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Labor's Diss-Union 2

A few weeks ago, D.C. Wire reported about the bad blood between Washington Teachers' Union President George Parker and General Vice President Nathan Saunders. Saunders thinks Parker is too cozy with Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and Parker thinks Saunders represents the old-school union model that favored confrontation over cooperation.

The animus continues.

Saunders is upset that Parker went along with Rhee's effort to winnow the ranks of the 4,200-member union through a buyout plan for 700 teachers. He also is miffed that he wasn't informed about yesterday's news conference outside the central office and that Parker asked the union's chief of staff, Clay White, to speak in his absence.

"I was here for an appointment. I definitely was not consulted. I only found out a few minutes ago," said Saunders, who decided to watch the news conference.

As vice president, Saunders said, he should have been asked to fill in. White "is a member of the staff employed and not elected by the members. The constitution is clear -- the general vice president always serves in the absence of the president... This is an indication of an effort to curtail freedom of speech, assembly and voice for teachers."

"This absolutely has to be dealt with," he added.

Parker declined to comment on Saunders's accusations. But he said he thinks Saunders's stance is hurting the union.

"I believe it is anti-productive for me to engage in this type of dissention on the part of the general vice president," Parker told D.C. Wire. "I believe this type of action does not serve our union well. I encourage the general vice president to join me and the WTU executive board as we try to promote quality education for our children and quality working conditions, resources and support for our teachers."

Dion Haynes

By Dion Haynes  |  April 11, 2008; 12:32 PM ET
Categories:  Education  
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Comments

4/12/08
As an elected WTU Board of Trustee member who attends ALL WTU Executive Board meetings, I too learned of the buy-out by watching it on television on Thursday. This plan does not have the support of our WTU teacher members nor was it brought to the attention of our WTU Executive Board for review or consideration. At the very least WTU elected Executive Board teacher members and WTU Board of Trustee teacher members should have been made aware of this plan before the press conference. I feel much like I imagine Chairman Vince Gray of the DC City Council must feel when he frequently hears about Mayor Fenty's and Chancellor Rhee's plans in the local press- disheartened, disengaged and disrespected. While I support an incentive package for those teachers eligible to retire, I have a problem encouraging young and mid level certified teachers to resign when there is a teacher shortage across this country. I do not know of any other credible school system or teachers' union that would encourage and facilitate young and mid-level certified teachers to resign their jobs. It is a sad day for all DCPS teachers. I strongly urge ALL eligible DCPS teachers and related school personnell in our closing and restructured schools to stand up and fight by just saying "NO" to this ridiculous meager monetary award.


WTU Board of Trustee member
WTU Building Rep./city-wide teachers and related service providers

Posted by: Candi Peterson | April 12, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

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