Member Blog Post: Reflections on the Voting Process

After weeks of angst, the results are in.  Bill Freeman announced at about 3:15 this afternoon that the Tentative Agreement passed.  An incredible 4,501 SDEA members turned out to vote.  The TA passed with 67% of members voting for it, and 33% of the members voting against it.  Honestly, based on our experiences at the voting site for the past three days, a number of other members and I expected this to pass by a much narrower margin if at all, which does bring a few things into question.

Before I launch into that, I do need to commend the Election Committee on the job that they have done.  When we arrived this morning, the process was first explained to us, step by step.  The committee ensured that everything was visible to the observers at all times.  We were told how the ballot box was secured at night, and were invited to go and look in the ballot box and ensure that no ballots remained in there once they were removed. We were also shown the empty cardboard boxes in front of the thirteen ballot counters, so that we could see that there were no hidden ballots.

The counters then tallied their envelopes to make sure that the number of envelopes matched the number of signatures on the sign-in sheet.  At first there was a discrepancy with the numbers, so the envelopes and signatures were counted and recounted.  Eventually, the numbers were only off by one, and in some cases it was difficult to decipher whether there were one or two signatures on the adjacent lines.

After that, the envelopes were opened.  Then the ballots were removed and separated into ‘yes’ and ‘no’ piles by each counter and tallied.  Each ballot stack was then recounted by another counter to ensure that the numbers matched.  Once this was done, the results were recorded and Bill Freeman was called in to read the results.

Again, I must say that the process conducted by the Election Committee today was professional and above board.  However, what happened in between the time the polls opened and when the vote was counted today?  The ballot box was securely stored at SDEA.  There is a lock on the side of the ballot box to open the door, and the committee chairs each had a copy of the key. While the Election Committee take their job very seriously, it is still debatable to some members whether or not someone could have tampered with the ballots.  Many SDEA staff and leadership have keys to the SDEA office and the room the ballot box was stored in, and were on the overnight access list provided to the security guard. Detecting such tampering would be nearly impossible due to the lack of the exterior envelopes signed by each voter.  In any case, these results are not a mandate by any means.  Even if the votes are accurate, at least a third of the voters disagree with the current course of action our union is taking, as do many people who were out of town and unable to vote.  And many ‘yes’ voters cited their lack of faith in the ability of SDEA leadership to negotiate a better deal than the one presented as their primary reason for voting to ratify the TA.  Some serious improvements and/or changes need to be implemented to restore member confidence in the leadership abilities of the SDEA Board.

We hope you will continue to work with us on these concerns in the future.

Megan Sussman

5 thoughts on “Member Blog Post: Reflections on the Voting Process

  1. I am so grateful to everyone who rose to the occasion and did what it took to give my job back to me. My three children thank you. They can let go of their fear of being homeless now.

  2. This is a sad day for many teachers. The union lies and it will continue to lie to manipulate us to vote the way it wants us to vote. The YES voters clearly did not understand the tentative agreement. Their eyes were blinded by
    “save jobs” and other pieces of fiction. I am glad you are not “homeless” Mary, but teachers who want to retire after 25 years plus of service may be “homeless” if they do. You YES voters were the prey and you took the bait this pathetic union dangled in front of you. You were conned and now we all will pay.

    16 years ago, I went on strike against this district. We stayed out one week for “Rights and Respect.” All the progress we made has been wiped out with not a magic trick, but an illusion. SDEA deliberately divided teachers by promising to keep everyone. Who can promise that without a state budget? There still will be lay-offs.
    No trick, just smoke and mirrors-divide the members and conquer. We were putty in the hands of SDEA and the district is laughing all the way. We crumbled, we are weaker, not stronger. SDUSD must delight in our fracture.

    Let’s see if SDEA honors anything they have said in the last few days. They have a history of bending the truth to suit their needs. Many of you have not been ignored in this district long enough to know that. Let’s talk in 20 years when SDEA let’s you down again and again by not doing the job we pay them to do-NEGOTIATE and bargain.

    How convenient to have a vote when traditional schools were on break. One third of my fellow staff members were on vacation and would have voted NO! Year-round schools did not have this obstacle as they were in session.

    I hope the voters help us out in November-but HELLO who is going to pay more taxes in this economy? I hope this gamble pays off because if it doesn’t you will face “homelessness” again next year and you won’t have health care either.

    All the best.

    Still waiting for those administrators to make concessions..hmm..

  3. I am sorry you were on the chopping block, but don’t get too comfortable. There is nothing to guarantee your job next year. I would look for more stable employment if I were you. I myself voted no because after being employed for 23 years I see this is no solution to an ongoing problem.

  4. Pingback: We Have Legitimate Questions, and We Have HOPE! « The Breakfast Club Action Group

  5. I’m a realist and sent this message to Bill Freeman and Terry Pesta (leader of the incompetent negotiating team) when they asked for volunteers to support the tax initiative:

    Good Morning Bill and Terry,

    Due to the current state of affairs, I will not be volunteering my time to SDEA. My time and effort will be used on securing another job to supplement my loss of income due to the TA approved 19 furlough days and the expected rejection of the tax initiative.

    If you know of any students needing tutoring in mathematics (especially algebra) I would appreciate the recommendation. I anticipate my services will be needed with the loss of instructional days. I’m available on Monday and Wednesday for math tutoring; Tuesday and Thursday are the days I coach tennis.

    Frank Lucero
    YTSD instructor/ math consultant

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