WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers today placed the Washington Teachers’ Union under administratorship to ensure that democratic procedures are followed promptly for the 2010 WTU internal elections. This action is part of an ongoing effort by the AFT to ensure that the WTU elections are carried out in a manner consistent with the WTU constitution and does not currently involve the day-to-day operations of the WTU.
According to the WTU constitution, elections were supposed to be held last spring, with the installation of new officers by July 1. For various reasons, starting with the failure to properly elect an elections committee, that election was delayed. The AFT intervened to manage that initial concern, but unfortunately, the new election committee was stymied in its attempt to carry out the election.
“The AFT intervened for one purpose only—to ensure that the WTU membership has the right to a timely and fair election of its officers,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “Intervention like this is uncommon, and we avoid in every way possible involving ourselves in political differences between union officers.”
The AFT said the WTU is refusing to comply with an Aug. 4 AFT executive council order requiring the union to begin election procedures immediately. This order was the result of an investigation conducted by the AFT in July. The investigation produced a number of findings, one of which was that the election process should begin immediately, with the AFT managing the proceedings.
In an Aug. 16 letter, the holdover officials of the WTU—President George Parker and the WTU executive board—informed the AFT that they did not intend to adhere to the ruling of the investigative committee, prompting the AFT to declare the administratorship.
“The 4,000-plus members of the WTU deserve an election process that is democratic, fair, transparent and timely,” Weingarten said. “We are confident in our ability to work through the current difficulties to provide them with the chance to properly elect their leaders.”