Skip to comments.WEAC has its own union troubles [WI teachers' union]
Posted on 09/12/2011 9:50:25 PM PDT by Hunton Peck
Wisconsin's largest teachers union has a problem.
A union problem.
This week, National Support Organization, which bills itself as the world's largest union of union staffers, posted an online notice discouraging its members from seeking work with the Wisconsin Education Association Council.
"Don't apply for WEAC vacancies!" screams the headline.
The reason for the boycott?
Chuck Agerstrand, president of the National Support Organization, is accusing WEAC officials of "breaching staff contracts and destroying any working relationship with its employees."
"WEAC management is taking a page out of Gov. (Scott) Walker's playbook and making up new employment rules not in the (United Staff Union) contract," Agerstrand said on the labor group's website. "They should be looking to the 42 employees they laid off to fill vacancies before they go outside the state."
In other words, the national labor organization says WEAC isn't following the agreed-upon rules for filling a vacancy after a round of staff cutbacks.
That's the allegation.
Not surprisingly, WEAC officials aren't talking.
Spokeswoman Christina Brey said Monday that she would try to offer a response but didn't before the end of the day.
Officials with the Wisconsin United Staff Union - the local affiliate of the National Support Organization and the United Staff Union that represents WEAC employees - could not be reached for comment.
Others were quicker to react.
Republicans said they found it rich with irony that one of the chief critics of Walker's collective bargaining bill apparently feels hamstrung by its own employee contracts.
"Ah, that's funny," said state Rep. Robin Vos, a Rochester Republican who is co-chairman of the Joint Finance Committee. "Perhaps it's a case of 'Do as I say, not as I do.' "
Walker's legislation not only limits collective bargaining but also clips the power of public employee unions. The measure requires local unions to hold annual recertification votes, prohibits employers from automatically deducting union dues from a public worker's payroll and allows bargaining-unit members to opt out of paying union dues altogether.
Lawmakers pushed through the changes amid massive protests and recall elections for nine state senators.
In the aftermath, WEAC issued layoff notices last month to 40% of its staff.
Dan Burkhalter, executive director of the teachers union, said at the time that the layoffs and budget cuts were based on a projected loss of revenue as a result of Walker's "union-busting legislation."
The fight between WEAC and the national union has to do with a recent job posting for executive director of the Racine Education Uniserv Council. The deadline to apply for the local position, which would oversee two union locals, is Sept. 30.
Agerstrand said in his online post that WEAC management recently came up with a new rule for employees who have been laid off. According to Agerstrand, the rule says "an employee must have successfully passed a year's probation in the job he/she wants to bump into or the employee has no recall rights." He said this rule is contrary to WEAC's contract with the United Staff Union, which is challenging the provision.
The national labor boss said he is calling on his thousands of members to avoid applying for any WEAC jobs "until our colleagues have their position restored."
"WEAC staff played an important role in the rallies and protests against the governor's anti-union legislation and in keeping WEAC a viable organization. And this is how they're rewarded for their efforts?" Agerstrand asked. "It's unconscionable that WEAC is going outside the state to fill jobs when they (have) 42 NSO members out of work."
Cullen Werwie, spokesman for the governor, declined to comment on the dispute.
Vos was there to offer the Republican take.
"Gov. Walker tried to give tools to municipalities in order to manage the reductions," Vos said. "WEAC said those tools wouldn't work. It's interesting that they are now using the exact same ones for themselves."
The NSO notice is currently at http://www.nationalstaff.org/, but there's no permalink yet, so it may not be there when you read this.
Another WI ping!
Snicker, giggle... BWHAHAHAHAAHHAA!!!!
Annual recertification votes, eh? Howmuchyoowannabet that by this same time next year there won’t be a WEAC?
I doubt they can survive without the mandatory dues deduction they’ve relied on in the past.
If their demise is hastened by the unions’ eating their own, well, ‘tis a consummation devoutly to be wish’d!
More human sacrifice from the party of the little guy.
Ain’t that a hoot? Do as I say, not as I do, at its most obvious!
Unions have unions? I don't get this. Really.
If there’s a union of union staffers’ union staffers, it’s probably a sign that the Gordian Knot of mutually-supporting parasite organizations has gotten too tangled to be undone....