Dec 28, 2009

Knock, Knock Wash. Teachers' Union Prez George Parker, Anybody There ?

On December 15, 2009- the WTU Executive Board passed a motion to appeal Judge Judith Bartnoff's November 24 legal decision . In Bartnoff's decision she ruled against the Washington Teachers Union Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and preliminary injunction which was filed to have approximately 266 unfairly laid off teachers and school staff reinstated. 
Whether you agree or disagree that an appeal should be filed on behalf of DC teachers, the WTU Executive Board has spoken by a vote of 5 yes votes to 3 no votes with 5 board members abstaining. WTU President George Parker agreed to contact our WTU attorney Lee Jackson on December 16, the day after the E-board meeting to request that he prepare an appeal of Bartnoff's ruling by the December 24 deadline. 
Union transparency is important because it encourages union officials to do the right thing on behalf of our members. As an elected union official, I along with other WTU Executive Board members continue to come up against stumbling blocks with our union president, George Parker in that he refuses to answer pertinent emails of inquiry from Executive board members regarding union business and has been accused of not being responsive to our membership as well. I give WTU President Parker an 'F' grade on union transparency, answering pertinent emails of inquiry and follow through on behalf of our members. This is just not acceptable to me nor should it be to you. I am adamant that the Washington Teachers' Union be a union for the people, by the people and with the people- not a dictatorship. Maybe you can help me ?
Knock, knock Washington Teachers Union Prez George Parker, anybody there ? Well I guess not because I along with WTU Executive Board members Sheila H. Gill and Nathan A. Saunders have sent  emails to you and have yet to hear even a whisper. Can anybody, pleeez encourage Mr. Parker to answer our emails. In the advent that any of you should accidentally run into him- could you share my December 23 email and ask him to respond to me ? After all I am an elected official to the WTU Board of Trustees. Here's my most recent email:
Dear George : 
(copied to Herb Thomas, Randi Weingarten, AFT, WTU E-Board, Board of Trustees, AFT National reps.,
In response to the previous emails, the federal government was open for business on Tuesday and Wednesday as I hope the WTU is. Federal government workers are required to use annual leave if they decide to take off during liberal leave conditions which existed on Tuesday. Businesses in this area are resuming work today and that should be the expectation for our union as well. In light of this, I do hope that the WTU will set a date for a meeting with our union attorney whether George is in the office or not, in addition to providing members updates on the status of the legal appeal which passed on 12/15/09. 
On behalf of our union members, I would like to request that a rescheduled meeting date be set with our WTU attorney, Lee Jackson as soon as possible in order that board members can arrange their schedules.  There should be no reason that we cannot follow up and commit to setting up a date with Lee Jackson as a great deal of time has passed already. It appears that not only board members but teachers have a lot of unanswered legal questions that they would like to address with our union attorney. In the spirit of working on behalf of our members, I request that you provide a rescheduled date and time by no later than Thursday, December 24 close of business @ 5 p.m. to all board members.
I also would like to inquire what is the status of Lee Jackson's appeal on behalf of DC's RIF'ed teachers as December 24 is the due date for the filing of the appeal as we discussed in our last rescheduled WTU board meeting. I would also ask that this information be provided via email when you respond about the rescheduled meeting date with Attorney Lee Jackson. Thanks for your urgent attention in this matter and I along with others await your timely written response by tomorrow close of business.
In solidarity,
Candi Peterson
WTU Board of Trustees
WTU Building Representative
AFT member

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


Wyrm1 said...

It's clear the union leadership is useless. I'm thankful I've never needed them for anything other then their inept negotiation of contracts.

It does piss me off that I spend $600ish a year in non-voluntary union dues for uselessness, but unfortunately, that is what happens in union shops.

Classic said...

