1) EIA Exclusive: Colorado Public Employees
Unions' Secret Agreement. Colorado's largest public employees unions
announced a historic agreement last Thursday to form one merged organization
to represent state workers in accordance with the "partnership agreements"
created by Gov. Bill Ritter's November 2 executive order.
In fact, the secret merger agreement, obtained by the
Education Intelligence Agency, reveals the new organization, christened
Colorado WINS, has one primary purpose: to create and enact a collective
bargaining law for Colorado public employees, and then make
Colorado WINS their exclusive representative.
The 26-page document, posted on the EIA
web site at
http://www.eiaonline.com/coloradowins.pdf, sheds light on a number of
questions that have occupied Coloradans and their media outlets.
The agreement sets out goals,
structures, finances and timetables for the achievement of the national
unions' agenda for Colorado. Included are:
* "Unified Legislative Action.
The parties pledge to work together to draft a comprehensive state employee
collective bargaining bill and to jointly urge that it be enacted by the
State Legislature and approved by the Governor."
* "Unified Organizing Campaign.
The parties pledge to work together in a coordinated organizing campaign to
seek joint certification as the exclusive representative of all state
employees covered by this Agreement."
* "Unified Representation of State
Employees." The parties pledge to establish the Colorado WINS as a
unified structure with unified leadership representing all state employees.
Colorado WINS will have the sole authority to advocate for legislation
affecting state employees., including but not limited to legislation
affecting PERA, the State Personnel System, employee accountability and
state employee protections."
Job One is already underway. "As soon
as practicable following the effective date of this Agreement, the parties
shall reach final agreement on the specifics of comprehensive collective
bargaining legislation for Colorado state employees which shall be endorsed
and supported by the three unions," the agreement states.
Colorado WINS seeks to eliminate all
other representatives of public employees, with the exception of the state
Enforcement and Protective Services Unit. The new organization will seek to
represent all of those employees other than the 500 state troopers, who will
remain under the jurisdiction of the Association of Colorado State Patrol
Funding responsibilities and dues
income (including PAC money) will be divided among the three national unions
– 50% for SEIU, and 25% each for AFT and AFSCME. The organization will also
belong to the AFL-CIO. No mention is made of the Change to Win federation,
despite the signature of CTW co-founder Andrew Stern on the document.
In the first phase of the plan, which
runs from the present to August 2008, current Colorado local unions will
remain autonomous, but will have to enter into a servicing agreement with
Colorado WINS. Assuming a collective bargaining law is passed, those locals
will then be incorporated into Colorado WINS by July 1, 2009. At that point,
the new union will hold a constitutional convention and elect officers.
The agreement runs until December 30,
2012, but if there were any remaining doubt as to the overriding purpose of
the organization and the transitory role of Gov. Ritter's partnership
agreements, it is erased by the provision that allows the member unions to
terminate the merger and dissolve Colorado WINS "in the event that no state
employee collective bargaining legislation is in effect by July 1, 2009."
There is also a hint that Colorado WINS
hopes to establish an agency fee requirement for state employees who choose
not to join. "Colorado WINS shall establish a dues trust fund and shall make
arrangements to have employer-withheld membership dues and agency fees (if
applicable) deposited directly into the trust account," the document states.
The organization will be run by a
four-member Permanent Coordinating Committee, consisting of SEIU's Robert
Lawson and Eliseo Medina, AFSCME's Paul Booth, and AFT's Phil Kugler. Lawson
was named Campaign Director, and AFSCME's Steve Kreisberg was named Chief
Union involvement in the crafting of
Gov. Ritter's executive order has been a matter of some controversy for
months – from the
public records release of September 4 to questions about the
Ury memo. Nevertheless, the governor's issuance of the executive order
in the afternoon of Friday, November 2, generated surprise and outrage and a
page one editorial excoriating the move in the
But it's obvious the executive order
didn't surprise the unions.
Though the formation of Colorado WINS
wasn't publicly announced until November 15, the final agreement had already
been signed by November 6, a mere four days after the executive order,
belying claims that this was cobbled together last week and is still
being worked out.
