Monday, August 09, 2010

An Open Letter to AFT from a WTU Member

I believe that it is imperative to get the truth to the public about the recent issue on the WTU internal elections of officers. As a person of integrity, I do not compromise what is right. I believe it is about time for all, most importantly the WTU members (including new teachers) whom we serve in this union, to know the truth and the facts about our WTU Executive Board, to know where we stand and what we stand for. In a few months from now we are going to elect our WTU officers, we need to be smart in choosing strong teacher leaders for office to represent our educators, we cannot afford to make the same mistakes as WTU did in the past,  and we want to do it right this time.
Members are very concerned...I am posting here on my blog a WTU member's open letter to AFT-

Maria Angala, NBCT
WTU Vice President of Special Education

I am disappointed and infuriated by the recent decision by AFT to usurp the Executive Board and President Parker's right to establish a timeline for the elections and move them up. For them to move them up during the beginning of school is irresponsible. All union officials should be focused on the New Teacher's orientation, as well as supporting teachers and trouble shooting problems caused by the many new principals in the first few weeks of school. This of course is not a problem for self-serving campaigners who are more worried about their election to office rather than the members. Nathan [Saunders], who is willing to campaign outside of the meeting for fired teachers and unplaced excessed teachers, instead of helping out inside, will not be affected by this.

I was considering running on a slate, but have been put at a great disadvantage. I am not willing to sacrifice my duties to my teachers and students during the beginning of the year to campaign for a position in a local that can have its authority usurped whenever it benefits the national organization or when the national disagrees with what the local is legally doing. The E-Board had the right to set the timeline for the elections once AFT delayed them. It didn't make sense to have them over the summer or the beginning of the year. AFT's opinion on how long is too long is exactly that - an opinion. Once the timeline set forth in the constitution could not be followed, it was the E-Board's responsibility to set the new timeline. Campaigning for an election is time consuming and difficult at best. I take AFT's disrespect for the time that I commit to my school and teachers at the beginning of the year personally. The Election Committee's maneuvering to set the election timeline is unprecedented and pure politics. It should be called exactly what it is, political maneuvering.

Teachers who are no longer on the payroll should not have a vote, period. Once the timeline was delayed, the teachers that could have voted became irrelevant. In AFT's words "As this essentially 'restarts' the clock..." At a minimum, only current WTU members who were eligible on June 30 should be allowed to vote. However, this disenfranchises, rather than includes, all of our new members coming in this month. How does that sound to them? We want you to be a member, but because the union f-ed up and couldn't even hold an election, we are holding it now, but we don't want you to have a voice in the leadership of a union that you are now a member of.

Also by ruling that the e-board had the right to withhold Nathan's salary, but that the timing was unfortunate, so give him his money- is political beyond belief. If Nathan wanted his salary, he could have simply reported what he was doing to the president and the e-board. He chose not to do that. Has he started being accountable to the president or the board? I don't care what it looks like politically. There is a political solution for what it looks like politically - the membership could vote the current board and president out. AFT could have let the membership decide on that one. Our teachers are being accountable more than ever before. What kind of example does this set if the Vice-president refused to be accountable to the president or executive board.

I fear what would happen if Nathan and Candi [Peterson] would get elected. In my opinion, they are old fashioned confrontational bargainers with a need to associate with the truth only when it benefits them. They are aggressive and just plain not nice people. It has been my assessment that they would rather strike and demonstrate than find a solution. They represent everything that was wrong with DCPS and WTU when I came on board 10 years ago. AFT's decision only helps them and it makes the e-board and President Parker's decision which is thought out and methodical, look suspect in some way.

George [Parker] is not perfect, but he is not politically motivated. He is motivated by what is right for students and teachers - to a fault - he is too busy doing the work of the union that he doesn't toot his own horn often enough. The people that know George know that the timeline was based on inclusiveness - both in not having the elections during the summer when many teachers are gone as well as including our newest members, respect for our time during the beginning of the year, and accuracy of the membership roles. The logical teacher members understood this.

I hope that AFT will consider how their actions enable the vocal minority who are destroying our union and what it stands for.

Steve Aupperle
Instructional Coach
Truesdell Educational Center



The WTU and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have successfully reached an agreement that will end WTU litigation regarding voter eligibility and timeline for conducting the WTU elections. The WTU Executive Board is in agreement with the AFT Executive Council’s decision and order to conduct the WTU internal election under the conditions as agreed in bringing WTU’s litigation to closure. Members will soon receive an election schedule and timeline from AFT Election Administrator Al Squire. We thank you for your patience as we successfully achieved a resolution to this issue.

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