Public School Employees Support McKenna

In something of a shocker, the Stranger Slog is reporting the following:

The union representing 26,000 "educational support professionals" in the public school system says today that Republican Rob McKenna can do in the governor's mansion what Democrat Jay Inslee can't. He can restore funding for K-12 education (even though he's never convincingly explained how he can do this without crushing employee unions). Meanwhile, Inslee is "too committed to preserving the status quo." 

The union is Public School Employees of Washington/SEIU 1948.   The WEA, Washington Education Association, is endorsing Inslee. One issue that has split the education workers' unions is health care benefits.

From a Q&A on this issue:

 Won’t Rob McKenna take away our collective bargaining rights? 

We are a union and we strongly support collective bargaining. Rob McKenna has said over and over 
again during this campaign that he is not interested in taking away public employee collective bargaining 
rights. We take him at his word that he respects our right to collective bargaining and that he will be a 
tough, but fair negotiator. 

As a life-time Democrat, I can only say, good luck with that one, kids.  I guess they missed the outcome of the recent Wisconsin election.  I guess they missed the Romney statement that we don't need more police or teachers.

Shouldn’t all education unions stick together and support the same candidate for governor?  

Again, PSE respects the fact that every union has its own member constituency, priorities, and process 
for endorsing a candidate. We represent only school and university support staff. Unlike other education 
unions, PSE spent several months meeting with both candidates in this race. We didn’t grandstand, or 
rig our process to favor one candidate over another. We were extremely fair, impartial, and arrived at 
this decision after a comprehensive, 10‐month process. 

First, that's certainly sounds fair and thoughtful.  That said, it seems there are some major issues between these unions and it certainly could be a factor in the elections in November.


Anonymous said…
Walker never said anything about busting public unions and eliminating collective bargaining while he was running for governer. It was only after he was elected that he started in on the unions. I don't trust McKenna on union rights or on my right as a woman to make my own health care decisions.

Jen said…
McKenna wouldn't even meet with the WEA. They rescheduled their endorsement interview for him and then he canceled at the last minute.
Anonymous said…
They’ll have voters remorse when he opts to privatize all their jobs.

Anonymous said…
I think this gets down to class warfare again. If I understand correctly, these people are support staff and not educators of any sort. So they resent teachers and educators and their status. McKenna signed on to a republican vendetta against bringing us closer to healthcare for all. I'm sorry to say this but this is an example of the less informed wanting more for themselves without understanding the risks they're takiing.

If my take is too superficial or I don't understand the make up of this group, let me know. But it sure sounds like more tea party politics.

Anonymous said…
I'd like to know the make up of this collective: men to women. My experience with men in custodial services is not good. A lot of lazy oafs. Also, when electricians or carpenters come into the building, they do what they want in their own time.

Just yesterday I was reading commentary having to do with women's pay compared to men and the author cited an example which for the life of me I cannot remember and which basically said that when an industrialist replaced men with women he got fifty percent more productivity. I'm going to search for that or hope that the names resurface in my brain. Darn! It was someone you'd know and it was a current example.

Anonymous said…
Better clarify that I"m talking about blue collar and low-skill type jobs. There are a lot of men who work extremely hard in various industries. I know that. Including education.

Jack Whelan said…
We're living in a time when hardly anybody--the very rich or union leadership, which supposedly represents the interests of its rank-and-file workers--sees the big picture. The ship can sink so long as each faction has its own lifeboat and enough booty to live comfortably when it makes landfall.

The contemporary ethos is Social Darwinist. There are the winners and there are the losers, there are those clever enough to play the game, and there are the fools who don't, and for the former expediency always trumps principle.

It looks like the SEIU has decided that McKenna is going to win this thing, and it's cut its deal. Its leadership no doubt thinks itself clever, but because it doesn't see the big picture, it does not realize that in hitching its little coracle to the GOP launch, it will be swamped and dragged under in its wake.

But you also have to ask: What is going on in the Inslee camp? Are the people there as magnificently clueless as they seem? It's so dispiriting.
Sahila said…
@Jack - you want to know what's going on? the plutarchy is (finally) cementing its control of the country in place - that's what's going on, and (s)people are literally, too stupid, too asleep to see it...

George Carlin - education and the american dream
Paul said…
PSE is not a union but instead calls themselves an "Educational Association". They most definately DO NOT represent SEIU or any other union in the labor community or AFL-CIO.

They represent folks in rural areas of the state. Their representatives are known to say they "got the districts nobody else wanted" and really do a poor service to those who pay dues to them.

It is unfortunate that comments are being made about whole classes of people (like the working class) based upon the foolish leanings of this truly back-water bunch of folks who operate on the fringes of labor, education and society.

Its the leadership! Or lack thereof.
mirmac1 said…
Well said Paul. Thx for the tip on PSE (too bad it sounds alot like SEA...)
Anonymous said…
Thank you for explaining, Paul. Either they are mislabeling themselves or the PR is wrong if you are correct. Do you know which?

I believe women and people in the social services (education included) are fighting a battle on several fronts. Males used to have all the power. There is a large segment that resents women in their territory. Those old resentments are being brought to the surface. It is all part of the whole.

Do you know from which groups they are comprised? Who are they?

Anonymous said…
Perhaps I misunderstood: are these people teachers, support staff like IAs, facilities people? You said "got the districts nobody else wanted." I don't understand that.

