Monday, August 23, 2010

Los Angeles Teacher Union Election Update

Race is on to lead LA teachers union - See article below Andy Grigg analysis

Analysis by Andy Grigg

When all three candidates for Presidents that I am aware of (there could be more), have published platforms and statements, I will be glad to comment. I do think there will be some contention among some of the "progressive" elements of the union, and maybe some challenges from past leadership as well.

At this time, Julie Washington (terming out as Elementary Vice President), Jordan Henry (mentioned in the original post), and Mat Taylor (South Area Chair and Board of Directors) have announced for President; Julie has a full slate running with her for the 7 citywide offices; Mat has two other people running, and I do not know whether Jordan has others running with him.

Duffy, termed out current President, is running for CTA Vice-President; Josh Pechthalt, termed out AFT Vice President, is running for the presidency of CFT. David Goldberg, current Treasurer, is on the CTA Board of Directors, and is eligible for at least another term there. Betty Forrester, current first term Secretary, is running for AFT Vice President (on Julie Washington's slate). I am assuming Ana Valencia, current NEA VP, and Gregg Solkovitts, current Secondary VP will run again, and at least in Ana's case will be challenged.
UTLA is run on a day to day basis by the seven citywide released officers (President, NEA Vice President, AFT Vice President, Secondary Vice President, Elementary Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer). There are 49 members of the Board of Directors; the 7 citywide officers; 4 Directors from each of the 8 geographical areas (3 NEA, 1 AFT) elected by the members in that particular area, and the special constituency Directors (Bilingual Ed, Adult/Occupational Ed, Early Childhood Ed, Health and Human Services, Special Ed, Substitutes, Year-round Schools, UTLA-PACE, UTLA-Retired, and the immediate past president, elected by members of those constituencies, except the PACE Director, appointed by the President. The Board of Directors meets monthly and implements the policies adopted by the House of Representatives, as well as making fiscal decisions and the overall management of the union.

The House of Representatives meets from 8-10 times annually, and members are elected in the areas (it consists of about 350 members). Elections for these positions are at the Area meetings (about 8 a year), and only those who attend meetings vote (generally chapter chairs from each site). This is the group which formulates UTLA policy.

One of the progressive caucuses of the union, PEAC (Progressive Educators for Action), which has in the past two elections joined and supported a coalition slate called United Action, has made initial statements that has said they will put up candidates for Board of Directors in the eight ; and are formulating their own platform. They will interview candidates for citywide office who ask for their endorsement, and decide who to support. 

I would assume that other candidates will make themselves known this weekend at the UTLA leadership conference or in the near future. Since balloting is by mail, turnout is usually small, and it is incumbent upon candidates to garner as much support as they can among chapter chairs (building reps), who then often pass on their recommendations to the members at their site.

It should be an interesting election, with voting in early 2011.

Race is on to lead LA teachers union
By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/19/2010 10:42:08 PM PDT
Updated: 08/19/2010 10:45:26 PM PDT

Launching election season for the leadership of the Los Angeles teachers union, veteran educator Jordan Henry announced Thursday he plans to run for president of United Teachers Los Angeles.
Henry, a teacher with Los Angeles Unified since 1994, said he wanted to provide new leadership for the union, which he said has lost public support because of its tactics.
"I believe this union has been conflict driven for so long that now, faced with innumerable conflict, we've got few partners and little public collateral," Henry said.
He made his announcement during an education forum in Hollywood on Thursday sponsored by the website and magazine Good Inc. and the University of Phoenix.
Henry, 39, currently teaches English at Santee High School in downtown Los Angeles. In 2003-04, he took a break from the classroom to work in the office of then-school board president Marlene Canter.
"UTLA is a union 42,000 members strong," he said. "We are either going to lead this city and state ... or stand in the way. That is why I am running for president of UTLA."
Julie Washington, UTLA's elementary school vice president, is also expected to run for president in the union's February election. UTLA's current president, A.J. Duffy, is termed out after serving two three-year terms.

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