As a wrongfuly terminated teacher this whole situation makes me sick. I was at the executive board meeting and when I walked away from that meeting I had NO confidence that George was going to file that appeal. He made it very clear that he didn't want to. The question is what is next. It was a motion that was passed what are the legal obligations that George and Union have to the teachers that were laid off. That is the question that I want to know the answer to.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Candi,

I am at a lost of what to say in light of the past activities. I am hopeful that George Parker will do the right thing.

Mike said...

Wow this seems like Mr George Parker does not care. Maybe he is on Michelle Rhee's team after all but what about the house I'm getting ready to foreclose on and the car that's being hid in the garage. Come on George, step up time has ran out. Will you help me with my mortgage ?

Anonymous said...

This blog is invaluable. It helps me understand why things are so bad in my workplace and why Michelle Rhee does not respect unions. Maybe Michelle Rhee is not the problem maybe it is teachers and who we have allowed to advocate for us. Maybe thats what we need to think about in 2010. The heck with WTU, lets just get our own contract and payraises. The WTU is a charade. It is a tax that I have to pay to work in DCPS. I have no faith in Parker or any union that can not respect or protect members. I wish the City Council or Congress would allow me to voluntarily pay my dues. I know some elementary school kids who would enjoy my hard earnings before WTU. Maybe David Cantina and others might be able to help us get from under the burden of the Washington Teachers Union. I am disgusted that George Parker thinks he can get away with this crap. I did not get RIF'd but my girlfriend did and Christmas was sparse in her household. We cried together and it is not getting any better.

Anonymous said...

Well, well, well. Just as expected, George Parker has proven himself in Rhee's pocket! I doubted he would follow through on contacting the lawyer to file the appeal. What do we do now? Can some other union leader by pass Parker to do what needs to be done? The Vice President perhaps?

As one who was rif'ed I am thankful for the support you, Candi,continue to show in the fight to right this wrong that was perpetrated against us and the students of DCPS.

sHARON b. said...

Mike, I've felt that way for a very long time. At the onset of the Rhee regime, she stated that she had finally met a union president that she liked. That should have been a wake-up call then, but it wasn't. He prides himself on being the Lone-Ranger. He was seen by me on Christmas Eve @ 825 ALONE..... What web was he weaving?

123 123 said...

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Anonymous said...

What a shame! I am tired of George taking our money and buying "George Parker" gear and sending us holiday cards when he has done nothing for us! NOTHING! I understand one can get in touch with him! I have tried to call him almost everyday over our vacation break. He never answers his phone!!! Candi, you are a strong, smart and motivated person!!! Please step out and try to gather us together so we can meet as a "union" to discuss how we can move ahead!!! We just need one leader to get us going. WE all need to come together and either vote George out on a "NO CONFIDENCE VOTE!" or just gather ourselves. Please... we need you to take the lead. Do something for us. Send out information about a gathering... WE NEED ONE PERSON TO TAKE THE LEAD on this... that is all! AND in the meantime, everyone else should be calling George and calling the city council members... here is George's number 202-957-1354. EVERYONE CALL HIM!!!

The Wash. Teacher said...

WTU E- board member, Sheila Gill sent her 2nd request on 12/29/09 to our union president - George Parker which stated "You are aware that this is my 2nd request to follow up of the motion that was passed. Please share the details of Attorney Jackson's filing an appeal against Judge Bartnoff's rulling as well as a new meeting date and time to interact with Attorney Lee Jackson. "

Let's see whether Parker will answer this second request. So far its 6 days and counting to get an answer to an email from Parker. While Parker may try to use the excuse that its a holiday period, that won't fly because he fails to answer emails even when it isn't holiday season.

Anonymous said...

David Catania can not help teachers. Catania is a angry-pension-hater. He needs to be voted out of office as soon as possible. Don't let this little angry-fairy fool you. I am a DC voter, and I am not impressed by Mr. Catania.

Anonymous said...

Think about it nothing happened after the hearing, it was all for show, so nothing is going to happen now unless something negative comes out about Rhee or Fenty and the council can jump on the bandwagon. It's all politics, and it's a dirty game!

