Schamp Likely Recalled; Support for Our Union Reform Movement Grows

SDEA Board Member Dennis Schamp Likely Recalled

After sixty days of hard work, the recall petitioners for SDEA Board member Dennis Schamp will submit his recall petition to the SDEA Elections Committee tomorrow afternoon. The petitioners believe they have met the signature threshold to successfully recall Schamp, but cannot be sure since SDEA refused to tell recall petition filers how many signatures were actually required. The Elections Committee will have ten calendar days to verify that enough signatures have been collected. According to Elections Committee Co-Chair Karen Ellsworth, only she and fellow Co-Chair Kandi Nieto will ever see the actual names and signatures on the petition. The petitions will be held in a secure envelope with Ellsworth and Nieto’s signatures across the tape and paper, and then shredded after thirty days.

Congratulations to recall petition filer Stephanie Marble (Clairemont High School). She was joined by scores of secondary teachers all over SDEA Board Area Three in organizing a strong campaign to hold their elected representative accountable.

Recall Effort Builds Long-term Strength and Infrastructure for Our Reform Movement

The petition filers for SDEA President Bill Freeman (and the other five Board members who ran on his “No Layoffs, No Concessions” slate but then voted for concessions) did not submit recall petitions today. But we feel pretty damn good about the hard work that members all over SDEA did together over the past sixty days, and the implications for our long-term efforts to reshape our union. We are proud to announce that more people signed our recall petition than voted for Bill Freeman in either of the last two SDEA elections when he ran for President. In fact, far more people signed than voted at all in the last election. The same is true for SDEA Treasurer Manuel Gomez and SDEA Board members Eleanor Evans, Erin Kole, and Scott Mullin.

Combined with the hundreds more union members who directly told us that they wouldn’t sign the petition only because they were afraid of what SDEA — their own union — would do to them if they did, that means that many hundreds more of us are now paying attention to our union’s governance than have paid attention in years. That’s a really good thing, because there’s a lot more looming on our collective horizon.

Here are the successes we’ve built together over the past sixty days, thanks to all of your hard work:

  • We have expanded our network to include hundreds more members, growing both our online and on-the-ground organizing capacity.
  • We now have solid lead contacts at dozens more schools throughout the District than we did before.
  • We have inspired many more members to become involved in our union by running for AR or CR at their site, and beginning to attend Rep. Council and speak up.
  • We successfully increased participation in SDEA’s campaign to pass Prop. 30 and defeat Prop. 32.
  • And despite a concerted, joint effort by the leadership of SDEA and SDUSD to crack down on our recall and organizing efforts, we know definitively that there are well over 1,000 of us who are committed to returning our union to a position of strength and unity over the next two years as SDEA Board seats become open.

We knew this would be an uphill battle, and we’re incredibly proud of how far we have pushed the rock up the hill so far. Remember, eight months ago we didn’t even exist! And now we have an increasingly strong and influential voice in the direction of our union (just take a look at a recent Rep. Council agenda to see whether or not our union is paying attention to the concerns we’re raising). And we are just getting started! When we formed the Breakfast Club, we knew we were embarking on a marathon, not a sprint. It was never about Camille Zombro or “sour grapes.” It was never about the Tentative Agreement. It was never about this recall. Our work in the Breakfast Club has always been about keeping our union strong and transparent over the long haul, and we remain as committed to that goal now as we were when we formed eight months ago.

Where do we go from here?

We go forward together. First and foremost, six of the sixteen SDEA Board seats will be open this March. If we run a strong slate and we sweep that election, that means we’ll hold a voting majority on the SDEA Board starting next fall when we go into bargaining our next contract. In the meantime, we need to make sure our union leadership fights for the immediate implementation of our post-Prop. 30 January raise. Already at last night’s Rep. Council, Executive Director Tim Hill said we may not see the “January” raise or any raise at all until July 1, 2014! (More on that in a few days.) We need to make sure our union doesn’t buckle again under the false threat of layoffs. Plus, we know the SDEA leadership will resume their efforts to scale back union democracy and centralize decision-making power through their revisions to our Bylaws. We need to continue to attend Rep. Council and speak up. Now is the time to get involved and stay involved.

The members of the Breakfast Club will keep you updated about our next steps. We’ll be focusing on launching a Breakfast Club Organizing Team, making sure we have a BC Organizer at every site, improving the way we communicate with you, and building a strong slate to run for the SDEA Board in March.

We hope you all have a restful and well-deserved Thanksgiving Break. We are thankful to have colleagues as wonderful and dedicated as all of you, and we are thankful for the opportunity to continue working together to strengthen our union in the months ahead!

— The SDEA members the Breakfast Club, a union reform caucus

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