Jul 3, 2010

Knock Knock- Who's In Charge Of The Washington Teachers Union?

The WTU Constitution Says It Isn't George Parker

A lawsuit has been filed due to election tampering by George Parker, Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) President. According to the WTU Constitution, Parker's elected term ended June 30, 2010 and the new slate should have been installed July 1. Parker's cronie, John Tatum reported to the Washington Examiner earlier last month that the WTU would not hold union elections until November. Now they are saying union elections will be held in September. It's hard to believe anything these two say. Read about the lawsuit (below) that has been filed to address Parker's elections meddling as well as his retaliatory actions to reduce Nathan Saunders, WTU General VP's salary to a big fat zero while he (Parker) continues to earn a hefty sum of $150,000 and perks. Go figure. Here's the latest as reported by the Washington City Paper news desk.

Lawsuit Filed As WTU Election Fiasco Gets Personal by Alex Burchfield

"Who, exactly, is in charge of Washington Teachers’ Union? Current president George Parker’s term ended Thursday—at least as far as the union’s constitution is concerned. On July 1, new officers were supposed to take office. But the elections that would have determined who started a new three-year term then were never held—and now WTU’s leadership is locked in a court fight over what happens next. Vice president Nathan Saunders and the chairwoman of WTU’s election committee, Claudette Carson, have sued Parker for thwarting the election process and illegally cutting off Saunders’ salary.

Oh, and as it happens, Saunders is also Parker’s chief opponent to take over the union.The dispute over when, and how, to hold this year’s elections goes back four months. Unlike the usual hubbub of union politicking, this election bears heavily on the implementation of the newly adopted teachers contract—which will raise salaries an average $20,000 and create a merit pay system. The constitution stipulates elections for senior officials are supposed to be conducted every three years on May 30. The union’s election committee, elected in the spring of each year and composed of 15 nominated union members, runs the whole thing. Usually, candidates for officer positions must submit a nominating petition with 20 signatures to the election committee by April 30.

But Parker failed to turn in his nominating petition by the deadline, claiming the election committee originally in place wasn’t legally constituted because it did not meet its 15-member quota; thus, he didn’t have to submit a petition (see City Paper’s previous article). Parker argued that the other 86 candidates who submitted their petitions on the deadline were “trying to run a scam on [the] election” by using invalid petitions.

“This is a throwback to the unions in the 30s and 40s,” Saunders told City Desk. “Parker is saying, ‘I didn’t bring my basketball to the court, so I’m taking everybody else’s basketball.’”But Parker says otherwise: “What we have is Nathan Saunders playing an old-school election with invalid petitions.”

After the American Federation of Teachers—WTU’s parent organization—was called in to oversee the election of the 15 members of the election committee, it seemed Parker had nothing more to gripe about. The AFT decided to designate all future election decisions to the newly elected and legally constituted election committee, and would play no further role in the process. Parker, though, didn’t like the new election committee. So he kept withholding his nominating petition and refused to hand over the documents necessary to hold an election.

The complaint filed by Saunders and Carson (as you might expect) paints Parker as willfully obstructionist. During a meeting with Saunders, vice presidential candidate and blogger Candi Peterson, and AFT president Randi Weingarten, the complaint says, Parker told Weingarten, “I didn’t file my petition.” Weingarten responded, “George, you didn’t file your petition? I am stunned! I thought I had three candidates here representing three different slates, and I only have two.”

“Parker has run 100 times, so he certainly knew what to do,” Peterson told City Desk. “But for whatever reason he didn’t release the documents.”

Among his opponents, frustration with Parker’s conduct grew. When Carson, chairwoman of the Election Committee, requested that Parker deliver nominating petitions, union dues reports and the union’s only membership list in order to begin elections, Parker refused again. According to the complaint, Parker ignored Carson’s requests four times. Because the new election committee is composed of Saunders supporters, Parker’s solution was to transfer duties normally left with the election committee to the Parker-friendly executive board. With the unanimous support of the executive board, Parker decided all further elections would be postponed until fall, and that it was now the executive board’s duty to set election deadlines and provide the necessary documents.

