Apr 24, 2010

Telling Lies To Attack Teachers In DC

Brian Tierney looks at the furor over the attempts of Washington, D.C., school officials to hide a budget surplus in order to cut teacher jobs and push a union-busting contract. This article is a must read for all DCPS teachers and related school personnel. Tierney offers an insightful analysis of the Washington Teachers Union and WTU's Tentative Agreement as negotiated by union president George Parker and AFT President Randi Weingarten. Tierney writes: "....THE WTU and AFT are again focusing on a court challenge of the layoffs. But a bolder fight needs to be waged, one that mobilizes rank-and-file teachers and couples militant action with legal battles in the courtroom.

Rhee is not invincible: despite her powerful backers, among D.C. residents, her approval ratings have plunged considerably over the past year.

But Fenty and Rhee are unlikely to be stopped as long as they continue to enjoy a docile WTU leadership in Parker's presidency. Parker has given Rhee a free hand to attack the union, push for charters and resegregate D.C. schools. In 2008, Rhee went so far as to praise Parker as "a great union leader" and a "a great union president."

Thus, the May union election will likely be a referendum on Parker's record in dealing with Rhee. Parker's main challenger is Nathan Saunders, the current WTU vice president.

Saunders, who ran on the same slate as Parker in the last union election, broke with his former ally when Parker failed to stand up to Rhee. Saunders charges Parker with being an ineffective union president who has allowed teachers to lose job security, pay raises and benefits.

"I am not campaigning against an individual," Saunders wrote on his Web site. "Rather [I'm campaigning] against reactionary and political responses which continue to unnecessarily burden teachers and yield minimal gains toward a positive public education experience for our children." Saunders continued: "Teachers must be committed to reclaiming our voice in the 'reform' debate as the experts in public education."

A great deal is at stake in both the coming union election and the contract vote--which, depending on the outcome of the budget debate, could be many weeks away. The choice that WTU members make in both will have a major impact on the ongoing war over the future of D.C. public schools."

Continue reading this article in its entirety by clicking on this link.

Posted by The Washington Teacher, article courtesy of Socialistworker.org


Sarah said...

Please don't sign a contract that depends on 1-private money that 2-may or may not be there.
The DC government is responsible for paying you with public money and if the DC government can't do that, something is too wrong with this so-called agreement.
Keep in mind that if Rhee succeeds in passing this contract off as the as the "model" for that part of the nation who believe like she does that the one and only problem with public education is teacher's unions therefore the one and only "reform" that's needed is neutralizing, if not demolishing them completely, she will be a hero to those people and George Parker's reputation as a "new" kind of union president will be made too.
Don't let them use you, as they are using the whole of DC, in the name of "what's best for the students" as the extras on the set for the movie of how teacher's unions came tumbling down in America starring Michelle Rhee and co-starring George Parker in a supporting role.
There is too much at stake to accept what they've come up with. Demand a new deal with no private money involved and no fine print that says management reserves the right to renege when it chooses. Please!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Candi for this article. I will not vote for this ""Mafia-style contract. This contract is as punitive to DCPS teacers as the Impact "Assassination-style "assessment. I can live off my current salary. DC is in an election year. I live and work in DC, and from what I have been reading, the District Government does not have money for any payraise. Don't believe anything that Rhee, Parker, Fenty, tell you.
These are the worst leaders that I have seen in DC since Sharon Pratt-Kelly.

Paul Moore said...

Curious about something Candi.

The WTU in D.C. and the UTD in Miami had their brushes with massive theft by their entrenched local leaderships at about the same time. You just before us.

The national union put both locals in receivership and UTD has happily stayed there ever since. We have had three "elections" for local leadership but if the verdict of any one of those ballots had not been to the liking of the AFT it would have stepped in and nullified the results.

What about the WTU? Have you reestablished the locals genuine control over it's affairs? If Brother Nathan were to defeat Parker/Rhee could their patron Weingarten intervene?

Anonymous said...

To Hell with Rhee, Parker and Weingarten and their Tentative Agreement

My girlfriend is getting letters at her home about George Parker and Randi Weingarten helping wrongfully terminated teachers. That is a bold face lie. The only time Parker shows interest is when and if there is political opportunity. Every single thing is politics with him. We asked for a lawyer and brought a drunken man, Johnnie Landon, who is never on time and not even a dc attorney. Look up his history on the internet. Why are we paying him any money? At first, I was disappointed in Nathan because he stood up and I did not understand the significance. Now I do. We should have had good representation all along.
If Rhee had not opened her mouth about the $34 million we would not be any better position with Parker's assistance than before. We are still out in the cold (fired). Parker is doing Massa’s bidding. Massa is Rhee and Weingarten. How dare he suggest his support of us? He put us out of the union, would not let us vote and talk doing meetings, he put our friends off the executive board, and he lies and never puts anything in writing. You could not believe how mad I was when that letter was read to me. I will never ever support him or Randi as a leader of anything for working people. If we cannot trust Parker, Weingarten and definitely Rhee, why in the world should we trust a contract or anything else they create. We must call our friends and spread the word. Let’s not get used one more time by George Parker. Vote No to the tentative agreement.

