I was one of roughly 100 SDEA members who attended the SDEA Fall Leadership Conference on Saturday.
By Shane Parmely, SDEA Board Candidate/CTA State Council Delegate
The point of the conference was to prepare us for the upcoming bargaining campaign. While the actual training portion of the conference was pragmatic and gave us the chance to talk to other union members about our contract campaign, it seemed like SDEA President Bill Freeman went a bit off script.
During his “state of the union” address, Freeman rattled off what he considers to be the victories of our union during the three years of his presidency. These included some grievance victories as well as the member petition that drove out former SDUSD CFO Stan “Data” Dobbs … a petition that The Breakfast Club started and got endorsed by Rep. Council! He also referenced enforcing our contract language and us finally getting a 2% pay restoration as one of our union’s victories. Obviously, a lot of us see that a little differently, (especially after watching the principals get 5% and the police get 7% pay increases THIS year!) and have spent the past year pushing to strengthen our union and its resolve so that we don’t have to pretend we have a strong contract—we can actually bargain one again.
But the real L-O-L moment came at the end of Freeman’s speech, which was devoted to praising SDEA Vice President Lindsay Burningham:
Finally, I’d like to offer a special thank you to my friend and vice president, Lindsay Burningham. As vice president, Lindsay has shown an unbelievable commitment to all of us educators. She’s sat at the bargaining table opposite the District and worked to hold them accountable numerous times.
I can quote the exact text because shortly after Freeman delivered this speech, SDEA emailed it to all 7,000 members, and then posted it on the SDEA Facebook. Many people noticed this blatant plug and emailed and called us to make sure we had noticed it. Yeah… it was pretty hard to miss. (And, yes, we saw the pictures of Burningham and Malykke Bacon, who is also part of the Freeman/Burningham slate this election, featured in the latest SDEA Advocate newsletter, too.)
Freeman, I’m sure, will argue that this is not using union resources to campaign for Burningham, who is currently on the ballot for CTA state council — the seat she gets to run for again after the previous SDEA Board overturned Emily Neidhart’s defeat of Burningham last spring because someone else sent a District email Emily didn’t know about. I wonder if SDEA will let SDEA Secretary Michelle Sanchez send an email about how fantastic Emily is to all 7,000 members, and then post it on the SDEA Facebook?
Since I’m guessing the answer is no, this just underscores even more how important it is that all of us get involved in the current SDEA election. Ballots will start arriving (at homes, not school after all) TOMORROW. Here’s what every one of us can do:
- Download the campaign flier here: DOWNLOAD
- Schedule a voting party at your school between Oct. 21 and Nov. 1 (if you vote towards the end of this period, you’ll have to hand-deliver the ballots)
- Spread the word using our voting party flier template: DOWNLOAD
- Spread the word to your friends at other schools
- Make sure every single ballot is received at SDEA by 5 p.m. on Nov. 4
And while you’re doing that, check with your AR and CR about whether or not they went to Fall Leadership, and when your school’s bargaining input session is going to be. Just like in 2008, that’s how SDEA is conducting the bargaining survey. Those of us who show up are the ones who will have a say!