Dec 1, 2009

DC's Laid Off Teachers Request Financial Assistance From Washington Teachers' Union

The letter below was presented to Washington Teachers' Union President, George Parker on November 30, 2009 by wrongfully terminated/laid-off teachers in a meeting held to discuss their right to appeal under OEA. This letter was also sent to all WTU Executive Board members, WTU Board of Trustee members, Randi Weingarten, AFT President and AFT staff via email. These teachers have requested that their letter be forwarded to the WTU membership.
This letter represents a request for the WTU to provide financial assistance for appeals to the wrongfully terminated teachers due to what they describe as poor legal representation by Washington Teachers' Union lawyers. 
Request for WTU Financial Assistance; Presented to President George Parker,et. al on November 30, 2009‏
Date:          November 30, 2009, Monday
To:             Mr. George Parker, President of Washington Teacher’s Union, WTU
                  Executive Board, WTU Building Representatives, Entire WTU Union
                  Membership, et al., President Randi Weingarten, AFL-CIO, et al.
From:          Wrongfully Terminated District of Columbia Public Schools Stakeholders

We the former District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) employees, former full dues paying union members, and unlawfully separated stakeholders, hereby publicly announce on this day November 30, 2009, and present to the Washington Teacher’s Union (WTU) Local #6, AFL-CIO President George Parker, its WTU Executive Board members, and the entire WTU membership that we are very dissatisfied and concerned regarding the failure of the Washington Teacher’s Union (WTU) legal counsel to effectively argue the illegal Reduction in Force (RIF) and wrongful terminations announced on October 2, 2009.
We believe as witnesses in Judge Bartnoff’s courtroom on November 5th the WTU legal representative et al. performed poorly in arguing that “the RIF was not a RIF, but rather a pretext for mass discharge” and provided no evidence that the DCPS budget could support the entire teaching staff of 2009-2010 (including new teachers, existing teachers, excessed teachers, teachers placed in co-teaching positions, and teachers placed in areas of non-certification.)
We are very disappointed with the November 24 ruling denying the Washington Teacher’s Union Local (WTU) Local #6, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO Motion for A Preliminary Hearing (PI) and A Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).
The plaintiffs WTU attorneys' failed to challenge any unlawful Reduction In Force (RIF) decision and the procedures and process used to implement the alleged RIF.
 The WTU plaintiffs attorneys did not present any substantive challenge to the DCPS (defendant’s) testimony or to Rhee’s declaration with regard to the school budget.
In addition, no evidence was presented to the contrary that DCPS teacher staffing needs were included in the June 2 initial budget proposal.
We are encouraging Washington Teacher’s Union AFL-CIO to grant us continued legal support since we have been grossly misrepresented and to provide financial assistance (minimum of $250,000) for appeals with a competent law firm of our choosing.  We would like a written response by December 11, 2009. 

Crystal Proctor, spokesperson

Posted by The Washington Teacher featuring Candi Peterson, blogger in residence


Anonymous said...

I hope WTU will do a better job than the administrators' union. They helped NO ONE and told us we were no longer union members! BEST OF LUCK to each riffed teacher!!

Anonymous said...

Time to change the bylaws of the WTU so that the president of the union does not have to be an employed teacher. Other unions have presidents who are not a DCPS teacher or active teacher.

George Parker has been trying for years to the WTU president even so much that he ran under the NEA.

Now that he is president, his agenda matches MR, AF KJ. Do as they please without consultation with others, etc.

Good luck getting financial assistance. Unions are suppose assist their members in situations of this nature.

Does anyone know how much money is left in the legal defense funds?

It's About Time said...

I am glad to see fired teachers finally take a stand. This has been a long time coming. As an observer I wonder what they have been waiting for. Unfortunately, this is the only thing Rhee will understand. If your union or former union in this case won't do it, find a way to fight for yourself.

just me talkin said...

I support this move. Candi, how do members go about getting the by-laws amended? There are several areas in which it could be improved.

I would like the by-laws to state that members are still considered members while appealing their terminations. I would also mandate that board meetings be conducted even if the president can't make it.

Anonymous said...

I think the best thing for the RIF'd teachers to do is to find a new job in a surrounding county and live happily ever after. The WTU is a waste of time and money! They will not be able to support the teachers and even if they try... it will be a waste of funds for all of us. George and Randi are not working for us... that is the problem with a union like ours because WE can never really be a NON union member!! They will get our money either way... that is why they don't care what we do! WE HAVE NO POWER! WE can't quit the union and we can't strike! We are just sitting ducks getting pooped on!

Kings said...

Right about now, I'd like to to over hear a conversation among Rhee's army of Master Educators.

How are they faring? What's it like going into schools and evaluating teachers using the IMPACT scheme that only TFA and DCTF teachers have actually been schooled in? How do they feel when they realize they've given a 1.4 to a teacher whom the kids love and parents fight to get their kids into their class?

What do the master educators have to do to keep their jobs for next year? Do they have a quota of teachers to flunk? They are at will employees, remember. Do they even want to come back?

I'd love to get some inside info on the Master educators.

Anonymous said...

