In an Orwellian attempt to rewrite the past, a local affiliate of the Washington Education Association has edited out of last month’s newsletter a story describing a new handling policy for documents headlined “When in Doubt, Shred!”
On September 27, 1999, EIA published an item concerning the WEA’s new “retention/destruction policy” for members and staff who handled official union documents. EIA had been tipped to the new policy by a source within WEA. Pressed for corroboration, the source directed EIA to the web page of the Sultan Education Association, where an item about the new policy had been published in the September Board Report of the Pilchuck UniServ Council.
The item, headlined “When in Doubt, Shred!” read as follows:
“This advice comes from WEA attorney, Jerry Painter, as he discussed WEA’s Retention/Destruction Policy for anyone who handles WEA documents. Presidents of locals, councils, staff, etc. will all be receiving copies of the new policy regarding how long to retain specific types of documents. This will be discussed further at Pilchuck UniServ Council.”
The EIA item was picked up by several organizations, including the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, a state think tank that has been engaged in several court battles with WEA over its political activities. EFF published the address of Sultan Education Association’s web page. But, in a bizarre maneuver, the item about shredding has itself been shred. Union officials have removed the story and editorially adjusted the remaining items in the same column. Visitors to the web page can now see an unusual amount of white space in the second column of the newsletter, where the offending item had once been. EIA has copies of both the original newsletter and the “memory hole” version for those who are interested.