May 7, 2010

AFT Prez Randi Weingarten Interferes in DC Teachers' Union Elections

I thought I would share this news worthy story with you as originally reported by Norm of Ed Notes On Line education blog. This story addresses intereference by AFT President Randi Weingarten in our Washington Teachers Union elections which are constitutionally required to be held mid May 2010. As I am sure that you are aware our Washington Teachers Union Constitution states that a member desiring to run for a position shall submit an official nominating petition signed by twenty (20) or more members in good standing to the office of the Washington Teachers’ Union on or before the last regular working day of the Union in April. Union members must submit their petitions on April 30 and that ballots must be mailed by mid May. Unfortunately, it appears that our local elections will be delayed in an unprecedented power play by AFT Prez Randi Weingarten. Please read insights from Norm of Ed Notes on line blog, a retired teacher activist from New York turned blogger as well as Nathan Saunders, WTU 2010 Presidential candidate. - Candi Peterson
Ed Notes on Line writes:
"History has taught us that autocrats will never give up power and will resort to illegal means to keep absolutism intact...... Ed Notes has been reporting on the Washington DC and Chicago teacher union elections. Both cities are hotbeds of potential activism and if Nathan Saunders and/or Karen Lewis (CORE) were to be elected, would indicate potential trouble for AFT President Randi Weingarten. Not that she has to worry too much with the NYC Unity Caucus machine being able to control the NY state NYSUT which in turn controls the AFT. But we know that Randi wants ZERO OPPOSITION and will do what she can to undercut the ability of these candidates to win.
Washington DC is a particularly interesting case where both Randi and Michelle Rhee's reps are on the line if Saunders should win. So now we hear the AFT is "getting involved" in the DC election. With elections in Washington DC about to take place, the AFT goon squad is out to undermine them. They found some excuse and there is talk about including the contract vote ballot in the same envelope as the election ballot. If true, why are we not surprised here in NYC?
The real reason is that Randi/Rhee/Parker are anxious to get the contract vote done before the election, which if Saunders wins will kill any chance of the contract Randi and Rhee want. With problems over the private money being assured, it is clear that the election will be done beforehand and Randi is trying to figure out a way to undermine it.
Is anyone surprised that Randi is more aligned with Rhee - remember my basic rule - ignore what Randi says, watch what she does? So here is Nathan Saunders' piece in May 6 edition of TheMail magazine- written by Norm of Ed Notes on line blog "
Nathan Saunders, WTU Presidential candidate writes.....
Is AFT Undermining DC Teachers ?
"Intense public school budget hearings on April 30 evidenced the significant impact WTU teachers have on the city’s budget. Charter school advocates presented the government a demand letter for comparable wages to the WTU Tentative Agreement (TA), or they would seek court action. A magnanimous Chief Financial Officer Gandhi refused to certify the TA’s financial soundness while simultaneously scaling back other programs and possibly raising taxes to reduce a $530 million deficit.
The 1960’s legislation allowing exclusive representation of DC’s Public teachers was theorized to encourage mutual cooperation yielding increased workplace productivity.
Unfortunately, some of the industrial labor union’s ills and social injustices, such as paternalism, permeated the teachers’ union movement.
Oftentimes national union interests will attack local dissident opinion by influencing union elections, producing propaganda, and controlling issues. All the while repeating, ad nauseam, “We never get involved in local issues.”
Amazingly, this is like the letter the American Federation of Teachers sent home to all DC teachers implying that the May 2010 elections will probably be delayed. Federal legislation, the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, was created to combat union member abuses involving violations of free speech, violence, and elections tampering. It forces elections every three years and gives union members a special bill of rights akin to the US Constitution.
Empowering WTU teachers in democratic management and advocacy for themselves and their students is an often neglected education reform that is affordable. Paternalism is most dangerous in teachers’ unions, as it makes teachers feel trapped with two bosses — the DC Government and the AFT/WTU — their own union. Union democracy is suppressed.
The AFT should not be involved in the May 2010 union election or the upcoming contract ratification vote, as their ability to exercise self-control will deter additional controversies and challenges. The federal Department of Labor should be involved.
Unfortunately, the president of the AFT parent union, Randi Weingarten, is deeply entangled in election shenanigans, potentially stalling WTU’s election schedule past its constitutionally required May 2010 date. Her beneficiary is WTU President George Parker the embattled negotiator of the Rhee/Parker tentative agreement. The agreement was supposed to harvest elections benefits of 20 percent pay raises, without members knowing most would probably be terminated or that a portion of the raises was financed with blood money of wrongfully terminated teachers, and the only job security in the deal belonged to Chancellor Michelle Rhee.
The problem with Weingarten’s election meddling is that it makes DC teachers more vulnerable. Teachers are about to deal with hundreds of year-end layoffs, a hard summer fight to support a mayoral candidate and leaving approximately eighty other elected positions unfilled (Elections Committee, Delegates to the Maryland State AFL-CIO, and others). It smells to high heaven.
Any desire to place an election ballot with a contract ratification ballot in the same envelope is selfish and belittles the WTU’s members’ intelligence. Common sense, time, and economic realities may have broken up the Fenty/Rhee/Parker/Weingarten playbook, but law and the WTU’s Constitution require a paternalistic AFT to step aside and to allow dues paying members to vote on their future — now."
Posted by The Washington Teacher, featuring Candi Peterson, blogger in residence


