Aug 17, 2010

WTU Prez George Parker Loses Control Of Union Operations

AFT, Parent Organization Enacts Limited Administratorship of WTU
On August 5, I reported on this blog that the American Federation of Teachers executive council issued an order requiring at long last that Washington Teachers Union members would have a union election of officers. The order stated that AFT would retain jurisdiction to ensure compliance . In addition to proceeding with local union elections, the order also required that the Washington Teachers' Union restore Nathan Saunders, WTU General VP's salary forthwith and grant approval of his leave of absence from DCPS through the election. Well it shouldn't come as any surprise that George Parker ( whose term as teachers' union president ended June 30, 2010) refused to comply with the terms of AFT's order. As reported by the DC Schools Insider blog on August 16, AFT Prez Randi Weingarten issued an ultimatum to Parker to 'comply or else'. Parker was given until noon on August 17 to comply with the AFT August 4 order. Parker's refusal to comply with Weingarten's directive by the deadline date has lead to President Weingarten placing the WTU at 11:30 am on August 17 under limited administratorship. In an August 17 letter to George Parker, Weingarten states: "This action (administratorship) is part of our ongoing efforts to ensure that the WTU elections are carried out in a manner consistent with the WTU Constitution and the AFT executive council Decision and Order dated August 4, 2010." Weingarten revealed in her correspondence to Parker that she has sent an electronic copy of a letter to union members notifying them of this action. In addition, she made Parker aware that he will be contacted shortly for a date and time for the administratorship hearing to be scheduled. Al Squire, AFT Director of the Southern region will serve as the administrator.

Weingarten stated in an August 17 letter to union members : "I have received written notice that the leadership and executive board of the WTU have refused to comply with the order issued by the AFT executive council. This noncompliance constitutes a denial of the democratic right of WTU members to participate in a timely, fair and transparent election process. None of us has the right to overrule or subjugate the democratic rights of any members of your union or any other union. For this reason the AFT executive council has voted to place the WTU in a administratorship for the purpose of conducting the internal election."

Read Bill Turque's article on the actions that led to this takeover (below).

Weingarten to WTU: Comply or else by Bill Turque
"AFT president Randi Weingarten says Washington Teachers' Union President George Parker has until noon Tuesday to comply with an Aug. 4 order to hold a mid-September election for new officers and delegates, or the contest will be taken out of his hands and conducted by the national parent organization.
In a letter to Parker on Monday, Weingarten said that unless AFT gets "an unequivocal sworn undertaking" from WTU complying with the order, an administrator "will be appointed effective forthwith and without further notice to restore the rights of members ... to secure and safeguard the 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."

Elections were scheduled for May but held up because of a dispute over the legitimacy of an internal committee that handles some aspects of the contest. Parker and the union's executive committee reset the election for late November, contending that they wouldn't have accurate membership lists until later in the new school year. Also swirling in the mix is the long time feud between Parker and general vice president Nathan Saunders, once allies, but now opponents in the presidential race. The executive board voted to eliminate Saunders's $131,000 annual salary and withheld renewal of his leave of absence from classroom duties because of what it characterized as his refusal to account for the time he has spent on union business.

But after a July 21st hearing at AFT headquarters, Weingarten ordered a mid-September election with ballots to be counted Oct. 4, and said anyone who was an active member June 30 was eligible to vote. She also ordered Saunders placed back on the union payroll, calling the timing of the decision to zero out his salary "unfortunate."

In an Aug. 13 letter asking Weingarten to reconsider, Parker said Saunders is strictly a WTU matter. He also said the election orders are illegal and step on the prerogatives of the WTU executive committee. He contended that the June 30 eligibility cut-off would effectively disenfranchise hundreds of new teachers now in the process of signing up for union membership. (What he didn't say is that it might also allow teachers fired or excessed after that date -- union members who may might not look so favorably on reelecting Parker -- access to a ballot).

"We are greatly concerned about the damage caused by AFT's actions here," wrote Parker, who declined to comment on Weingarten's ultimatum early Monday evening because he had not spoken with his lawyers. "


Peter said...

It is now confirmed......George Parker has lost his mind!

Please, someone...ayone....take him out of his misery and us out of ours---peacefully, of course.
I deplore violence

Anonymous said...

