The lowlifes who ran the Washington Teachers Union as their personal piggy bank for seven years are gone from the scene, but the effects of their reign of embezzlement and money-laundering are still around. The 4,500-member union, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, is facing a Labor Department civil suit over apparent irregularities in local elections held during December 2004-January 2005. The DOL filed the complaint in federal court on February 15, arguing that “violations…may have affected the outcome of the defendant’s elections.” If successful, the earlier results would be voided, and a new election would have to be held. The suit was prompted by complaints to the department by four union members, one of whom had run unsuccessfully for president.
The local leadership insists the election was fully in accordance with established procedures for union elections. “We believe that once the facts are reviewed, the WTU membership and the public will conclude that the election was conducted in the fairest and most democratic manner possible and that all candidates were afforded an equal and fair opportunity to be elected,” remarked President George Parker. Likewise the AFT, which supervised the election and ran the local for two years after giving ex-President Barbara Bullock and her cronies the boot, defends its decision. It recently sent letters to local teachers defending the elections as “neutral and fair.” The parent federation reviewed the challenges, but eventually decided the complaints “failed to meet the burden of proof.”
The four local members who filed the challenges see a cover-up. “I don’t believe that the Washington Teachers Union and the AFT ever gave any credence to what we were telling them,” said Elizabeth Davis, who had finished third in a field of three in the presidential election. “It’s repeating the same practice of pretending not to know.” Davis alleges that she had informed the federation that some teachers never received their ballots in the mail and that others who were ineligible somehow voted. Last May the AFT sent Davis, Jerome Brocks, Benita J. Nicholson and Vernita Jefferson a letter informing them that the evidence did not merit a full investigation. Whatever the imperfections in the mailed ballots, the letter stated, they did not affect the results. As for whether the local will have to hold another election, the local members can take comfort in the fact that the regime taking office can hardly be as bad as the now-convicted den of thieves that had made off with around $5 million before getting caught. (Washington Times, 2/22; 2/27).