Intercepts

A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

AFT Deposes Florida Local President & Board

Written By: Mike Antonucci   – Jul• 30•15

In the name of “holding sacrosanct the democratic rights of its members,” the American Federation of Teachers removed from office the duly elected officers and representatives of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association (OCCTA) and placed a national administrator in sole charge.

The move was not entirely unexpected. Last February, AFT sent a monitor to the local to oversee operations.

In an e-mail to OCCTA members, AFT president Randi Weingarten specifically named OCCTA president Diana Moore as the cause of “repeated and deliberate anti-democratic violations of local bylaws and governance policies,” particularly those “to protect against the concentration of power in any one individual.”

AFT appointed Dennis Kelly, vice president of the United Educators of San Francisco, as administrator.

Moore told WFTV in Orlando her due process rights were violated.

“As a dues-paying union member, I was not afforded the opportunity to have representation all throughout this matter,” she said. “What I have tried to do is preserve the rights and due process of all members of Orange County Classroom Teachers Association. I’m shocked that the national union does not honor a paying union member’s rights to due process. Our members in Orange County are quite happy with their union. NEA has remained silent despite reaching out for support. This is all about members and money. They’re losing members and money in the national organization. It’s politics at its worst.”

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3 Comments

  1. p. mazzulli says:

    If this is a duel affiliate, why is NEA not responding?

  2. Mike Antonucci says:

    NEA and AFT apparently made some sort of agreement about which national union would take jurisdiction in which locals in a merged state like Florida.

  3. Diana says:

    This letter was sent “after” a decision was made yet AFT arrived Monday? While I was on vacation they took the building over with a locksmith in high drama fashion caught on http://www.wftv.com. This had been planned. Mr. Kelly, another of the “35 VP’s” like Andy Ford, lost his re-election after 12 years on June 8, 2015. He arrived June 28, 2015.

    Diana Moore is running against the FEA VP, Joanne MCCall for FEA President on October 16,2015.

    Dear Local Leaders,

    On an emergency conference call with the AFT Executive Council earlier this evening the AFT placed the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association in administratorship. The Council also ordered the president, other officers, and executive board members be removed from office effective immediately.

    AFT President Randi Weingarten, this evening, sent all CTA members the following email:

    Dear OCCTA Member,

    As someone who lives union — from being a member, to being raised in a union family, to getting my degree in labor relations, and who also has had the privilege and honor to serve as an elected union leader at the local and national levels — I know there is nothing more important than for members to trust their union. And that must start with the union holding sacrosanct the democratic rights of its members. It grieves me to witness the willful, deliberate and repeated disregard of the democratic rights of union members by duly elected leaders who are entrusted with upholding and protecting those very rights. Unfortunately, that is the situation we face currently with the president of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association (OCCTA).

    By now, you’ve probably heard that the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Florida Education Association (FEA) have been engaged in efforts to address repeated and deliberate anti-democratic violations of local bylaws and governance policies by OCCTA President Diana Moore. We received the first complaint a year ago from the other officers of the OCCTA about governance failures that stripped members of fundamental democratic rights to representation. That led to an investigation, a December report and follow-up steps that AFT and FEA took — including making remedial recommendations and appointing a monitor — to address issues involving the local’s leadership.

    Specifically, we found that the local president has circumvented procedures outlined in local governing documents that provide checks and balances to ensure union democracy and to protect against the concentration of power in any one individual. Unfortunately, nothing has worked after months of us trying. In fact, as anyone who has been involved knows — whether they support or criticize Diana Moore — the local’s ability to govern itself as a democratic institution has deteriorated even further. The dilemma is this: No matter how right any of us feel we are, when we are elected to leadership positions, we have a moral and legal responsibility to follow the constitutions of our unions. And if we think those rules are wrong, then we have to go to you — the members — in the appropriate way and have them changed.

    That is why today, AFT’s Executive Council voted to place OCCTA under administratorship — in accordance with the provisions of Article VI, Section 15 of the AFT Constitution. Our union values local autonomy. The decision to establish an administratorship is never made lightly, but only with careful and thoughtful deliberation. Our national union’s constitution authorizes AFT to establish an administratorship only under exceptional circumstances in order to restore the democratic rights of members if a local affiliate is incapable of taking adequate corrective action to do so on its own. The primary objectives of this administratorship are to rebuild effective leadership, restore and uphold members’ rights to effective representation, and to encourage greater member involvement and engagement. The specific findings against OCCTA leadership, which were addressed during a hearing on June 30, 2015, provide grounds for the administratorship:

    · The willful disregard of bylaws authority on separation of powers between governing bodies.
    · Interference with membership representation responsibilities and authority.
    · Repeated systemic and intentional internal election misconduct, even when those elections have been under the supervision of the state affiliate.

    The council has appointed Dennis Kelly, AFT Vice President from San Francisco, to serve as administrator, effective today. Dennis, a colleague with whom I have served on AFT’s Executive Council for the last seven years, is a union leader who greatly values member input and involvement. Like the OCCTA, the local Dennis led is a merged NEA and AFT local and, as such, Dennis has grown up with both the NEA and AFT traditions, culture and practices. From this point forward, all official OCCTA communications will come from Dennis Kelly or from LaFrances Trotter, who has been serving as monitor since February. Additionally, questions and concerns should be addressed to the administrator. During this rebuilding process, he will be in regular contact with members to hear concerns, suggestions and input.

    I am confident that Dennis, working together with OCCTA members who are engaged and involved, will succeed in getting this local back on track. Input and engagement from members like you is vital to that goal. I encourage you to stand with us as we all do what it takes to rebuild a strong, united union that, once again, honors and defends the democratic rights of every member.

    Also, this evening Randi and I are having three conference calls with:
    *the VP, Secretary, and Treasurer;
    *The Executive Board; and
    *The Association Representatives

    It’s never good having to take these extraordinary steps, but the AFT and FEA have tried many interventions with no positive change in behaviors.

    The AFT, NEA, and FEA are coordinating efforts to assist in rebuilding Orange CTA.

    It’s critical that we remain unified on this and if you receive any calls from the media please refer them to Mark Pudlow at FEA.

    Andy Ford, President
    Florida Education Association
    NEA, AFT, AFL-CIO
    850.224.1953
    http://feaweb.org