Aug 26, 2010

George Parker, Hold Over WTU President Sues AFT

George Parker, 'Hold Over' president of the Washington Teachers' Union (whose constitutional term ended June 30, 2010) filed a lawsuit on August 16, 2010 against the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The purpose of Parker's lawsuit is to seek an injunction to prohibit the AFT from suspending the autonomy of the WTU. In one of Parker's many robo calls to members, he reported that his rationale for filing this lawsuit (which was funded by WTU members monies) was to protect teachers and school personnel. A DC teacher wrote: "Parker is a nut case. Why didn't he use the 'same zeal' to fight Michelle Rhee on IMPACT and that poor excuse for a contract. He will do anything to stay in the union office illegally."

You may recall that AFT President, Randi Weingarten, declared a limited administratorship takeover of the WTU because Parker refused to comply with the terms of the AFT Executive Council decision and order, dated August 4. This order indicated that AFT would oversee union elections and set a new deadline date of September 3rd for union members to submit their petitions to run for elected offices. The order also required Parker to reinstate Nathan Saunders, WTU General VP's salary forthwith and approve Saunders leave of absence from DCPS through the completion of the union election. When Parker refused to comply, Weingarten instituted a 'limited administratorship' with future plans to hold a hearing before her executive council on the matter at a later date. Parker and members of his illegally constituted WTU Executive Board including 4 newly appointed members by Parker (Carynne Connover, Jacqueline Hines, Monica Jones-Martinez and Bill Rope) requested that Weingarten and the AFT Executive Council reconsider its August 4 decision and order. In an August 16 letter to WTU board members, President Randi Weingarten responded: "Dear Mr. Parker: Upon due consideration, the August 4 determination which you challenge is adhered to. Unless by noon on Tuesday, August 17, 2010, we receive an unequivocal sworn undertaking from you and the Executive Board of the WTU, local 6 to comply in all respects with and to fully cooperate in all good faith with the processes previously articulated thereunder, an Administratorship shall upon unanimous decision of the President, Secretary-Treasurer and Executive Vice President of the AFT, be established and an Administrator appointed effective forthwith and without further notice to restore the rights of members in election procedures or representation, to secure and safeguard vital records and assets of the WTU from immediate threat, and to take such actions as are necessary to protect the interests of the membership in accordance with Article VI of the Constitution and bylaws of the AFT, AFL-CIO particularly sections 14 and 15 and each of the subsections thereof, and applicable provisions of law."

Parker seems intent on having his way by delaying union elections by any means necessary. An anonymous commenter described Parker's actions this way: "George Parker's consistent denial of the facts in relinquishing his authority as WTU president is quite troubling to me. His actions have become increasingly irrational. I don't know him personally but from a distance he appears to be losing touch with reality and displaying signs of desperation. Let's hope he continues to be non-violent." Usereason stated that "Parker has given lots of people plenty to be angry and depressed about. He (Parker) is reaping what he has sown.... I hope something can get him to come around and leave without fighting to the death ...."

Given this latest twist of events, what is your take on the lawsuit against AFT and Parker's spending the Washington Teachers Union assets to remain in office ? Stay tuned as this saga unfolds.

*Monica Jones- Martinez wrote me an email today on 8/26/10 revealing that she is no longer a WTU Executive board member. Ms. Martinez reports that after being appointed to the illegally constituted WTU E-board in June 2010 that she later resigned in late June 2010. It should be noted however, that she was a participant in the June 2010 WTU Executive Board meetings.

38 comments:

Classic said...

I hope that the AFT sits Parker down. Take away all of his power and let's have an election. I am so sick of this roller coaster it is sad that Geroge cares more about staying in office then helping teachers. The ironic thing is if he had spent more time helping teachers then he would have votes to stay in office...hmmmm

Frustrated and Pissed Off said...

Parker has lost his GD mind. I am getting fired and he is off doing this stuff. My school's enrollment is low and we are all walking on egg shells and I am tired of it. Parker is wasting my money and I have no control over what is going on. Union meetings were cancelled and AFT was our last hope to get this sinking ship under control. Weingarten needs to crush him so we all can live. I was elated to learn of the administrator appointment. How can he file a lawsuit against our parent organization without our knowledge? What is wrong with having an election. Unionmembers should have leadership of their choice not a tyrant. What is the difference between Fenty, Rhee and Parker? There is none. What must we do to get rid of this man. He will not go and we are losing our careers, assets and reputations.