Suzanne said...

I am just so sick of this!

Just let local union members do what we are supposed to do..follow our own constitution. I don't care what efforts are put forth to keep this WTU President afloat or to keep Michelle Rhee's contract will not work! If I had to vote in December 2014, I would still be voting NO to Both Parker and the Contract! What I cannot bear is the fact that I have to put up with both of them until such time.

Let me vote when the constitution says I should vote.....To deny me that right, is to discriminate against me. Is that what AFT wants next....some kind of discriminiation lawsuit.

I signed petitions for three people for the Elections Committee and to attend the AFT Convention. What about them? This is not just about George and Nathan...What about everyone else who wants to run for office.


Anonymous said...

So, what are our options to force the election to be held? Can we sue our parent organization for meddling? The election and contract vote must/should be separate processes. If not, I fear major tampering will occur.

Anonymous said...

I agree, what are our options to force AFT to allow us our right to vote this month?

Sheila H. Gill said...

Calling all DCPS Educators:

It's time for you to rally at the AFT building and demand that Randi follows the WTU Constitution Union Elections Policy/Procedures.

Don't allow Randi or George to dictate your faith. Remember to "VOTE NO" to the WTU Tentative Agreement, if mailed to your home.

Unite as "ONE" and follow the WTU Constitution By-Laws.

DCPS Educators deserve another Tentative Agreement with a new WTU President.

Enough is Enough!!!

Anonymous said...

Members may have to force an election by going to court.

Classic said...

Shame on you Randi Shame on you!!!!

It is funny to me how you have ignored the request from the RIF teachers to help because George has abandoned them, you said that it was a local issue and that you had faith in George but now all of a sudden you need to get involved ...hmmmmmmm

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon 8:23 what about all the other positions. I guess those other people don't matter. We need to take this national she doesn't want any bad publicity. Let the election move foward after the year we have had in DCPS can we have one thing go the right way. I will be calling the AFT offices on Monday morning and I will keep calling until I get Randi on the phone.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 11:09

The options are that the elections committee should press forward with our WTU elections, plain and simple. Here is to local union autonomy.

Anonymous said...

Call the US Department of Labor and ask them to investigate. You know good and well mailing two ballots in the same envelope will lead to all sorts of investigations and claims of missing ballots. This is truly a sad state of affairs. Another reason DCPS teachers are looked down upon.

Anonymous said...

Well, let's go, Elections Committee!

Anonymous said...

Candi, can you do a story on your blog about violence in DC schools? It's a serious porblem that's being covered up this year, mostly because the vocal teachers who would have exposed the problem have all been fired. How about doing some research on specific schools having issues with violence, and then post it on your blog? Just a suggestion.

The Washington Teacher said...

Reply to Anonymous @ 9:15 AM

There has been a complaint filed by Nathan Saunders, WTU General VP to the Dept. of Labor's Hilda Soltis.

The Washington Teacher said...

Anonymous @ 4:39

I would have no problem doing a story on violence in DCPS but rely on insiders in order to get information. If you have suggestions on how to get information, please email me.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous May 9, 4:39

Candi can not do all of the work for us. As she suggested, get the information and then it can be posted.

If a person from each school would provide information to events and practice at their school, this would help tremendously as well as give people an avenue to discuss other issues of concern.