Anonymous said…
n - looks like support staff, not teachers. He’s referring to the union/association reps when he says “got the districts nobody else wanted”. There are some areas that are much more active than others - more of the good, hard-working reps like to get those. Other areas are so uninvolved or get involved only to make choices that basically shoot them in the foot, that no one (good) usually wants to be a rep for those areas.

Anonymous said…
I just looked up their website. Twenty-six thousand support staff is a good-sized group. They represent Monroe, Yelm, Richland, South Kitsap, Mt. Baker, Arlington, Federal Way, Wenatchee, Western University in Bellingham . . . They are a mixture of men and women in classified positions. I don't consider those districts inconsequential outliers. Granted, they are not urban areas but they are growing areas and obviously reflect the rural red we've come to know. As school employees, they should know better.

Anonymous said…
I wonder if they think charter schools will pay them more . . .

Couldn't help myself, sorry:)

Anonymous said…
the root of this foolishness is found in the salons in the 'nice' neighborhoods of Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, Wallingford, West Seattle ... where the relatively affluent 'moderate' Democrats leaders live.

For decades, they've sold the little guy down the river for 1 more election, 1 more crap "health" care lie, 1 more junk retraining program, 1 more random unemployment 'security', 1 more set of thieving Wall Streets living large -

let's suppose that this group looks at the exalted college degrees of those Democrats who've consistently betrayed them, and they've decided to go with good old fashioned honest thieving liars, like McKenna - Reagan - Eyman?

and ... WHAT are they getting from Gore? I mean Dukakis ... Kerry ... I mean Obama ... I mean Inslee and Cantwell ?? the same ol same ol right wing talking points and, ultimately, the same sell outs... with sprinklings of random decent social policy ... as we all race to the bottom.

Paul said…

Oh, they have supported Charters as well, in years past.

They "represent" 26k but far fewer pay dues to them as they have non-secure "open shops" (think mini-right to work) contracts where members choose whether or not to pay dues.

This makes them kind of "attention grabbers" who seek to stand out, no matter how looney the position.

They pay their leadership huge salaries and do little for members working daily in schools.

In fact, when Randy Dorn left his position as Director there 4 years ago, he cried about the salary cut he was taking to make the $ 130k job he has now.

Before that, his predessessors (no names please to avoid "administrator's" "removal") were both found to haver gauged the state pension system for huge pensions based on their inflated salaries.

Its the DISTRICTS "nobody wanted" because in Eastern Washington, each town has 6 or so members (and maybe only 2 pay dues). Not exactly "density".
Steve said…
Anyone who seeks to learn more about PSE should ask a non-teaching employee of Highline SD.

Highline WAS the centerpiece of PSE and the district where they got their start (founder lived nearby) UNTIL 3 years ago, the workers rose up and voted PSE OUT and the Teamsters in.

Things got immediately better and all of us (over 1000 employees) know that things got better immediately!

Nancy said…
I hope someone will write an expose on this "not really a union" union (as a letter to the editor or an article).
"McKenna also picked up an endorsement from the Public School Employees of Washington on Monday, the state's largest union representing educational support workers. The group endorsed Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire in 2004 and 2008."
Dave said…
"it seems there are some major issues between these unions" is really too simplistic.

There are "major issues" between PSE and EVERY SINGLE UNION that represents school workers (other than teachers) in Washington State, including SEIU.

Check the health benefits issue from this last session; every union in Washington State opposed the "state plan" which PSE supported. The state AFL-CIO was on record opposing it.

Only the Republicans and a couple of their fellow travelors, supported it. That's why it ended up in failure.
Anonymous said…
Paul, PSE is a local of SEIU and is definitely a union.

n..., a number of the members of PSE are educator, just not certificated ones. They also represent custodians and other non-certificated school employees.

a quiet little observer
Anonymous said…
There are some issues between the WEA and PSE SEIU. The major being the rising cost of health care in k12. If you do your research there is quite the relationship between one of the largest healthcare providers - permera and the WEA.

I also have to point out that perhapse PSE staff saying they got the one no one wanted may be taken a different way. Maybe PSE isn't all about the big cash cows school districts - maybe they believe in representing any group that needs help no matter how small the group. I looked at their website and they repesent a fair number of large and small school districts as well as WWU and CWU.

Their membership includes administrative support staff, IT professionals, Paraeducators, food service employees, bus drivers, security, custodians, maintenance trade employees, grounds crews, secretarial support, nurses, speech language pathology assistants and more.

I'm not sure why they endorsed McKenna but they interviewd both several times. Prehapse Inslee interviewed very poorly or maybe he was to vested in the WEA. Either way it will be interesting to see how things play out.
Ed said…
PSE so strongly "supports collective bargaining" that their centerpiece of legislation last session was a bill (SB 6640-opposed by EVERY UNION representing workers)that would have given them away locally and let the state decide what workers receive and pay.

Thats a Bizarro world they live in.
Lisa said…
Its also the group that praised the (Zarelli) budget passed by the Senate after the notorious 3 "Dems" crossed over. That budget cut millions and millions from education, mostly from higher ed.

I wonder what those folks at those colleges thought of their "Educational Association" then.

As soon as this was pointed out to Senate Democrats, PSE took it down. That was when it was clear PSE would support McKenna in summer.

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