Updates from Modesto & Wicomico County

Over the past month NEA state affiliates in Maryland and California tried to engineer the takeover of medium-sized locals that were seriously considering disaffiliation. On the East Coast they aided and abetted a group of local building reps in their late-night coup. On the West Coast they instituted a trusteeship the night before the disaffiliation vote, but were turned away when the police were notified. Now both situations are moving towards some sort of reconciliation, with mixed results so far.

A court order placed the elected officers of the Wicomico County Education Association back in power, but a permanent solution needed to be found. With litigation still to be settled, and disaffiliation and recall votes still up in the air, the WCEA officers and the “interim managers” reached a tentative settlement. Under the terms of the agreement, the managers renounce any claim to the union’s finances or operations. In exchange, the WCEA officers will not pursue a disaffiliation vote and will schedule a general election for all union offices at the end of this month.

The officers of the Modesto Teachers Association decided to abide by the results of the election, in which a majority of votes favored continued affiliation with the California Teachers Association and NEA. In the immediate aftermath, MTA executive director Megan Gowans resigned her position. It was the use of a CTA grant to help pay Gowans’ salary that triggered the disaffiliation movement.

Everything seems to have been resolved in CTA’s favor, but there is still that little matter of the trusteeship it imposed on Modesto, and the state union isn’t letting go of it easily. Yesterday the appointed trustees held an informational meeting for Modesto teachers, which one attendee described this way:

So, my understanding from yesterday is that despite Megan Gowans resigning from leadership that she has dedicated herself to, and despite the MTA certifying the election in CTA’s favor, the CTA wants to take control of MTA for an unspecified amount of time; make unspecified changes to the MTA bylaws; and force out all of the elected MTA leadership (generously allowing them to run for reelection). They say they still need to do this because of unspecified, unattributed allegations against the MTA. The great irony is that it is stated that this takeover is in the interest of “democracy.”

My reaction to all of this is that Game of Thrones is a popular show at union headquarters.

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