Additionally, the creation of the
document not only pre-dates the attempt of the
Colorado Federation of Public Employees (CFPE) to disaffiliate from the
American Federation of Teachers, it appears to be the cause of it. The
merger document is an agreement between the national SEIU, AFSCME and AFT.
Neither AFT Colorado nor CFPE are signatories. The agreement specifically
states its provisions are "intended to be binding on the three International
Unions and on all of their subordinate bodies and affiliates" and that
"Colorado WINS is the lawful successor to their existing local unions with
respect to representing Colorado state employees covered by this Agreement."
2) Share It Fairly But Don't Take a Slice of My
Pie. Proposition 92, which will be on the California ballot in February
2008, would guarantee state funding for community colleges. On one side is
the California Federation of Teachers, a large part of whose membership
includes community college faculty. On the other is the California Teachers
Association, the K-12 juggernaut, who worry that elementary and secondary
school funding could be adversely affected by the initiative.
According to the
Sacramento Bee, CTA has already contributed $290,000 to defeat the
initiative. Additionally, the California Faculty Association, which
represents employees of the state university system, opposes Prop 92. But
CTA is far from united on the issue.
The CTA-affiliated Community College Association broke
ranks to support the measure, as did the independent California School
Employees Association. But the biggest blow to CTA came when its largest
local affiliate – United Teachers Los Angeles –
voted "overwhelmingly" to endorse Prop 92.
There's no one to root for here, but I am very curious
to see what campaign tactics will be unleashed with teachers' unions on both
sides. Will they pull punches? Or will they be especially brutal, knowing so
well the capabilities of the other side? Get your popcorn ready.
3) On the Docket. It was a busy week in court
for NEA affiliates:
* Claraliene Gordon, the former president of the Camden
Education Association in New Jersey was indicted for
using her union credit card to pay for $15,000 in personal expenses. She
faces up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine for each offense.
* Ohio Education Association UniServ director John
Avouris was charged with
lying to police about a picket line altercation. He faces up to six
months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
* Maine Education Association staffer Joan Morin is
suing the union for gender discrimination, imposition of a hostile work
environment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent
supervision. Morin claims MEA communications director Keith Harvie
repeatedly "cast derogatory statements as to her work and her gender" and
that MEA executives did nothing about it. The union claims Morin's charges
were internally investigated and "found to be without merit."
4) Three Headlines, One Newspaper, Same Day. "Audit
of Albuquerque Public Schools shows errors plague district" –
Albuquerque Tribune, November 13.
Albuquerque Public Schools superintendent to be paid $260,000 annually"
– Albuquerque Tribune, November 13.
Mexico task force proposes school funding boost" – Albuquerque
Tribune, November 13.
5) Two Million Teachers Update.
Last week's story on the need for two million new teachers in the next
ten years reminded University of Missouri economics professor Michael
Podgursky that he debunked Hussar's study more than five years ago.
Read it here.
6) Last Week's Intercepts. EIA's blog,
Intercepts, covered these topics from November 12-19:
Tony Soprano, Pat Tornillo or Napoleon Bonaparte? Do members want
enlightened despots to run their unions?
Potter or Pantsless? Magic.
Not That There's Anything Wrong With That. The mental image we could
Save Our Failing Teachers. Subtle, but effective.
7) Quote of the Week #1. "The fact that you can
do something awesome with $15 million does not mean that you could do
something super-awesome with $150 million." – Megan McArdle, discussing the
problem of scaling, particularly in public education. Read it, now.
the Week #2.
"There's an awful lot to be said about not being in the bubble. In the
bubble, your world is aides and speeches, and you're not living a real life,
and it's very hard to understand how real people feel about things. I've yet
to find a single person, from a busboy to a janitor to a middle manager to a
partner in a law firm to a CEO, who wants to give Sacramento disposable
income. Not one human being." – former California Gov. Gray Davis, the
latest in a series of retired career politicians who finally learn about
life on the other side of government. November 15