posted at 9:21 am on April 22, 2014 by Mike Antonucci
My apologies if this ends up sounding like a dispatch from some war-torn Third World country, but it really is a tale from southeastern Maryland.
The elected officers and members of the board of directors of the Wicomico County Education Association (WCEA) scheduled a rank-and-file vote for the 1,000-member local union to end its affiliation with the Maryland State Education Association and the National Education Association. The issues were the usual ones in such cases – the local officers felt an awful lot of dues money was going up the line to the parent unions in exchange for not much in services for the local. After last week’s events, that vote – scheduled for April 28 and 29 – is very much up in the air.
Upset by the actions of WCEA’s board, Gary Hammer, a union site representative at Bennett Middle School, began circulating petitions to recall all the WCEA officers and members of the board, and to suspend them from office until the recall took place. Hammer and his supporters claim to have gathered 700 signatures, which would constitute a majority of the bargaining unit.
Last Tuesday, Hammer and others “entered the WCEA offices, changed the locks and codes, removed or altered office equipment and purported to illegally fire the Association’s only employee.” According to WCEA president Kelly Stephenson, “These actions were not taken in accordance with the governing documents of WCEA or in accordance with the law.”
Stephenson insists the disaffiliation vote will go on as scheduled.
As any good coup plotters would, Hammer and his associates seized the radio station, er, union web page. They have posted this message while deleting much of the site’s previous content:
On April 15 a majority of the members of the Wicomico County Education Association stood together and took necessary steps to prevent a small minority of members from dismantling the union with attempts to disaffiliate from our state and national Associations. The members have spoken and have declared that we are stronger together, and the support we have from the Maryland State Education and National Education Association adds to that strength. We have collected the necessary signatures to recall the officers of WCEA and have put an interim board of managers in place, effective immediately. This board will assume day to day operations of the Association and will move to conduct an election of a new slate of officers. These actions clearly reflect the wishes of the majority of our members who are anxious to move forward and who remain committed to giving Wicomico County’s public school students the excellent instruction and service they deserve.
It seems almost beside the point to note that there is no provision in WCEA’s by-laws to remove the union’s entire elected leadership with a single petition whose signatures have not been verified by any independent authority. Nor is there any provision for the summary displacement of elected officers by an unelected “board of managers.” Nor have the charges contained in the recall petition been examined to see if they meet the recall requirements set out in the by-laws.
It is beside the point because the legality of such actions becomes secondary once you have succeeded in pulling them off. The American Federation of Teachers has turned into an art the recapture of rogue locals, with one such incident being declared illegal by the U.S. Department of Labor, and moot at the same time. A similar disaffiliation vote will take place next month in Modesto, California, though the California Teachers Association does seems to regard it as a legitimate election.
A legal battle will almost certainly arise out of this, but if the WCEA officers want to retain office, they had best respond to the coup’s tactics in like manner.
This is just another, among many, example of thuggish behavior by unions. This time it is the unions sending union goons against their own members to oust legally elected officers and Board members. It matters not that the actions of the state and national unions were illegal. If the local union doesn’t act quickly, it will become moot. The national unions have the force and assistance of the NRLB behind them.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is all in a twitter. Those nasty Republicans are planning on cutting taxes and he’s vowed to veto the bill if it arrives on his desk. He’s so upset that he and his budget director will tour the state today to announce his response against those evil Republicans who want to cut taxes.
From PoliticMO Newsletter, April 22, 2014:
NIXON’S NEW TAX MESSAGE — A FATAL LAW. Gov. Jay Nixon dispatched his legal counsel and budget director to carry a new line on monday that Senate Bill 509 carries a fatal flaw that could cost the state billions. The issue is with Line 43 on Page 2, which reads, “The bracket for income subject to the top rate of tax shall be eliminated once the top rate of tax has been reduced to five and one-half percent.” Counsel Ted Ardini: “The bracket for income subject to the top rate is… over 9,000 dollars… Once that hits 5.5 percent, this provision tells us to eliminate the top tax bracket. Once you eliminate the top tax bracket, it becomes over #8,000 and under $9,000… If your Missouri income is greater than 9,000 you have no tax bracket and no tax rate. … By the elimination of the over 9,000 tax bracket, there’s no where to go.”
State Representative John Diehl responds:
HOUSE MAJORITY FLOOR LEADER JOHN DIEHL: The “Governor’s contention of #SB509 flaw is laughable. MO SupCt would never take his position on that reading of that bill.” “It’s a pattern of scare tactics and deception to avoid the real issue… Never once did they identify some hole in the bill.… We were and are confident that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this bill.” — PoliticMO Newsletter, April 22, 2014.
Jay Nixon has never met a tax he didn’t like.
In my opinion, Rasmussen is and has been one of the most accurate polling groups in the country. They are not always right, but on the average, they are correct more than any of their competitors. Each week they present a rolling poll on Congress…which party is more preferred. Historically, the dems usually have the edge by a percentage point or two. In fact, I cannot remember when the ‘Pubs were on top.
This week they were.
Generic Congressional Ballot: Republicans 41%, Democrats 40%
Republicans have edged ahead of Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot for the week ending Sunday, April 20.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 41% of Likely U.S. Voters would vote for the Republican in their district’s congressional race if the election were held today, while 40% would choose the Democrat instead.
The last time this switch occurred was during the week of February 4th, 2014.
An article appeared yesterday in the American Thinker. Mark Levin spent some time discussing it on his program and his FB page. It is an analysis of John Boehner and it isn’t, by any means, complimentary.
Lawfare is a particularly vile tactic. It does, however, have a large degree of success by cherry-picking cases that incrementally enhances the agenda of its practitioners.