Glenn Watson said...

Congratulations, Detroit has surpassed you as worst school system in the nation.

DC Teacher said...

The link posted about Detrot public schools-
Wow. People are deluded. Looking around on the website, this seems to be crazy right-wing, Glenn Beck loving weirdos on here. We won't change any hearts and minds there...

Anonymous said...

I worked at a DCPS high school for one year in 1999. The union was completely useless then and completely useless now as it seems.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction; I was utterly harrassed by my principal for "hiding" my pregnancy (from receiving a phone call hours just hours after giving birth, to having multiple "investitations" about baseless issues of the paternity of the child). All the Union did was tell me there was nothing they could do as there was nothing in writing. They did not even help me transfer when another DCPS school wanted me and could not get me. This principal has not only survived but thrived under Rhee administration while the union has remained exactly where they were, charging money but doing absolutely nothing.

Get everyone on board, elect someone to represent the teachers, and fire back. There is strength in numbers.

Anonymous said...

Candi... step out and take the lead! We need you to call a meeting... don't call it a union meeting or do... It is so important that we do this! We need a no confidence vote and we need to get someone in the union that is going to help us with our contract and with the unfairly Rif'd teachers! You can do this! We will support you!

The Wash. Teacher said...

Reply to Anonymous @ 8:25 p.m. on 12/31
Thanks for the support. In order for a vote of no confidence to mean something, it should be taken by the WTU Executive Board and WTU Rep. assembly. I encourage you and others to encourage teachers to come out to the next WTU rep. assembly meeting in January.

Unfortunately, I am not a member of the contract negotiation team even though I applied to be and was rejected by our union president George Parker. I am working with the RIF'd teachers to lend my support. Their next meeting will be on January 8th in the evening. If you write me with a way to contact you c/o I can provide more specifics. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Topic Change:

Rhee vows to shield D.C. teachers, supplies amid budget cuts--Washington Post Education Section

What a bold face lie! My suggestion is to recommend that the union suggest or work with Fenty/Rhee in offering an early out so that senior teachers/staff/ etc. are not laid off, but can retire.

Also, look for Impact to be really used as weapon against veterans teachers now that a "deficit is on the horizon for 2010-2011."

Candi, you may be able to voice this at the next meeting.

It is now time to think about those veteran teachers, staff, etc. that new principals do want to retain. The next wave of firings is coming. Look out!

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

When is George Parker term up? What is the reelection process etc?

The Wash Teacher said...

WTU elections begin in May 2010. WTU members will be able to cast their votes before the school year ends.
Stay tuned for more information.

Anonymous said...

Topic Change: More Conflict of Interest by MR & KJ

Dated December 21, 2009


The D.C. schools chief and the mayor of Sacramento have more in common than being engaged to each other.

Standing up for school choice

Michelle A. Rhee and Kevin Johnson now share ties with the Broad family, whose coast-to-coast philanthropic efforts are rooted in education. Mrs. Rhee is a member of the board of the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems, and Mr. Johnson last week announced a new partnership with the Broad Foundation, which supports charter schools.

The foundation is providing $500,000 in seed money for Stand Up for Sacramento Schools, a nonprofit charged with raising academic achievement and college-completion rates. The initiative will focus on five key areas -- accountability, parent engagement, human capital, school choice and external resources.

Urban families have suffered for too long, and school and city officials should make sure that children's ZIP codes "do not determine their choices in life," said Mr. Johnson, a charter-school founder and former NBA star.

Kings said...

"school and city officials should make sure that children's ZIP codes "do not determine their choices in life,"

This must be pillow talk- Rhee uses the same language about zip codes.

Anonymous said...

Discrimination is discrimination. Yes, a zip code does not determine how successful one will be, nor a name or ethnic group.

Our elected or selected leaders must set an example of making choices due to ability, not race.