When last we left the Broward Teachers Union in 2012, it had elected Sharon Glickman to assume the presidency vacated by Pat Santeramo, charged with embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the union.
Now BTU is back to its regular election schedule, which pits incumbent Glickman against two challengers, Anna Fusco and Terry Preuss. The Miami Herald reports the campaign is filled with the melodrama we have come to expect from South Florida’s teachers’ unions. The three candidates have experienced a cumulative two federal tax liens, two bankruptcies and two lawsuits by creditors.
Additionally, Glickman’s running mate, Kalebra Jacobs-Reed, has spent the last few years working as a staffer for BTU. She took a leave of absence to run for the BTU vice presidency. But union employees are supposed to be ineligible to run for union office. Glickman claims the move was cleared by the American Federation of Teachers and the Florida Education Association.
Candidate Preuss took to the Herald‘s comments section to claim the BTU executive board “has been denied access to the AFT and FEA legal opinions, if they exist.”
The election uses mail-in ballots and the results will be tabulated March 20.
New York State United Teachers president Richard Iannuzzi can put aside campaigning for reelection and set new priorities, such as eliminating any paper trail before the inevitable fishing expedition by the Revive NYSUT slate when it takes over.
The Revive NYSUT bandwagon filled to capacity yesterday when, as expected, the presidents of the Buffalo Teachers Federation, Rochester Teachers Association, Syracuse Teachers Association, Yonkers Federation of Teachers, and Niagara Falls Teachers joined with the United Federation of Teachers to endorse the challengers to Iannuzzi’s team. That gives Revive NYSUT a clean sweep of the largest K-12 locals – something Iannuzzi needed to do to have any chance of avoiding his ouster.
There are bound to be many changes, but the most immediate effect will be increased confusion over the union’s Common Core policy. Until it all gets sorted out, we will see teachers’ unions at various levels simultaneously supporting and condemning the system. Their communications people will be working nights and weekends to square all the circles.
Why are you spending your mornings reading news about education policy, politics and campaigns and trying to make sense of it all? Just head on over to the Huffington Post for this 1,200-word explanation of Randi Weingarten’s master plan for the AFT, New York, the AFL-CIO, the 2016 presidential election, and her ultimate appointment to a powerful post in the next administration.
It finishes with this rhetorical question and answer:
Why, Mercedes, this entire post amounts to nothing more than a patchwork of speculation. You’re just a teacher. What do you know?
Fine. Just ask Weingarten to publicly deny the scenario I propose. When she does so with the same passion she devotes to supporting CCSS, I will consider the matter closed.
It will be an uphill battle for Weingarten, as I hear Chris Christie is seeking the much-coveted endorsement of the Reptilian Conspiracy.
Yesterday I posted the breaking news that the Wisconsin Education Association Council and AFT-Wisconsin postponed their scheduled votes to merge the two unions into one – Wisconsin Together.
The WEAC statement was deliberately vague, saying only that “member forums showed more information was sought before going ahead with a vote.” AFT-Wisconsin president Kim Kohlhaas was much more forthcoming with her memo about the situation:
As you know, a vote on merger was originally scheduled to take place in April at both the WEAC and AFT-W conventions. Last Saturday, WEAC’s Board of Directors voted to postpone a full merger vote.
One key reason the WEAC Board cited for this difficult decision was member concerns regarding the different dues structures of AFT-W and WEAC. Under the original plan for a possible merger, this issue would have been resolved over a two-year trial period once both unions had approved merger. Instead, a special committee will now be put in place with representatives from both organizations. The committee’s job will be addressing how to harmonize our two unions’ different systems into one fair, effective dues structure that ensures all members get the staff and services they need. AFT-W will take full part in this committee, which is slated to make its recommendations by the end of 2014. Based on this new timetable, a merger vote then could take place in early 2015.
I don’t know who complained, but they had enough clout to make the reasonable demand that the merged union’s dues structure and levels be determined before the merger takes place, and not after.
WEAC’s current structure is more complex than that of a typical NEA state affiliate, since it has different dues levels for large urban locals and those locals that fall under its regional divisions. Melding all that with AFT-W’s dues structure was always going to be problematic, and it appears a majority on the WEAC board of directors preferred not to punt the discussion until 2015.
I don’t believe this will derail the merger, but a year’s delay in the vote is a big setback. A lot can happen between now and next year.
This just in from the Wisconsin Education Association Council:
A vote on potential merger of the American Federation of Teachers-Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Education Association Council has been postponed.
Feedback from members, educators and public service employees from across Wisconsin spurred the delay as member forums showed more information was sought before going ahead with a vote. Originally, a vote was to take place in April.
“As has been the case with other AFT-NEA state mergers, members want to make an informed decision with as much information as possible. AFT Wisconsin continues to be committed to a merger process so that we are united in our efforts to represent our members and the people they serve,” said Kim Kohlhaas, president of AFT-Wisconsin and a Superior, Wis., teacher.
“Merger is a complicated process, and we must be sure members have all the information they need,” said Betsy Kippers, a Racine teacher serving as president of WEAC. “It’s best to take the time for further study rather than rush to a vote when our members tell us they still have questions.”
A committee will be put into place with member-representatives from both organizations to provide more information on what a merged organization would look like and how it would operate.
Something’s up. I’ll provide more details as they become available.
Back in May 2012, delegates to the Ohio Education Association (OEA) Representative Assembly “soundly approved” a new policy authorizing the union to begin recruiting and organizing charter school teachers.
OEA seemed to think it was a big deal at the time, making a point of publicizing the decision on its blog. At the time, 42 Ohio charter schools were unionized, but 32 were bound to collective bargaining by state law, leaving only 10 that were unionized by the expressed desire of school employees.
Since 2012, however, it is difficult to discern any effect whatsoever on the charter school landscape in Ohio. The AFT at least set up a dedicated web site for its five charter schools in the state. Other than this one page on the OEA web site, there isn’t much evidence the union has taken any action organizing charter schools. I have been unable to identify a single charter school organized by OEA in the past two years.
OEA does carry hefty baggage into its attempts to appeal to charter school teachers. A recent example comes courtesy of Beth Stevenson, one of two candidates for the presidency of the Columbus Education Association. “I can’t imagine for the life of me why anybody would support charter schools,” she said.
This failure of imagination leads to a failure to understand why anybody would want to teach in a charter school, making an organizing drive virtually impossible.