Anonymous said...

All violence in schools by any party should be accurately and timely reported for management action. It cannot be tolerated. That said, to gather and publish right now a bunch of violence incidents that occurred over a long period of time will be seen by many as just a political stunt. In other words--it could backfire and make teachers look like just a bunch of political players. If an incident is reportable, it should have been reported. And you may be asked to prove there is actual retaliation--which honestly sounds somewhat doubtful. Is there a WTU position on violence that has been allowed to fester?

Warren said...

Back to the topic at hand, the WTU elections!!!!!

Notice there have been no rep assembly meetings scheduled and the one that was scheduled for april was postphoned until May 4 and then that was cancelled.

No executive board meetings either (not that it really makes a difference. Those people just bobble their heads up and down and don't represent anyone but themselves)

We demand that our constitution is followed with elections in May. However that has to happen....let that happen.

Stop waiting around for the contract vote and move on....believe me GP, this is hurting you more than anyone else.

Lies and Deception......!!!!!

Call AFT and Call the Media. Let's out Randi and George for this foolishness!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7:03:

You act as if what you are saying is common knowledge. Reality check: many teachers in the system right now are brand new and do not know the rules/policies on violence/assault. All the teachers who knew the rules have either been terminated or scared into silence.

Anonymous said...

Check WaPo ed page. This just in: Gandhi is ready to certify teachers' contract.

Anonymous said...

Could you please explain the kind of violence you are referring to.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous May 10, 7:03 am Who are you?

It is only being suggested that individuals share incidents or events that occurred at their school. Of course management will already know about the incidents or events. Stating the incident and how it was handled by management is the idea here. DCPS has guidelines and procedures. WTU in the it's contract has procedures. Does that mean they are being followed? WTU has nothing to do with people expressing concerns about behaviors occurring at their school and how it being handled.
Is there data available concerning violence in DCPS this year? If the WTU could not handle the Rif teacher matter what makes you think they can handle concerns of violence?

Who are you really?

Anonymous said...

It's time for DCPS teachers to play their part in all of this. Rhee and others have divided the teachers across the city. Most teachers want the contract to pass. However, the teachers need to think hard on this one. They can win if they stick together. Money will be the root of all evil in the situation. DCPS teachers, sometimes you have to sacrifice to get what you want. Please don't let the dollar signs destroy what is not just. It's time for you to fight for what is right!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

7:03 commenter is a bystander moved to state the obvious by the apparent political intent to compile incidents long after they have happened. My suggestion shows more concern for spotting and stopping the alleged violence than 5:57's does. Sorry I made a suggestion to help teachers. And I have no opinion on union competence; it speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

Only on this blog would an anonymous commenter demand to know who another anonymous commenter is? Wake up, people!! That is not important. Something that is important, as an illustration is: dealing with the national AFT.

Anonymous said...

This is Anonymous on May 10 at 5:57

To Anonymous at May 11 at 12:36 p.m.

Who are you? Who are you really? These are questions to provoke people to think about some of the people responding or commenting on this blow could be.

That is why its called " Anonymous."

This is a real question. Why are you putting this blog down? Now another real question, who are you?" I ask those questions because you have the need to put commenters down. You can always skip this blog since you have problems with it.

Commenters, do not let these type of comments throw you off track.

Here's to a great place to express your opinions and to provoke thought!

To Anonymous May 11 at 10:01 am. No need to apologize, my comments again are to provoke people to think. I made comments concerning addressing concerns of teachers who were not riffed earlier this school year. Lack of support, materials and professional development that does not help you in the classroom, managing student behavior as well your class are all important topics and should drive your vote for the next president of the union whenever the elections take place.

Anonymous said...

I agree with May 10 @8:44pm. The TA is the same, the article 40 is the same. The only difference is the taxpayers will pay for the TA raises. I am not going for it! The money is not the issue for me, it's job security. These are the same three-stooges (Fenty/Rhee/Parker)that got us to the place we are now. Rhee is still going to fire teachers, veterans and "newbies". The TA should be re-negotiated with a new Union president. I have no-faith in George Parker. I will be voting no to the new contract. How in the world could money suddenly appear for our contract? I will also not be voting for Fenty nor Parker.

Anonymous said...

Do you have on update on AFT "help"? Also, as of last night at least, the WTU site had nothing about voting that I could see.