Classic said...

At this point anyone that doesn't see that George has sold us out really really needs to go ask a RIF'd teacher or a teacher that was on a 90 plan last year.

Read the contract, would any of you go buy a car or a house if the interest rate is blank and labeled to be determined at a later date.

Look at the section about merit pay. It has not even been copmpleted and lets not even talk about 40.2 on page 103. Read people READ.

Also, does everyone realize that the retro pay is only for the RIF'd teachers not for people who have retired in the last two years. I have a BIG problem with that .. but George didn't. hmmmmm

Anonymous said...

Candi .. What is Nathan Suanders doing to address and meet with current teachers before the election? Will meetings be held? At my school, I am getting the strong vibe that most teachers will vote for this contract. The Union rep said the money is there from the private foundations and therefore didn't understand some of the concerns I raised about the contract language. In conversations with other teachers, most really did not see past the money. As a new teacher and someone who has worked in corporate AMerica, the contract has many "outs" for Rhee et al., that will not benefit the teachers. Most troubling is 40.2. This language suggests that perhaps the donors can withdraw their money at some point or any government agency is obligated to continue funding should some unforeseen financial difficulties arise. As a new teacher, nothing in this contract is attractive to me. As a new teacher, I am still learning and struggling. With all the research-based decisions touted by the reformists, you would think teacher development would have been addressed as most new teachers do not perfect teacher skills until 3-5 years in the classroom. Where are the induction programs? The teacher resource center seem like a joke.

I do think this contract is cheap cheap for Rhee. It provides her with a tool to RIF teachers this years while giving them a nice paycheck in addition to the $25,000 payout. The union will be effectively silenced since it would have been teachers RECENT vote that sealed their fate. Secondly, administrators will figure prominently in laying teachers off over the summer.

Peter said...

Great article! Thanks for providing the link to the entire piece. It was a bit lengthy, but I understand how important it is to read every detail, because you might not find out the total truth unless you read for yourself (this goes with everything including the fine print on the tentative agreement). I can't even begin to tell you how angry I am. DC Teachers have been made to be the laughing stock across this country. Initially, we had everyone's sympathy because of what Rhee was doing to us. Now, people are looking at us like we are out of our mind for allowing our own union leadership, to whom we pay dues twice a month, to make a complete mockery of our union, this process and us!

Now, I even hear that Parker is trying to delay the WTU election until after the contract vote or even until the summer when he thinks a lot of teachers won't remember to vote due to summer vacations. This is a mess! And to think, AFT is right there beside him--helping him do his dirt! Well, this article tells it all. AFT President Randi needs this contract to pass in order to save her face.....WELL RANDI, WHAT ABOUT MY FACE???? Your work in DC is done. You can now stay out of our local politics and let's let the chips fall where they may. You are only making matters worse...as if that could even be possible.

Anonymous said...

I was talking to my husband yesterday about the DCPS union-busters, Parker and Rhee. These are two snakes in the grass. They hope that teachers will blindly agree to the TA. They think that teachers will take the money, but what they hope is that by taking the money, the teachers will break their own union. Then Parker and Rhee could say, "see we did not break their union, they did".

Candi, please let us know when we will be voting for the new union president.

Sheia H. Gill said...

My motion is a "Vote of No Confidence in George Parker."

VOTE "NO" for the WTU Tentative Agreement!!!

It's time to Reform WTU!!!

Lindsey said...

regarding Paul's question...

WTU regained its "autonomy" in 2004-05 by amending an AFT-written WTU Constitution. Our elections were held in 2005...

The AFT came back into the WTU in 2008 when the Executive Board asked for help because Parker was negotiating privately with Rhee and couldn't be stopped. Parker would not listen to the E-Board at all and tried to stop having meetings. This is when Randi became President of AFT after McElroy.

Warren said...

To Anon at 8:39am:

Invite Saunders to come to your school to meet and greet.

I was invited to a teacher's home this weekend to meet Saunders. There were several teachers from different schools there. Saunders talked about the current situation including the financing of the contract, his background and educational training including a Masters Degree in Law and Ethics with a specialization in Contract Negotiations from University of Baltimore and his study at Harvard Trade Union Program (Harvard School of Law)and the direction this union needs to take. We stayed four hours just talking about issues, concerns and our Union. Teachers are hosting meetings all over the city and he says no group is too small for him. He's got my vote and my support no matter who runs for office.

So, you can do something worthwhile and invite him to come anywhere to speak with teachers.

email address listed on campaign flyer: votesaunders2010@gmail.com