To Saunders, that’s not fair. “The executive board never plays a role in the elections because they are candidates,” he says. “The election committee and executive board are not to be intertwined.”

Parker’s team is now making it personal, taking aim at Saunders, his main opponent. The board recently voted to revoke Saunders’s salary and refuse him a leave of absence. Since Saunders isn’t a teacher in DCPS, his salary is tied to the WTU payroll. The goal, Saunders and his allies think, is to force him to drop out of the running.

But beyond the personal disputes between Saunders and Parker, the indefinite suspension of the voting process has left many of the 4,000 teachers represented by the WTU feeling disenfranchised.

In an email sent to Parker by WTU member and Roosevelt High School teacher Thomas O’Rourke, the anger reaches a boiling point: “Your cynical manipulation and trampling of union democracy and worker tradition is both sad and disgusting and is directly responsible for the continuing decline of this union,” writes O’Rourke. “Know that, given the great amount of power under this Constitution you have, you will likely ignore this email and go on about your way, but know this: I, and others will make it our business to let the entire membership know of your nefarious conduct, your lack of accountability or even shame, and your cynical lies.”

It remains to be seen how the lawsuit transpires, but no one is too pleased about it.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to take these steps to go to court,” said Peterson.

As far as Parker is concerned, though, he’s still running the show. At a D.C. Council hearing two weeks ago, he told Councilman Harry Thomas Jr. that his term didn’t end until his successor took office.“The term of office for all officers is three years,” Parker said. “Ok, so what?” said Thomas. “Or until there – wait a minute.” “Or until?” “Or until their successors are elected,” concluded Parker. When that will be is now up to the court."

Article courtesy Washington City Paper


EFavorite said...

Next thing you know, Parker will be threatening to leave if Fenty is not re-elected.

Anonymous said...

Parker's days are numbered or should I say Mr. Petty Eddy. These types of actions will not win Parker votes or influence union members. He won't get my vote now or in September.

Anonymous said...

Off topic Candi, - Have you heard whether teachers have been separated due to certification/and or IMPACT issues?

NYCEducator said...

Holy crap. Not only obnoxious and vindictive, but stupid as well.


Anonymous said...


Let your people go!!!!

You have ruined the WTU and it will never be the same. What's wrong, you cannot get another job.

Also, Candi, can you publish the names of the Executive Committee members?

Anonymous said...

I just can not believe that sleazy George Parker makes $150,000 a year in salary. OMG
This loser needs to leave Oz, along with the Wicked Witch Rhee and the Scarecrow Fenty.

Anonymous said...

RIDICULOUS!! Utterly gutteral. CRAZY and deranged. Parker is a big fat zero. He doesn't deserve to be union president.

The Washington Teacher said...

Anonymous @ 6:06-I have heard that some teachers have been terminated but don't know the details.

Sheila H. Gill said...

Shame on you GP!

Your mission has been accomplished to assist Rhee's agenda. Clearly, you need to follow the WTU Constitution/By-Laws and stop the hate!!! It isn't worth the lawsuit!! It's okay to do the right thing and cut the foolishness out!!

This is such a shame and a waste of everyone's time!!!

Why George?

Anonymous said...

HAHA @ Anony 10:37...if he only had a brain!

DeborahB said...

I am surprised Saunders has not given Parker a beatdown. Parker deserves it. This is the second time Parker has pulled the stunt about not signing Saunders' leave of absence. Remember when the Washington Post wrote about Rhee saving the day. What a stupid little petty union we have. I am totally embarassed by Parker's petty actions. Who are the executive boardmembers and aren't they the same people who profit if Saunders is not on the ballot or out of a teaching job. Michelle Rhee is calling the WTU a group of the biggest suckers east of the Mississippi River. Parker is a cheater who runs a strongarm mob not a labor union.

