Jul 22, 2013

WTU Prez Nathan Saunders Wears Out His Welcome & Refuses to Gracefully Accept Exile

August 1 deadline approaching
By Candi Peterson

Teachers have been asking why deposed Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) President Saunders (whose constitutional term ended June 30, 2013) still remains a hold over in the union office despite the WTU Constitution and by laws time frame for newly elected officers to assume office on July 1. Elizabeth (Liz) Davis who ran for WTU President and Candi Peterson who ran to reclaim her seat as WTU General Vice President are the newly elected officers and are still awaiting the keys to the castle. Davis and Peterson and their board will not be installed by American Federation of Teachers (AFT) until August 1 in a private ceremony at the parent organizations' headquarters. 

Typically, if WTU elections had been conducted as laid out in the WTU Constitution and By Laws, officers would have been installed in May and would assume office July 1, 2013. The Saunders friendly WTU Elections Committee modified the election timeline at the end of the WTU run-off period and granted Saunders an additional four (4) week transition period, which extended his time in office until August 1. Davis slate members speculate that this was a last ditch effort to give Saunders extra time in office.

 Since none of the candidates received a majority of the vote in the initial election as required, a run off election was held among the two candidates who received the most votes. The run off was scheduled at the end of June and ballots were counted on July 1. A complaint was filed by the WTU President elect, Elizabeth Davis after an extension was granted to Saunders by the WTU Elections Committee. Subsequently, AFT appointed a representative to facilitate the transition process. AFT encouraged both Saunders and Davis to work collaboratively during the transition period. 
By the July 12 challenge deadline, defeated WTU President Saunders and his slate lodged an election challenge to the certified election results where he lost to Elizabeth Davis by 459 to 380 and his running mate lost to Candi Peterson with 470 to 360 votes. Saunders has yet to cooperate throughout the transition process which generally requires that an outgoing president work collaboratively with the incumbent on executive decisions, in addition to, providing critical information to ensure that there is an orderly transition process.
Saunders defiance of the process so far creates an unnecessary power struggle and makes a transition nearly impossible. "This is Saunders last power grab to maintain control. It's ironic that Nathan is stealing a play from former WTU President George Parker's playbook", stated a WTU member who requested anonymity.  As the August 1 deadline quickly approaches, it remains to be seen whether Hold over WTU President Saunders will exit the office voluntarily and leave behind a legacy he can be proud of or whether he will go kicking and screaming and have to be escorted out. I hope he chooses the former so the Davis slate can get on with the business of serving its members. Our members are tired of the drama.

© Candi Peterson 2013


Anonymous said...

What is the grounds for this appeal? How long is the appeal process? Has the AFT approved the runoff election and who has the final say, AFT or WTU Election committee? Please give the membership specifics as we deserve to know.

DCNeverSleeps said...

Thinking positively, I believe Nathan Saunders will leave gracefully on his due date. I am also eager to hear more news about the new contract and some reasonable date when we will get to see it, vote on it, and then be accepted. It is sad that we have been without a contract since last year. I hope you can work on it successfully.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think I can speak for most and say that we are TIRED of the drama!!! The former president needs to be mature about things and move on. The members have spoken...he was voted out! He is showing his true colors now...and it's not pretty!

We are ready to get on with the business of children and do our jobs! Hopefully now with the Davis/Peterson team we can peacefully do our jobs!

Anonymous said...

Stand your ground. Make sure AFT is involved and informed of all incidents. This has happened before. Don't get side tracked by foolishness. Liz, your letter to teachers was beautiful and Candi, this is a beautiful article. You, Liz, and Executive Board work together and make this the best Union in the history of DC. It can happen because there are a lot of experienced people who are willing to help. Stay focused and occupy WTU on August 1.

MC said...

Troubled that this is how he will be remembered. Wishing you, Liz and the Ex. Board all the best without missing a beat on your road to governance and representing the teachers of Washington DC.

Unknown said...

Where can we find the letter from Liz? I would love to read it! Thanks!

Candi Peterson said...

Anonymous@6am, actually AFT requested that the WTU Elections Committee. send out a letter by July 15 to the members explaining the election results and the newly modified timeline and details on the process.

You are absolutely right members have a right to know but to date that information has not been forthcoming for reasons unclear.

Hopefully members can get updated after we take office in August.

Candi Peterson said...

Jennifer Miller
I believe it was a personal letter Liz sent out to campaign supporters. It is not publicly posted.

Anonymous said...

The union needs to move forward. We need to know why DCPS is getting away with not revealing IMPACT scores until August. That is totally bs! It is not fair for group one teachers to hold their breath all summer. Some may need to find other jobs. We took the test in late April. They need months to cook the scores/IVAscores. Get on this WTU.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this update. As others have asked, shouldn't the membership be given the reason(s) why Nathan Saunders is contesting the election?

Is there money being wasted on this? I know valuable transition time is being wasted and it creates further division in the WTU. I want to see Nathan back in the classroom so he can be "impacted" like the rest of us. Maybe he will understand why making concessions on IMPACT was not welcomed by teachers.

I disagree with two points you made in your article though. First, bad analogy to the "keys to the castle" when Nathan has run the WTU like king. Moving forward we need the WTU run from the bottom up!

Second, at this point it is impossible for Nathan to "leave behind a legacy that he can be proud of" even if drops the appeal and begins assisting with the transition. His tenure as WTU president will be remembered as selling out to the chancellor and doing nothing to engage teachers.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!!! I am no longer with DCPS, but know that you have worked very hard to fight for the rights of those employed with DCPS, Not that Michelle Rhee is gone, I might just come back. Keep up the good work. I know that great things are to come under your leadership.

Kudos to you!

Anonymous said...

This is a very good post. You put it just right that Nathan has a choice and that the better route is for him to allow for a smooth transition. It is what the members deserve.

DCNeverSleeps said...

I just read an article in the Post online. So much for a smooth transition. I guess I was wrong thinking he would give it all up so easily.


Anonymous said...

Good bye Mr. Nathan Saunders, your term is over and just exit gracefully or be removed. Inch by inch, all the deceivers and liars in the Washington teacher's Union will be out. Its time for real teachers to work and fight for injustice on teachers. Pls. go home and enjoy your selfish self.

Anonymous said...

So sorry Nathan Saunders went public and to the WPost. Yes, I think he was surprised he lost but puhleeze.

Anonymous said...

Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it
seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.

You obviously know what youre talking about, why throw away
your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

Visit my web blog :: rumah sakit modern