I left this bit out of my Bylaws Committee write-up (original post HERE) in an effort to keep the piece short, and it wasn’t really relevant to the point I was making. However, everyone I’ve told about this comment says that it’s too big of a deal to keep to myself. You can be the judge.
While justifying why the SDEA Bylaws should be changed to require all the Board officers to publicly support all Board decisions, SDEA President Bill Freeman gave the example of the TA in June. He said that if the TA hadn’t passed, that the District could have taken us to impasse and that would have been a disaster. At the time, I found the comment funny because the “disaster” that would have been imposed on us would be the exact same new contract that we now have. I had to shake my head because only now will Freeman admit that he opened our contract, that we could have been taken to impasse, and that it wasn’t an MOU or a Side Letter but, in fact, they sat down and bargained a new contract.
“Impasse” is what the District can declare when a deadlock has been reached in bargaining, allowing them to impose their last, best, final offer — which is what the SDEA concessions bargaining team had already swallowed. Impasse is something that can only happen when a union contract is open and contract negotiations are occurring.
Last June, members asked over and over again if SDEA was opening our contract by sitting down to “talk” about concessions with the District. Over and over again SDEA leadership and staff all told members that no, it would not open our contract. Bill Freeman even stood up in front of everyone at the raucous June Rep. Council, put on his best I’m-so-offended-anyone-could-accuse-me-of-anything routine, and emphatically stated that he wouldn’t open our contract. So either SDEA staff and leadership were boldfaced lying to our 7,000 members during the whole TA process, or they were completely incompetent and didn’t realize what they were doing until after the fact. Either way, I’m not really reassured.
— by Shane Parmely, Twain and Garfield High Schools