Local 609 Wins Victory Against the District

From the whoops file of the agenda for the next Board meeting.

There a notice called PERC on the agenda which is legal public notice of what the district did wrong and what they have to do to correct it. Apparently, our district tried to withhold information/emails from Local 609 and have now gotten a bit of a smackdown.

The notice states that the district committed unfair labor practices against Local 609. It looks like the union was looking for e-mail and other electronic documents and the district didn't hand them over. The union wins lawyer fees and other expenses. The most interesting part is the handslaps and mea culpas the district had to state in the notice.


Charlie Mas said…
These occur once or twice a year and the Superintendent should be held directly responsible for them.

I would love to see something in her contract that docks her pay by $10,000 for each of them. That would be accountability.
Sahila said…
its not only the union that has won on this ground lately, although its managed to exact some kind of penalty...

The District has been slammed by the Superior Court for not providing a full and accurate public record of all the documentation and public testimony given in its last major decisions -the result being that there is no capacity to have a judicial review and appellants suing the District cant argue their case properly because the District has either withheld or destroyed documents/evidence...

Additionally, the District has not even been able to swear in court that the Board members were given all of the evidence, submissions, testimony to review in the process of making their decisions/casting their votes...

Marie Goodloe Johnson should be fired for this dereliction of duty... and the Board should be ashamed of itself for letting this happen...
Central Mom said…
1. They're probably ok with the fines as a cost of doing business. Cheaper than the $$ it would cost to fix the problems internally, which means a major overhaul not just of technology used downtown -- pricey undertaking -- but also the actual workflow management of internal data. By this I mean rules around how people work.

If according to the previous thread, internal District IT is dysfunctional and if, according to other threads, Communications Dept is not as strong as it could be, then do not look for the issue to be resolved anytime soon.

This is not to say it could not be fixed. But it would take C-level priority to do so, and that would mean some serious hands-on management of the next few layers of workers.

So will it happen? Would not put money on it. Until the District loses a massive lawsuit. Having been involved in just such an issue in the business world, I know a couple of places where the District could (would almost certainly) lose $$ millions because of their non-handling of data. But since the idea of this blog is constructive not destructive criticism, I will not share them in an open forum.

Neither is this issue peculiar to the current superintendent. It is a weakness that has only grown over the past decade.
Sahila said…
CentralMom - if you know this stuff, and if you know things wont change until the District is forced to by a very costly legal decision against it, and if you have the well being of the children of SPS at heart, why would you not take action?

Would that not be constructive action?

In my book, it would be...
Patrick said…
I thought there was a legal principle that if one side withheld or destroyed evidence, the court will proceed on the assumption that such evidence was maximally damaging to the side that destroyed it. (Maybe not in this case, I am not a lawyer.)
wseadawg said…
Yup Patrick. It's called spoliation. And you're right about the presumption going to the non-spoliating party.

I don't want to see the district lose a huge lawsuit, because they'll still hold the purse strings from which the money will be paid, from our dollars of course. And no, they won't care. It's not their money.

I prefer to see these humiliating smack-downs for their utmost arrogance and contempt for the rule of law that rivals a few ex-lawyers in the Bush admin.

Arbitrary and capricious, and now "unfair labor practices." Hey, that's a trifecta.

How ridiculous is this going to get? Are we looking at a strike next year? With this crap going on, I have zero faith the Admin will enter or engage in "good faith" negotiations. They don't know the meaning of it.
dan dempsey said…
Sahila, Patrick, and Wseadawg,

Thanks for the spoliation piece.

Sahila said: "the result being that there is no capacity to have a judicial review and appellants suing the District can't argue their case properly because the District has either withheld or destroyed documents/evidence..."

So since the SPS produced no evidence submitted by the public in the HS Math appeal, and the Plaintiffs tossed in over 200 pages that the district should have used, Wseadawg makes a good point.

"I prefer to see these humiliating smack-downs for their utmost arrogance and contempt for the rule of law that rivals a few ex-lawyers in the Bush admin.

Arbitrary and capricious, and now "unfair labor practices." Hey, that's a trifecta.

How ridiculous is this going to get?

I am extremely concerned with the frequent failure of the board members elected in 2007 to use "solid" evidence in making decisions (in some cases any evidence). The idea that the SPS Board still has not made known whether they will comply with a court order of Remand or will appeal is disturbing. Remember the Board excluded: all evidence submitted by the public. In the NTN decision four directors voted to approve. If all the evidence had been considered we would likely be right back at:
"There was insufficient evidence for any reasonable Board member to approve this proposal."
Guess its time to recall all four directors elected in 2007 and fire the Superintendent.

If you went by the Times prediction of winners would spend as much as $50,000 to get elected in 2007 the total for the "Four" would be $200,000. The "Four" spent over $450,000.
Harium's reported statement about the "Discovering" decision having far reaching implications in the broader picture would sound more appropriate coming from a Key Press stockholder or executive than a School Board member concerned about Seattle's kids. In fact Harium voted against the adoption in a 4-3 decision to adopt "Mathematically Unsound" materials.

What is up with the apparent change of heart?
SSDemp said…
The behavior of this administration is shameful for any public agency.

To have the state require training for a local political sub-division is very telling.

And this is only the latest symptom of what ails this district.

Major surgery is needed, soon!
SSDemp said…
Charlies right. There have been a number of these over the last 3 years but they usually try to hide them at the very "twilight" of meetings to escape notice.

We don't remember them happening before MGJ brought her "style" to us.

