Resignation Demand

Two weeks before the election the Teacher’s Union sent out a Press Release "hoping" that half of the of the School Board would resign because they had "been found guilty" of committing an "unfair labor practice." This was such a clumsy attack that the newspaper relegated the story to its "election bulletin board" rather than give it serious treatment. At least one former union officer wrote a letter-to-the-editor "requesting" that my fellow board members and I resign.

As flimsy as the charge was we can expect the allegation to take on a new life with repeated telling in teacher’s lounges across the district. In this way it will become part of the union mythology of the "teacher-hating school board."

This is the real story:

In November of 1997 the district was negotiating with the school secretaries. The DFT had replaced the Teamsters as the secretary’s union because the secretaries had not been satisfied with the Teamsters. The secretaries had high hopes that the DFT could work its will on the School Board. By November the secretaries were ready to strike and the School Board was prepared to let them.

The lawyer who represented the District in the contract talks wrote a letter which was sent to the secretaries explaining what the secretaries could expect after the strike began. They were told" 1. That they would have to pay for their insurance after the strike began, 2. That withholding payments would not continue during the strike, and 3. That if they crossed the picket line their union would discipline them. The School Board did not see this letter until it had been sent out.

After the settlement was reached the DFT, embarassed at disappointing the secretaries, took the district to court and complained that telling these things to the secretaries was a form of intimidation. The court handed down its ruling on April 23, six months before Election Day. The first two complaints were dismissed the third was upheld. The court fined the District $100 for telling the secretaries that their union could discipline them. The School Board still has the right to appeal this ruling but has not done so because the legal costs would far outweighed the nominal fine.

So! The Teachers Union waited six months - until just before the election - to demand the resignations of half the school board - for a letter they did not write - because one of three complaints they had about the letter was upheld by a judge - in a lower court subject to appeal - over a $100 fine. Wow! That’s like treating a person whose friend spits on the sidewalk as though he was the Captain of the Exxon Valdez.

P.S 12-29-99 And get this! Talk about adding injury to insult. My wife and I don't talk all that often about School Board stuff. I had never discussed this newsrelease with her until tonight when I asked her about her knowledge of labor law.   She mentioned that she had heard how we had been found guilty of violating the law. She didn't know these details but the story had succeeded in planting the idea in her head that the School Board had behaved badly.

I guess I should remember what Frank said when our feud went public last year. "Its just politics."