Pete said...

This is really getting sickening.

Why can't the AFT just take the WTU over and put everyone out of office (since their terms are over anyway)? AFT can run things until the elections are over. Then whoever wins, can take it back over.... (God help us all)

Amazing! Parker can fight when he wants to and when it is in his own best interest...but he can't seem to find his b _ _ _ s when teachers need him to fight for them.

Parker needs to understand that with all this grandstanding he is doing, he has lost any and all chances of getting my vote. And, I will be telling others to consider doing likewise.

Can this get any worse?

Cindy said...

Parker is holding the WTU hostage. AFT needs to step up and step in (totally). I don't want my dues money spent fighting the national union. I want to spend it dealing with IMPACT and unfair observations.

AFT, what are you going to do about this nonsense?

Retired DC Teacher said...

Chicken George Parker is a big fat zero. He has never fought for teachers even when he worked on the front lines as a rep. at Eliott JHS. I don't know what the dictionary calls a man without any balls, but look it up and there you will find a picture of George Parker. Now I understand why Rhee loves this guy, she can run all over him. Teachers deserve better and must demand AFT to eject this zero from office FORTHWITH!

Marvin the Brilliant said...

Retired Teacher -- the word you are grasping for is: eunuch.

The Chinese emperors surrounded themselves with such men, as it was believed they had no other worldly interests to distract them from serving the emperors.

The problem with Local 6 begins with is corrupt history--playing ball with too many supers, allowing felons to run the organization for a period of years, allowing the leadership to conduct a contract negotiation that was very long and very public but which barely half the members deigned to vote on. Further, the union seems to on the one hand, bash ole Rando for horning in a few months ago, but now desperately wants her to kick out Mr. Parker. WTU has earned low respect with DCPS management, DC politicians, parents, and, most of all, its members. Solution -- seek a Federal injunction and have Mr. P. removed, physically, from the office and barred from using its facilities and funds. It can be done. But only if members don't act like, and pardon this, eunuchs. (Yes, I know the majority of members are women, but let's forget this detail.)

Anonymous said...

I know a few people who used to support Parker who shake their heads now. He still had supporters back in June. Now there are many fewer.

No More Drama! said...

Unfortunately, this confirms for many how incompetent the DC teachers are since we have been plagued with leadership problems for years.

It's been one drama after another and I don't understand why it has to be this way. I've intentionally been quiet on the George Parker issue because the infighting is going to bring us ALL down.

I'm sure Rhee is loving this foolishness; and all of the nonsense reinforces her teacher bashing of DCPS teachers.

I really don't know who I would vote for WTU president because I don't want any more drama!!!

Sheila H. Gill said...

George:

Take a deep breath..Inhale and Exhale. Count to 10 and ask Clay to assist you with your personal belongings.

Randi is very serious and this isn't a battle that you can win,

Take a vacation, relax and try not to worry about Rhee or Randi. The reality is that they don't need you anymore.

Enough is Enough!!
We can do better with a New WTU President, Superintendent and Mayor in 2010.

Anonymous said...

No More Drama, Keep your head in the sand. If you don't want to know whats happening with your union, quit reading this blog.What you should be upset about is Parker spending our union contributions to advance his own interests. The problem with our union are members like you who sit back and complain and do absolutely nothing to contribute to making our union a better one.

Anonymous said...

There is a good reason for Chicken George to fight. He wants to continue being the Union President so that he can continue to get paid by Michelle Rhee. This is a political move. The longer he prolongs his stay, Rhee will be allowed to continue with her plan. She knows that Parker will never try to interfere or stop her. However, there is someone who is more POWERFUL than Rhee. His name is JESUS. He always get the last say. No matter what it looks like, God is definitely in control.
We will all see the move of God soon. Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.

Anonymous said...

The administrator appointed by the AFT should protect the assets and vital records of the WTU and stop payments on any checks written by Parker for the purpose of suing the AFT. Parker should be held responsible for all cleared checks drawn from WTU monies. Additionally, Parker should turn in his WTU office keys and be banned from entering WTU headquarters. To allow Parker to continue with conducting the business of the WTU and use of its' monies to pay for his personal lawsuit against the AFT could result in the needless depletion of membership funds and further cripple the union in its' comeback under new leadership. Another letter writing campaign might be needed to flood the offices of the AFT leadership in an attempt to emphasize the need to take immediate action in removing George Parker.

lodesterre said...