We know the workers in that union (non-teaching) as loyal, hard working, respectable service providers and the District treats them with every disrespectful trick in the book to undercut their employment. And YES, the previous entry is right:they don't care because it's not their money...IT'S OURS!

Didn't someone once say: "As you treat the least of me, so you treat me"?

Maybe senior staff should read better material.
dan dempsey said…
"Maybe senior staff should read better material."

No time ... busy reading "Broad" manuals.

.... Now where is that section on public relations recommendations and strategies for any major crisis?
I have to wonder what will happen in the teacher contract negotiations. Dr. G-J has no experience in this coming from a right-to-work state. Couple that with her rigid belief in her way is the right way and I wonder how much real compromise and flexibility she will bring to the table.

I really, really hope there isn't a teachers strike but I have now seen, in action, the SEA reps and the Superintendent and I have to wonder how commitment either side is to making this work. Not that either wants a strike but how entrenched they are from the get go.
Sue said…
Well, if there is a strike, maybe it would cause us to lose mid-winter break in order to make up the time. (Silver lining!)
seattle citizen said…
Melissa, in my opinion the SEA has been working hard to collaborate with the district in a) some of its new initiatives, and b) recognizing we are in tough economic times.
That said, in my opinion the SEA should have some serious backbone and stand firm against craptitude: Though many claim otherwise, I believe union teachers care very much for students and use their collective power to steer policy in mnay ways. These upcoming talks, I hope, will be marked by strong union demands for proper pedagogy (as it is impacted by various workplace conditions) and from a place of principle: The district would like various changes to the working conditions (including classroom activities) of its employees; the union should ask that these changing conditions be daylighted, discussed, and assessed for validity as "best practice."
If there is not effort by both sides to speak openly about changes to the contract, including new initiatives in district systems, then the union should strike and I hope the public supports them in this.
A strike, IF supported by the public as a means to stengthen public dialogue about our schools, can be about more than just the teacher's pay.
wseadawg said…
Their behavior and attitudes have done nothing but sabotage any trust that ever existed. This group and MGJ are all about concentrated power and breaking the will of those who oppose them. The dynamic and narratives are already fixed in place. Respect for good teachers is not even talked about. The concessions being demanded are all in one direction. Until the district begins to understand that they work for us, it's going to be ugly, and I don't see changes on the horizon. What we are witnessing is a hostile takeover, plain and simple. We won't recognize our schools in a few years if we don't fight to protect what we know works, support the hard-working folks on the front lines, and ultimately confront and push-back hard against the dictatorial tactics of this district.

Why else is it posited that the teachers' unions, which, at their worst, protects 3 to 5% of people who don't deserve it, are somehow an existential threat to public schools if they don't cave in and cow-tow to the threats, bribery, and extortion of reformers and their "do it, or else" bullying tactics.

Sure, unions can be difficult to work with, but it's not like administrations aren't. A rudimentary understanding of history reveals whey they're necessary. (Despite 50% of The Times' knuckle-dragging commenters' opinions)

I don't see how the district will avoid a strike, given their confrontational, disrespectful, condescending, arrogant attitudes. What's more, they will probably relish the opportunity to use their buddies in the press to malign teachers even further should they strike. Do you think they'll be ANY objective coverage of the issues should teachers strike? Just watch.
wseadawg said…
Sheesh! My grammer and spelling stink today. Sorry for the eye-aches!
KG said…
Yet another lackey performance by MGJ and her in "Yes whatever you want pro business School Board"

I am sure they will continue to commit unfair labor practices against employees of the school district and will not care.

They are really commiting this unfair labor practice and really outright disrespect to the school children. But I guess when these leaders spend so much time in cubicles with their iimportant stature they do not think about this. Here is what the District catch words should say;



I hope that they at least change this so they would not be compromising the truth!!!!!
Josh Hayes said…
wseadawg writes:

"Do you think they'll be ANY objective coverage of the issues should teachers strike? Just watch."

Of course not: our choices are corporate media (KING, KIRO, and so on), and they are required by management to paint unions as terrible bad awful things -- and the Times, which is even more rabid about union issues.

If there winds up being a strike, you can bet that all the local media will beat the drums about how terrible unions are, and how we really need charter schools for precisely this reason. I, meanwhile, will be organizing parents to march on picket lines in support of teachers.
I will just point out that this is why the coalition group is working for the right to keep parents/community in the loop. We deserve to know what is being talked about. Posting the contract as they go along (which has been done in the past in Kent and Seattle) as well as posting negotiation points (within the extent of the law) will help keep us all informed. Frankly, I wouldn't count on virtually any media outlet to get it right when most of them do not know the nuances to the district as well as parents do.
wseadawg said…
For fun, we should record the number of times we hear "three months/summers off" and/or "accountability" from the media, the public, etc. if and when there's a strike or the threat of it.

I wouldn't dare make it a drinking game, as too many people would die.
MathTeacher42 said…
Ms. Westbrook at 10:53
As an SEA / WEA member, I have seen little to no ability from our leadership to take advantage of the internet to correct nonsense messaging from those looking to blame teachers for everything we don't control.
Our tactics and strategy seem stuck in the technological approaches to organizing from the 1930's, and the whining about the obvious media bias has been a staple "response" since the election disasters of 1980.
If I had more time, I'd put it into my kids / my job, not helping those who run for leadership roles do their job - so we share frustration.
Our kids certainly deserve more than incessant barrages of powerpoints from out of touch educrat consultants.

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