Initially, Parker's rationale for not holding elections as per the WTU Constitutional timeline of May 2010 was due to the WTU Elections Committee not being properly seated. Next, AFT Prez Randi Weingarten intervened in overseeing elections for the election committee in May. Parker then refused to turn over the required documents to the WTU Chairperson of the elections committee, Claudette Carson and its fourteen members despite repeated written requests. Parker's refusal further stalled the elections. Parker offered another set of excuses as to why elections would have to be postponed so that he could ensure the WTU membership list was updated due to transitions of teachers as a result of new-hires, retirements, resignations and teacher terminations by the Rhee administration. Parker and members of the WTU Executive Board- settled on a November election schedule much to the chagrin of AFT President Randi Weingarten and union members. (It should be noted that the role of the WTU Elections Comm. is to oversee union elections not the executive board).
In the meantime, months passed by and a July 10 hearing was held at the AFT headquarters with Parker testifying on his own behalf. When Parker didn't like the outcome, he filed a lawsuit using members monies. Subsequently, Weingarten instituted a 'limited administratorship' over the WTU in order to proceed with elections after gaining the approval of her top two executives with a follow up hearing scheduled at a later date.
Earlier this week an emergency lawsuit was filed by the American Federation of Teacher's in U.S. District court against the WTU hold over president- George Parker. AFT filed the lawsuit because they argued that the delay of holding elections compromised union democracy. According to Bill Turque who writes the DC Schools Insider blog : (Judge) "Kottar-Kelley said the AFT did not have reasonable grounds to believe that the emergency action was necessary and did not follow federal labor law by holding a proper hearing. But she added that if AFT follows the rules ( a hearing is scheduled September 10) they stand a better chance of succeeding because the law weighs in favor of the parent union organizations in such matters." One thing Judge Kottar-Kelley did provide to the AFT was a road map on what they need to do to proceed with taking over the WTU. This was evidenced in her (Kottar-Kelley's) written opinion in which she stated: "The court does note that once an administratorship is established pursuant to proper procedures, the presumption of validity under federal law insulates it from attack except upon clear and convincing evidence that it was not established or maintained in good faith."
While I do not have a crystal ball, I do believe that AFT President Randi Weingarten's September 1 press release gives us some insight into what possibly lies ahead. Weingarten stated: "In its ruling today, the court confirmed the AFT has the authority under its Constitution to conduct the WTU's 2010 elections for officers" and also found the WTU concedes that it failed to conduct its 2010 officers elections in a timely manner. We are pleased by this outcome, particularly with the court's findings that the purpose of the AFT's administratorship-namely to vindicate the democratic rights of WTU members to a timely election of local officers- was appropriate. We respectfully disagree, however, with the court's decision that this situation does not require immediate action. An election that should have been held months ago is now further delayed. Nonetheless, the court laid out a blueprint for moving ahead- and we look forward to all parties vigorously and fairly participating in the administrative hearing already scheduled for September 10."