Can we, as members of this union, sue George Parker for mismanagement and malfeasance or misuse of funds? There has to be some recourse for us. It simply gets worse every day.

Anonymous said...

Let's see how many union members will even take the time to vote. We have around 4,000 teachers and only 1800 voted yes or no for the contract. Don't complain, when you do nothing to stop the madness.
We all know Parker has no balls, only when it involves his situation. We should be marching against Parker and Rhee.

Anonymous said...

The membership should sue this SOB if he is spending union money for this dumbaxx lawsuit.

use reason said...

Washington Teacher,

If George is not re-elected, would he have to go back to teaching (like Nathan did last spring)?

If so, maybe that's why he's fighting so hard to stay where he is. Can you imagine leaving his nice pay to go back to the classroom? Then, he would have to work under IMPACT.

The Washington Teacher said...

Anonymous @ 739
You are right Parker could go back to the classroom as a teacher. However he does have the option to retire ( if eligible) or move on to bigger and better things in terms of another job.

Diane said...

No more drama, you say:

"It's been one drama after another and I don't understand why it has to be this way. I've intentionally been quiet on the George Parker issue because the infighting is going to bring us ALL down."

What do you mean? Being quiet does not help this situation. The problem is that, as polite, rule-folowing teachers, we have been far too quiet for far too long. Passivity is over-rated especially when your money is being used to sue your own national by people who should have been out of office two months ago. And, those who refuse to hold another election until they get good and ready.

Now, let's talk about in-fighting. Don't you see that this is all a smokescreen. If Parker was a confident man, he would have had this election over and done by now...moving on to bigger and better union work that needs to be done. But no, he spends his days witholding information, refusing to sign Saunders' leave of absence, working hard with DCPS in an attempt to stop the election from taking place and all the while telling me, that he is doing this in my best interest. Seems to me that Parker wants to fight with anyone who does not agree with him and who does not just go along to get along.

I agree with Anon @ 8:59 pm. Get your head out of the sand. No telling where we would be if people were not willing to take some kind of stand against this dictator.

Anonymous said...

Parker should be paying out of his own pockets for any legal action he wishes to take.

Wise One said...

I have this bad feeling that Chairman Gray does not have a plan for education. There is also evidence that bad advisers w low ethics are pushing him to say things like cast the aspersions addressed in today's Post editorial. I am very afraid that in the upcoming Sept. 1 debate he will be blown away on ed. issues, and intensive tutoring is said to be underway. He needs to get his story straight on teachers' role, IMPACT, whether he would rehire fired educators, and, most of all, whether he would keep Ms. Rhee. The smart people still think, though he does not want to answer the question now, that he will keep her. Otherwise, the Washington Teachers Union may run over him. His opponents' jackals will not let Mr. Gray get away with more evasion on the Ms. Rhee issue.

MB said...

We need to have a rally to question the support Parker has failed to provide to teachers. This will let GP know that we are not voting for him.

Mike said...

Lodesterre, You can sue anyone. Would you want to spend this kind of money on Parker? Since the AFT is handling the election, I say vote Parker out of office.

Sarah said...

What is George Parker's actual, official standing in the WTU right now? Is he "acting" president? "interim" president? or is there an official name for the position he is in right now, given that his elected term has ended and there has been no election yet to, possibly, re-elect him? If the AFT is going to step in to ensure the constitution and by-laws are followed, are they in charge in place of Parker?

The Washington Teacher said...

Sarah: AFT is referring to Parker as the hold over president. They plan to oversee the upcoming union elections under a limited administratorship. An administrator has been appointed. AFT will also hold a hearing on Parkers and the executive board's refusal to follow their August 4 order. I believe the hearing will be held within the next 2 weeks. We will have to await to see the outcome of this hearing.

Anonymous said...

AFT-WTU hearing is tomorrow in Federal Court at 9 am and open to the public. Parker will have to justify his actions.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly
333 Constitution Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20001-2837.

Anonymous said...