I think it's time for us to take a stand and pull our dues. We need to quit the union!

Linda/RetiredTeacher said...

In my state, a union can be sued if they misrepresented their constituents. You might look into this. Also, please pursue help from the national union. Good luck!

Glenn Watson said...

I was just putting together some lecture for my AP government class and I found this recent Supreme Court decision. It should help your case.

"In Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, the Supreme Court ruled that if an employer claims a “reasonable factor other than age” accounts for the disproportionately negative impact that a layoff has on older workers, it is up to the employer to prove it, rather than up to the employees to disprove the validity of the defense."

This means, if a disproportionately large number of older teacher were fired Rhee has to prove she did not fire them due to their age.

You can google it if you like. I alawys thought this would be your best line of attack.

just me talkin said...


You said, "a teacher whom the kids love and parents fight to get their kids into their class?"

Sometimes I think the touchy-feely argument is overrated. I remember a teacher who was very unstructured in planning and teaching lessons. Students were unsure of what the assignments were, when projects were due, etc. Whenever I went into this teacher's room (several times a week) she was usually using her computer. I was surprised whenever I caught her teaching. One reason kids loved her class was because they had so much free time, and parents seemed to love the teacher because their kids loved her. I never saw parents come sit in the the class themselves.

One kid told me his teacher was not good at teaching a particular subject and he got tutoring for it. Another kid told me, "well my dad will just explain it to me" since the teacher didn't teach it well.

Yet, they loved her. She was riffed.

Anonymous said...

We can't QUIT the union... that is what the post above states. We are a state(district) that does not allow people to ever stop paying dues! WE can never stop being part of the union! That should be ILLEGAL! They are taking my money and not doing anything for me! That should be against the law! Can anyone help us with this?

Anonymous said...

I can only hope that all of the current Union members that feel this way stay angry and demand more of George and the executive board. This is not about George/ Nathan it is about doing what is in the best interest of the teachers and right now that is not what the Union is doing. I FIRMLY believe that George is working with Michelle Rhee and that spells trouble for all of us. I can only ask George how much were we worth??????

Anonymous said...

Anonymous I think that a lot of the RIF'd teachers are moving on and looking for jobs however, it is very hard, a lot of school systems are not hiring or have limited positions avalible. Some counties are requiring us to get letters from our last principal and that is a major road block because some of the primcipals have nothing nice to say. I know some have been successful but there is a lot of us out there for very limited positions.

Barb said...


Has George Parker lost his mind? I mean, I cannot believe that he brought a non-lawyer (a man who is not a member of the DC Bar Assn.)to meet with us--giving us legal advise on how to fill out our OEA application. We have been complaining about poor legal representation with O'Donnell, Schwartz, & Anderson and now this.

I cannot believe it!

Nathan Saunders asked the man, before he started giving out legal advise to us, if he were licensed to practice law in the District---he finally answered No! He said that he was a member of the Bar Association in Maryland, though!

Even if he did not want to bring someone from our law firm to meet with us, why not bring someone over who at least has some legal standing.

Why? Why do we continually get such mistreatment from the WTU. Is it because we are no longer dues paying members?

Anonymous said...

I am hoping someone will soon post an answer on how we get rid of the union! There has to be someone out there that knows something. They are doing some illegal things... like taking our money and not representing us!

Anonymous said...

I always believed that the person who became President during our time of transition would either break or make this Union. The status and political clout this Union once had has all but disappear. President Parker has done nothing to show the elected officials in this city of the power we have as voters or family members of voters in this city. George has drove this union to the brink of destruction. We are the laughing stock of the nation now. There has to be something the membership could do to remove him before my beloved Union is gone.

Kings said...

just me talking - the teachers I was talking about were not like the one you described - the kids and parents loved them because they were learning from them and getting into college -- and kids would come back and tell kids still in high school that their college teachers were not as demanding or good. that's why kids and parents were fighting to get into their classes - for good, educational reasons - not frivolous ones.

Your example does not apply to the teachers I described. Not at all.

just me talkin said...

In some places, union members can vote to dissolve a union and get rid of it. Then you would have no more mandatory union fees.

I guess after getting rid of the union, if you want to start a new one you could.

The Wash Teacher said...

Reply to Anonymous on Dec. 1 @ 9:41

I will attempt your question about how much money is left in the legal defense fund. There is not a WTU legal defense fund per se. Monies to pay the WTU lawyer are paid once an invoice has been submitted to the WTU. I am not aware of a cap on legal defense for union members.

The Wash Teacher said...

Response to Linda/Retired Teacher:

You are right unions can be sued. Well the WTU Executive Board did appeal to our national union over a year ago. We even had a contract with them for assistance but in my opinion this has not been very effective.

Anonymous said...

inThis is anonymous Dec. 1 @ 9:41

Thank you for your response. I asked that question so the WTU cannot state in a few months or next year that they do not have the money to continue the legal challenge for Rif'd teachers, etc.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the Supreme Court info, Glenn. That will probably help the teachers and the principals/assistant principals Rhee targeted!!

