and had too much pride. We have allowed our WTU and AFT leaders egos to jeopardize our lives and future careers. They continue to feed their families while we have been put out to a barron pasture.

Anonymous said...

Does the WTU vet its attorneys before hiring them?

What was the law firm's (in particular) and Lee Jackson's (specifically) record before appointing/hiring them as our legal representatives? Such a waste of my dues. We should demand a refund, post-haste!!

Bring back "sticky fingers" (aka Barbara Bullock) and let's get legal representation that has proven results in these matters!

DST1913 said...

Are we surprised? Mediocracy. The only thing the union is good for is the sick leave bank. We need new leadership.

Anonymous said...

Lisa Ruda is a 'credible witness?' An attorney who gets on the stand and perjures herself? Wow ...

The Reflective Educator said...

It seems Rhee's gotten herself in a pretty good position here. Even if it were legally, ethically the right thing to do, going back and changing the decision simply seems a bigger hassle than it's worth.

Anonymous said...

I went to the representative assembly meeting tonight. Saunders gave Parker the "business" about Parker's sorry advocacy of union members. I wish those RIF teachers had listened. Nathan did say very early in the ballgame teachers needed a different law firm. He knew something and now we have experienced it. In the future trust legal recommendations from Saunders.

I am afraid Rhee will really think she is superwoman in her ease at running over Parker and those of us who depend on this union. I can not imagine why she would not want to have another RIF next week. Teachers are terrified only 12 to 15 showed up tonight. A sad day for us but George Parker seemed to think nothing of this terrible loss of teacher jobs. He kept saying he never expected to win implying we should just move on.

Oh yeah, some teachers acted like they did not want to discuss the RIF teachers only IMPACT. We are so quick to forget one another. I have figured it out- The RIF teachers are no longer union members after being fired and their letters ban them from DCPS property that is why they are sight unseen at union meetings. This explains the church meeting locations for them.

Classic said...

I too have decided to use the services of Joseph Greenwald & Laake. Jay Holland is my attorney and he will represent me in my appeal. If there are any RIF'd teachers interested the number is 301 220- 2200. Yes I am paying them and it will be a sacrafice but the "FREE" leagal services I was getting through the money I paid in union dues got me nothing. This is my job we are taling about.

Anonymous said...

And remember, reflective educator - this is the same Michelle Rhee who supports the sorry administration at your school that's been mistreating teachers so much that they leave in the middle of the year; the administration that has to hire replacements from out of town because everyone in town knows better than to work there.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope that George Parker is paying for the attorneys fees out of his pay check. The legal defense funds should not pay this misstep.

As regards to the IMPACT, the union must not only defend those who were Rif'd, but must serve all its members. The union must deal with IMPACT, lack of teacher support (some instructional coaches are incompetent and aiding in fueling the attack on teachers), need for professional development (actually assisting teachers with enhancing instructional practice not just how to teach the test), ensuring teachers has the materials and equipment they need instruct as well as differentiate instruction), etc. George Parker has people in place to assist him. He can not do it by himself. Mr. Sanders can aid these areas instead of trying to become the union president (which I hope will not happen), so can Ms. Corely, Mr. Moore, Mr. Colins and others.

More teachers will leave this system sooner than later. New teachers will continue to be hired despite the budget shortfall (as specified by MR).

The end of the fiscal year is around the corner. What will that bring? Now that MR has won her court case (no withstanding the appeals) she now thinks she is on easy street.