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Sep 25, 2010
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Sep 23, 2010
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Sep 19, 2010
Well now it's been a little over one week since the American Federation of Teachers Executive Council held a hearing on the administratorship of the Washington Teachers' Union under the leadership of 'Hold Over' union president George Parker whose constitutional term ended June 30, 2010. George Parker refused to hold union elections this year as required by the WTU Constitution and failed to cooperate with the Elections Committee and now AFT President Randi Weingarten. As a result of Parker's refusal to hold elections, the AFT on September 17 issued a decision and order that they will take over the WTU. AFT has installed Al Squire, Southern Regional Director as the Administrator.
Never in the History of the WTU, has an administratorship been required for the purposes of conducting an election. The last time the AFT (WTU's parent organization) was forced to assume control of the WTU was in 2003 after former union president, Barbara Bullock stole five million dollars from WTU. Now that AFT has assumed control for a second time, expect that timely elections of union officers will soon be held. The September 17 decision and order from the AFT Executive Council reads as follows:
Sep 16, 2010
Sep 14, 2010
Election Night Watch Party for Teachers, School Personnel and Friends!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
(D.C. Primary Day)
4:30 p.m. – until we go home!
Music ● Food ● Festivities ● Fun
San Antonio Bar & Grill
(formerly known as Ellis Island)
3908-12th Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017
(near the Brookland/Catholic U. metro and Brookland School)
Hosted By Nathan A. Saunders & Candi Peterson
This is an independent event
All candidates and their supporters are invited!
Sep 12, 2010
Sep 10, 2010
Sep 4, 2010
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."