Just got the robo call at 810 tonight from WTU regarding the elections. So glad that George is going to fight this to 'protect' our rights. Mentioned several reasons why and who he would fight for. Included were teachers who retired, left, became administrators. No where did he mention those who were layed-off, rif'ed or terminated. I guess he doesn't plan on fighting for those teachers. Sadly, he screwed up and couldn't submit a petition for himself. WTU has become a joke. Can't wait for the complaints from people about the dues going up. Like my wife said. "For what?"

DC teacher said...

Parker is a nut case. Why didn't he use this 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. After this gig is up,no one will want him.

Lindsey said...

Well now, let's take roll.....

First it was the battle between him (GP) and Saunders

Then it was the battle between him (GP) and the elections committee

Now it is the war between him (GP) and AFT

Does this sound like a pattern to anyone else?

It seems as if anyone who goes toe to toe with Parker ends up in a tug of war with him; he then digs his heels in the dirt, closes his eyes, and throws a fit (all in the name of protecting the membership).
Well, I don't need this kind of foolish protection. I needed GP to protect my contractual rights. Unfortunately, he didn't seem to be able to muster up enough nerve to do that.

Please, hurry....end this madness now before there is no more WTU--which is probably their (parker and rhee) plan anyway.

Anonymous said...

George Parker's consistent denial of the facts in relinquishing his authority as WTU President is quite troubling to me. His actions have increasingly become 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.

Sheila H. Gill said...


You had an opportunity to be in total control of your destiny. However, as the WTU President/Chief Negotiator who was the only person to ratify the new contract, you allowed Rhee to implement her agenda of busting the WTU.

Randi has spoken and it's ok to adhere to the AFT Hearing Order.

Don't worry because your legacy will go down in the WTU history of selling out the UNION!! You will be forever remembered.

By the way, please endorse Vincent Gray for Mayor of 2010 before Randi physically remove you from your office.

Good Luck in your future endeavors!!

use reason said...

I am unconcerned about Parker's mental health (the social worker in me). I hope that he will come to terms with reality and peacefully acquiesce and resign.

Before the hateful comments come, I acknowledge that Parker has given lots of people plenty to be angry and depressed about. He is reaping what he has sown. It's hard to be concerned about him when people are suffering so much due to his actions.

But on behalf of those of us who can still find some compassion for ALL people, I hope something can get him to come around and leave without fighting to the death (I mean that literally, because from the sound of his robocall, he is seriously desperate and irrational).

Louise said...

What's up with the robo calls? Why now, all of a sudden, is George trying to "protect the membership."

Was he trying to protect us when he refused to protest the IMPACT evaluation that the members sought to do as a collective force?

Was he trying to protect us when he sent out colorful postcards everyday of the week to harrass us to vote for that "sell-out' contract--but before that time, we could not get a letter written on paper from the WTU for months at a time?

Or maybe he was trying to protect us when he refused to let the election move forward earlier - before school was out?

I think George is trying to protect himself--not me, so George, stop hiding behind me with those robo calls, lawsuits, duplicate mailings (first WTU mailing, then an AFT mailing, then another WTU mailing to counteract what AFT just said). You are spending my dues money on this nonsense, when I wish you would have spent it on a contract negotiator or an independent analysis of the IMPACT.

Get over yourself and MOVE ON!

Camille said...

BTW,did we ever get the results of the DC Mayoral/Chairman race survey conducted by the WTU (interesting that it was not conducted by the WTU Committee on Political Education aka WTU-COPE). It was so rushed (as everything is done at the WTU). Seems like we should have known the results by now some 3 weeks after the close of the survey. (Maybe Parker did not like the fact that results supported Gray and not Fenty/Rhee)

But, now that I think about it, the "IMPACT" survey results came out almost five months after the survey wonder::::

NYC Educator said...

How dare they (AFT) enforce the rules! We call that chutzpah in NYC.

Anonymous said...

George has lost it.. I pray that he steps aside before he does further damage.

Classic said...

It's funny to me how fast Geroge could run to court when it was about him. I didn't see him move tha fast for the RIF'd teachers, excessed, or fired teachers. I can not wait until we have new leadership someone that will protect the rights of teachers ALL the time not when it is in his best interest.

Morton with memory said...

How would you characterize the relaionship between Vince Gray and Geo. Parker? To what extent has Gray ever criticized Parker? I seem to remember them congratulating each other, with others, concerning the successful negotiation of the contract? Make sense?

Rodger said...

Parker is a prickly character. He has gotten us all in a very prickly situation with this nonsense e.g. contract, retirees, and impact. If he went to the AFT union court and lost why is he handing over our union business and dues to the civil court. I do not think Parker is capable of thinking of anybody but himself including the new teachers. He needs their fresh new minds to violate with lies the veterans will never believe. How pathetic and sad this man has become.