Anonymous said...

so, is there no one out there that wants to quit the union? Come on people... there is power in numbers! WE need to get out of this crazy union... it is illegal what they are doing to us. They are taking our money and they are not helping the RIF'D teachers and they are not negotiating the contract for those teachers that are still working! COME ON PEOPLE!

Joe said...

Ladies and Gentlemen: You all should be frank with your union leadership that is George Parker is not representing the union well. Its time to get rid of his chicken self. I know he's glad that the RIF'D teachers vote does not count anymore. If you need to sue him, pls. do it because enough is enough. He refused to listen to the union membership, executive board and the vice president. He's an a-- for real by trying to make union decisions or do union business by himself. If all what I am hearing and seeing is true, that means he's doing exactly what Michelle Rhee and Fenty are doing to the District of Columbia - destroying it for the benefit of their pockets.

Classic said...

You are so right. The Union members need to get organized and figure out what they want. I believe that George is in bed with Rhee that is why she is not afraid of the Union she knews that the Union is not a threat. George sold the RIF'd teachers out and he is selling the current teachers out. He has done nothing to stop Impact or deal with any other major issues. I was told by my field rep (before I was fired) that "there is nothing wrong with Impact if you are teaching then you have nothing to worry about."

Lindsey said...


How can you be frank with this man? He doesn't hold membership meetings. He doesn't hold Delegate Meetings (consistently), and from what I read on this blog, the Executive Board begs him to call Executive Board Meetings, and he still won't do it.

Some guy had a Recall Parker petition at one of those church meetings, but there were only a handful of people attending those meetings now.

When was the last time you attended a Membership Meeting?

This is disgusting!

It also means that the Board is not making the decisions for this union and that George Parker and George Parker alone is doing so!
And that, my friend, is a frightening thought!

Glenn Watson said...

Its hard to get rid of union leadership. In Alabama we have had the same leadership for decades.

In my opinion the national leadership of the NEA is far to liberal but they keep getting reelected.

I had no idea teachers in DC were forced to be members of the Union. In Alabama its voluntary. I'm a member for the liability insurance the Union provides but I would hate to be forced to pay.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, changing the subject.

Taken from the Sacramento Bee

Does this person sound familiar?

Our Region - Sacramento Mayor

Marcos Breton: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is his own worst enemy

By Marcos Breton

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 - 11:05 am

If Kevin Johnson could have avoided serious injuries as an NBA player, who knows where he would be now?

The fiery point guard for the Phoenix Suns might have made the Basketball Hall of Fame, led a different life and never become mayor of Sacramento.
Johnson has been mayor for one year now, and at 43, he is a young man in a new game. KJ oozes vitality.

Yet Johnson's gleaming potential is stunted again – though this time it's not physical injuries holding him back. It's emotional immaturity.

Johnson presides over a City Council that often gives a good impression of a coven of witches – and it's largely his fault. The mayor should have a majority of the council in his pocket, allowing him to isolate council antagonists Rob Fong and Kevin McCarty.
KJ should have found a way to strengthen his powers as mayor without making the issue radioactive. But he hasn't because Johnson is not a very good politician right now. He's divisive by nature.

That's the ultimate assessment of Johnson's first year in office – boundless energy, lacking the fundamental skills to be effective.

It's within his grasp to be better, but Johnson has to be a different person. He has to act like a normal person, clearly a tough task for someone who always has stood out. Johnson was the prodigy from the hard streets of Oak Park, a star at Sacramento High School, a legend at UC Berkeley, an NBA All-Star. He was the rich guy who eschewed a frivolous life to come home and run inner-city schools.

Those achievements are wrapped in entitlement and fiercely guarded by the words: How Dare You. How dare you or anyone else criticize him, oppose him and not ask "how high?" when he hollers "jump!"

During a bruising election campaign last year, no City Council member worked harder for Johnson than Sandy Sheedy. Now she is fiercely against him. When KJ secured a June ballot initiative to strengthen his powers, it was thanks to a key vote from Councilman Ray Tretheway. Johnson then embarrassed Tretheway by telling the media that he had prayed with the councilman's wife while lobbying for his vote.

Key labor leaders who once backed Johnson are now suing him to stop his mayoral power grab – with Tretheway on their side.

Is Johnson justified in feeling animosity toward Fong, McCarty and others? Yes. But a good politician gets votes and keeps them. Period.

A good politician communicates – as Johnson failed to do when announcing big homeless housing plans in Rancho Cordova without informing Rancho Cordova.

Johnson's way is to try to change city rules to give him sweeping powers: his way or the highway.

If he were a skillful politician, giving him tons of juice wouldn't seem scary. But he's not, so it is.

Kings said...

uh-oh - Johnson sounds a lot like fenty -- should make life easier for Rhee

Glenn Watson said...

Listening to DC residents opine about mayors is like Germany complaining about Poland.

There are two areas DC should refrain from giving advise on, electing mayors and education.

Anonymous said...

Glen Waston is right on the money!

Anonymous said...

I pay about $30 a paycheck to the WTU. That is almost $800 a year!!! As far as I know, the WTU has done absolutely NOTHING for me. I really really really wish I didn't have to be part of the union.