I can not wait to vote!

I am organizing the "Teacher haters of Parker Organization." Better known as "THe PO" pronounced as "the Po"- better yet, "the PO PO's". Because we dislike him alot and my students would love the title (I think summer break has fully set in.)

I recently got excessed. Say what you want Saunders has been dead on the money about job security, this new teacher contract, and mutual consent. He was warning us 2 years ago with his crystal ball now a lot of people are fired, execessed, and former DCPS teachers. Parker's actions are unjustifiable in cutting his salary to $0.

Isn't that against the law. How can a LABOR UNION work a person for no money? Slavery has been abolish unless Parker and Rhee have a plan to bring that back also in Pay for Performance.

Anonymous said...

Not to change the subject, but IMPACT is on my mind, thanks to the Preliminary Reports that were in our dcps emails. Thank God I am not a group 1 (testing grade) teacher, which comprises 20% of DC teachers. Their IMPACT scores are 50% student achievement, for those of you who haven been following this. That means they better have some kind of excellent, 3.5 or higher classroom observations. What will happen if their kids don't rock the DCCAS? This looks like a deadly combination, mediocre TLF observation scores and low DCCAS.

The Washington Teacher said...

In response to your question, Parker did not have a quorum of 12 board members on June 9 or June 15 so he illegally conducted business anyway. With 2 weeks left in his term he illegally added 4 new board members so that he could take action against Saunders. The illegal board members are Moncia Martinez (AKA Monica Jones) who works at Jefferson, William Rope (who works at Hearst), Jackie Hines ( who works at Trusdale) and up until June 8 was a board of trustee member who resigned at midnight and Carynne Conover (unsure of school).

There other board members who illegally conducted buisness without a quorum are as follows:
Maria Angala - Jefferson
Erich Martel- WIlson
Milton Bruce Williams
Sallie Littlejohn Dorsey - Woodson
Camille Locke
Andre Taylor - Houston
Deborrah Hines - Bears
Joyce Armoo- Seaton
Lorraine Smith
George Parker

Anonymous said...

I hope Parker does threaten to leave. He is a POS.

Anonymous said...

It is like alien nation here in DC, first the mayor turned on his people when he allowed Rhee, Hartstock, Neil Albert (Mr. City Admin), Toddman the (interim) director of the department of housing crook (who paid Fenty's frat brothers 1 million $ on Christmas Eve), Valerie Santons (who said Councilmember Marion Barry was harrassing her when she testilied at the Wilson bldg. (mayor of economic development and her crew who failed to show up twice to testify before the City Council on their illegal contracts with Fenty Frat Brothers...

It's like when one person (Fenty) does something corrupt another person (Rhee) latches on and starts the cycle of doing evil to the next group of hard working citizens.

Present Day: George Parker is one of them. I think he meet with corrupt Rhee and company and they offered him THE koolaid (the ingredients in the koolaid lie, steal and cheat. GP simply drank the koolaid. So A warning to all non-aliens DO NOT DRINK THE KOOLAID. MEANING do not forget the golden rule: do unto others as you will have them do unto you.

Anonymous said...

@July 12:11Am Ouch! I love your talking points!

Anonymous said...

As I am trying to close my mouth from utter disbelief, my Granny's words are ringing in my head, "Child, when you dig a ditch for someone.................Dig two. You're going in one of them." Parker is headed down a slippery slope.

Anonymous said...

This is preposterous! There is nothing in the WTU Constitution and By-Laws that allows an officer to stay in his/her position "until successors are named." Parker has strong-armed himself another three months of salary and it is unconstitutional.

Where is Randi now? She poked her nose in the contract negotiation and now she's nowhere to be found. When the election did not occur when it was supposed to, an interim adminstratorship by the parent organization should have been instituted. And the gall of Parker to try to disenfranchise Saunders is unconscionable.

