Union Elections Are Contests Between Apathy and Ignorance

Eduwonk reports that the upcoming election for the presidency of the Washington Teachers Union has a problem - not enough WTU members want to be on the election committee. For that matter, not enough WTU members want to be delegates to the AFT convention. As a result, AFT is going to provide “assistance and limited oversight.”

Problem solved, right? Not exactly. WTU Vice President Nathan A. Saunders, who is running against incumbent George Parker, says he didn’t ask for, nor does he want, AFT intervention. He believes AFT is deeply invested in Parker and is trying to guarantee a win for him.

“It is absolutely crazy,” Saunders said. “The AFT can’t hold an impartial election.

At least the members will still be able to vote for their president, unlike the members of the Virginia Education Association (see item #2, here). Or the members of the South Carolina Education Association, who elected a president who won’t be running the organization anytime soon.

Member participation isn’t a problem in Guam, where Guam Federation of Teachers steward Carol Somerfleck wanted to know, among other things, why the union hasn’t held a presidential election in recent memory. GFT President Matt Rector and the union’s executive council voted to investigate Somerfleck and summoned her to a meeting. Only the union won’t tell her what the allegations are against her, won’t allow her to record the proceedings, and won’t permit her attorney to attend with her.

So remember all this the next time you hear somebody mention “teacher buy-in.”