Wise One,


Michelle Rhee already said she would resign if Gray was elected. I seriously doubt she would take those words back.

Anonymous said...

I am at a middle school and each of my classes exceed 25. Who do I complain to and how is this handled? I have one class of about 36-39 students, and two other classes of 33.

DC Teacher said...

Anonymous @ 6:44
You should begin with bringing the complaint first to the WTU Building Rep. at your school to address this violation.

Jawaralal said...

Anon at 644pm -- I don't get it. If we have 4000 teachers, how could classes be 36?

There must be a lot of sick leave or other kinds of no-show going on.

Doing the math, we really do have way too many teachers, or, looked at another way, we have wayy too few students.

We should really have classes in the teens, on average given all the teachers. Where are they/we, eh?

The Washington Teacher said...

Jawaralal:
Of that 4000 number of teachers you cite, all are not teachers. Some may be school personnel like school counselors, speech pathologists, school psychologists, school social workers, instructional coaches. Then there are special subject teachers, and other resource teachers, etc. Also we have to keep in mind some schools are not always using all of their teachers in a direct teaching capacity.

Jawaralal said...

Candi,
Thanks, as usual, for your expertise.

Since you clearly have command of the numbers, what is your best estimate of the number of teachers working in classrooms? And, roughly how many "classrooms" are there?

I know I should be asking a DCPS official, but you have better sources on most things. And I know the central office is traditionally stumped about how many students there really are.

In any case, your informed estimates would be interesting. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The union should be using our money to counter the anti-union commercials running on TV. DC is a troubleshooting exercise for the new era in education which is using an anti-union smokescreen to further destroy education and continue dumbing down citizens of America. Just look at newspapers from the 30s, 40s, or even 50s and compare them to today. The vocabulary is drastically lower. Not to promote this facility, but just take a trip to the Newseum (DC students and chaperones free) and you'll see what I mean.

Anonymous said...

I was judged minimally effective. Has anyone received any information about the additional supports and PDs? I only received the IMPACT score report. Are teachers who ran into problems because of administrator deductions (not TLF) not going to receive help? How does this work? I

Anonymous said...

Anonymous@6:44 PM and Jawaralal - class scheduling is a constraint satisfaction problem and people doing the scheduling are trying to juggle many different constraints - beyond the X numbers of students, Y numbers of teachers and Z numbers of classrooms. This can result in imbalances. Typically these are leveled out within the first few weeks of school. Actually class scheduling is a very computationally intensive problem (and "perfect" scheduling is an unsolved and probably unsolvable problem found in the NP class of problems [as the numbers of parameters to the problem increases, the potential search space blows up and increases in faster then polynomial time]) and schools are not equipped to solve the problem really. They are solved with some basic software (maybe) and at lot of judgement calls.

Anonymous said...

Actually concerned teachers (who know they are on their own in reality) should conduct their own class/student/teacher/resource census. Teachers are vilified and need to contribute directly to and if necessary directly challenge the narrative being spun by multiple sides.

use reason said...

I also received a rating of "minimally effective," and I'm not going to wait for PD opportunities. I feel very free to demand (respectfully) whatever I feel I need to do my job better because my IMPACT score depends on it. I mean, last year I asked for all kinds of things (listening center, classroom computer for students, permission to take students on field trips for exposure) to which I was told "no." But this year, I am documenting everything to counter any negative evaluations I get this year (if any).

So, anonymous, don't wait for PD. When you do find out about training opportunities, see if you can get time off work to attend. My principal encouraged those of us who got minimally effective to attend PD during the day time when they are offered.

use reason said...

The Educator's Portal and dcps.schoolnet.com list ongoing PD trainings. I just found that out today. Look in your DCPS email account for your Educator's Portal and for your schoolnet password.

Kirt Undercoffer said...

Anyone deemed minimally effective - please see a lawyer. I was targeted by my principal (IMO of course) in the 2008-2009 year and did not take legal action as I should have. You are on your own for the most part. I personally found the union to be minimally effective or even complacent in teacher firings. The attacks from the school administration and downtown were apparent from Spring 2007 forward and were in fact raised by experienced teachers at my former school (McKinley). For the most part teachers are totally on their own in the classroom and certainly with respect to their careers although many colleagues are very supportive and are very solid resources.