He needs to reimburse the Union all of his ill-gotten salary beyond his June 30 termination date. If not, I will be asking for a reimbursement of my dues for this time period.

We need a strong movement among members to get this travesty undone.

Where are you, members?!

Anonymous said...

I just read this morning's home delivery edition of the Post and saw the lead editorial entitled Michelle Rhee's role in the DC Mayorial Race in the inline version. Awaiting your take...

The Washington Teacher said...

Anonymous July 6, 12: 41
I have no respect for most things the editorial board writes in the Washington Post.

I say we have bigger fish to fry than anything they can write about.

Anonymous said...

Candi, you are right, we have bigger fish to fry. I am tired of even discussing the chancellor. We need to meet as a collective body of teachers. We need to turn this mayoral election in our favor (teachers).

Anonymous said...

Just read the WAPO this morning, and a puff piece on Sousa Middle School, don't know anything about Sousa so don't know if it's true or not but it has a familiar ring to it: Rhee picked beloved new principal as savior, teachers all fired and new mainly young teachers installed, data-driven instruction, and of course amazing scores and success. It is going to be like this until election time. From reading the message boards the general public ate it up, I guess Rhee's expensive PR is working.

The Washington Teacher said...

reply to anonymous @ 349
Apparently the post reporter interviewed teachers who told a slightly different story than what's reported and the Post editorial board as usual edited it out. I did a piece on Sousa last year and it wasn't pretty. As I always state the Post COVERS UP THE NEWS. I hope you read other papers and blogs and listen to radio to get the real news.

Cancel your subscription to the POST today!

Cynthia said...

Candi and all

Did you read bill turque's interview with Randi about this WTU election mess (turque's word--not mine). If anyone is at the AFT Convention, let us know what is going on??!! I hear locals around the country are talking about WTU........again!

Anonymous said...

I want Fenty out of office, so I donate to Vince Gray's campaign. If you can please go to vincegrayformayor.com and give whatever amount you can.

Change cost money.

As far Parker.....The Justice Department!!

Anonymous said...

Glad to see many others have commented on the Post message boards now giving an alternative view to that of the WAPO about Sousa. I don't buy it but read it online, but it just worries me that a lot of DC residents believe all the Rhee hype. Was out with young and old DC professionals over the weekend, and even a lot of the non-Fenty supporters thought that Rhee was doing a good job. Of course I pointed them in the direction of your blog and others so that they could get another perspective, and make up their own mind on the issues after being educated on all the facts. Keep on blogging.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else heard the rumor that principal have been told not to hire excessed teachers? (I heard it at the job fair). It's very odd. I was highly recruited by principals last year (with 4 years experience outside DC). I was excessed due to enrollment...have a effective (prelim) rating and have applied to every school with a Special Education opening. I have not heard back from one school. Is any other excessed teacher having this odd problem???

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 10pm.. I would not be surprised. An excessed teacher at my school was pretty much told the same thing by my principal.. basically budget cuts across the ENTIRE system will limit new hires internal and external.

Anonymous said...

I heard the principal and AP at Truesdell resigned and were not forced out.

efavorite said...

to anon at 10PM - I haven't heard the rumor, but I predicted this type of thing would happen with the new contract. Principals CAN hire people like you (excessed/effective) but don't have to. They can hire completely inexperienced teachers with no rating at all, or teachers from another system who were not evaluated with IMPACT.

Anonymous said...

I've heard similar comments from a few others. Not to fan the flames of paranoia, but it will only get worse with "mutual consent".

Anonymous said...

In case you thought your weekend couldn't get any worse, check this out regarding DC teachers right to grieve dismissal for poor performance.


Anonymous said...

My school has been interviewing teachers for the vacancies we have. Most all candidates applying have been excessed teachers. Just to let you know, my principal has been requesting candidates' IMPACT Preliminary Report, with the score finalized save the points that will come from DC CAS data.