PE Penny said...

Concern how can Saunders run a campaign if he has no income?

We need to do whatever is necessary to help him in every school.

Five To Go said...

Sold us out for chicken change.
Rhee and Parker had it all arranged. Had us down, and that's a fact. Get ready you mothers' (Rhee/Fenty/Parker) for the big Pay Back!

Vulg Arian said...

Is it likely that Mr. Saunders, if he wins, will basically ignore the many new teachers recruited in the last couple of years? Can he get away with that? They just might vote for Parker, eh?

Anonymous said...

Vulg Arian your comments really don't make sense.

Sheila H. Gill said...

Hi Vulg Arian:

How well do you know Nathan Saunders? Please contact Nathan and speak with him personally and invite him to your school, as well as, to dicuss any of your concerns.

We, as educators, are in this together. Please don't have Rhee's attitude that effective teachers are only younger individuals and the older teachers are ineffective. Rhee's kool aid is to divide and conquer!!

Again, we are all "Educators" who have been hired to do a job!! Unfortunately, numerous individuals have been hired who are not certified or qualified for any Education position in DCPS. Case in point..Michelle Rhee!!

Please contact Nathan and have a conversation. I did 6 years ago. Nathan is very professional, very attentive and supports all TEACHERS' rights!!

No More Excuses and Let's work together!!
Enough is Enough!

Five To Go said...

@Sheila Gill, You are a true teacher. You are so supportive of the fired teachers and the newly hired teachers. Telling the confused blogger, Vul Arian to contact Mr. Saunders was a great piece of advice. Some people still think that Rhee/Fenty can be trusted, poor fools. I really feel so sorry for them, they still are drinking that Rhee-Kool-Aid.

I_educ8 said...

@Five to Go: LOL ("The Big Payback!" How appropos!)

Vuarian said...

Unfortunately, in the present environment one can see how certain WTU members, some special-interest groups, as well as the current DCPS administration are pitting different groups of teachers against each other. This zero-sum struggle is sometimes clearly evident in this blog and other comment boards. In other words, many actors in the environment, not just M. Rhee, bring out the worst in people. It is as plain as day, part of always playing the victim. Talking w Saunders is a good idea. In the meantime, Saunders needs to be obviously inclusive in everything he says, and later does. If he is not, it will be painfully obvious--and he may not even pull the votes he needs if he turns out to be splitter or, more cleverly, garnering the support of subgroups of teachers who constantly dis colleagues.

Lindsey said...

Vuarian (August 22, 2010 5:19 PM)or Vulg Arian(August 21, 2010 1:45 AM, which name is it today?

Anyway, please don't get caught up in the smallscape of all of this. Like Sheila (at August 21, 2010 7:06 PM) said--we are all in this together. Whether young or old, Black, White, Asian, Hispanic....believe me when you are minimally effective and facing termination in one year--color nor creed matters.

So, if you are truly concerned about Saunders' passion for all teachers, email him through the WTU---I'm pretty sure he will respond. If, however, you are just spouting off at the mouth, please don't waste our valuable time on this blog.

Food for Thought:
A union is just like an auto insurance policy: no one needs it while things are going well but try living without it if your car is involved in an accident.

Anonymous said...

This is a note from a former DCPS teacher, happily teaching in MCPS after going through real hellish times at CHEH.
There is a rumor that MCPS will use the same IMPACT evaluation format as DCPS in a year or so. What percentage of the total score is based on the DC CAS results? Also where can we find the 2010 results for each school?

Anonymous said...

Former CHEC teacher, I'm glad for you that you got out of that meat grinder or hell hole and are somewhere else. To check DC CAS scores, I go onto the DCPS website and go to school directory, pull up the school I'm interested in and click on the link to osse's website. Just spend some time on it and you'll find the school you're interested in and their CAS scores.
As for IMPACT, which so unfortunately looks like the wave of the future in terms of teacher evaluation systems, only testing grade teachers have 55% of their evals based on student test scores. People, please correct me, as I may be giving last SY's percentages. Most teachers not in the testing grades have 75% of their IMPACT eval this year based on 5 classroom observations, 4 of them unannounced.

Anonymous said...

Go Gray and see ya Rhee ! Good Luck Mr. Parker and he looks like he's out too ! Think positive changes ! Don't forget that $4 billion dollar race to the top.