Update: Today SDEA announced that the election has been cancelled and postponed, for the ballot irregularities described below.
Instead of writing an introduction, we’re just going to give you the list of facts and let you decide how you would have prefaced them:
- For the second consecutive election, SDEA omitted Breakfast Club co-founder Shane Parmely’s race from the ballot entirely. Secondary teachers in Lincoln, San Diego and Mission Bay should have had Board Seat Five on their ballot, but did not.
- Non-candidate Susan Legler was listed as a candidate for all three of the CTA seats. She was a CTA candidate a year ago, but is not currently running for any seat.
- Board Seat Five candidate Malykke Bacon has contacted SDEA members who have never met him at their personal email addresses and phone numbers, using contact information that those members have provided only to SDEA and the District. The only people at SDEA who have access to the current membership lists are President Bill Freeman and the SDEA staff. According to their campaign flyer at Fall Leadership, Bacon is running on the same slate as Vice President Lindsay Burningham, Board member Scott Mullin, Election Committee Co-Chair Kandi Nieto, and former Vice President Marc Capitelli. (Note: We don’t know Malykke Bacon, and he presently holds no position in SDEA leadership. We hope he educates himself about our union election procedures, and avoids bad advice from incumbent leaders who may have their own interests primarily in mind.)
Doesn’t our union deserve clean and competent elections? If we can’t trust our union leaders to run our elections, how can we trust them to bargain our next contract? If we have any hope of defending our paychecks, our healthcare, and our jobs, we need to be able to elect union leaders who will fight for our rights. That’s why these elections matter.
These issues were first raised at tonight’s SDEA Board meeting by BC-endorsed Board member Stephanie Marble and BC co-founder SDEA Secretary Michelle Sanchez and brought to Freeman’s attention (full Board meeting report coming soon). The Elections Committee will now have to decide whether or not to cancel and re-run the election. It seems beyond obvious that an immediate cancelation and re-run should occur, but it is still possible that the election will not be canceled — especially for Board Seat Four, which appears to have no irregularities so far. We should all continue to vote and campaign until the official cancelation notice comes.
But either way, we all need to dig in for a hard campaign and work for the union leadership we want and deserve. SDEA’s incumbent leadership is not pulling any punches in this election. On their side, they have a full-time released President who can visit sites to campaign all day. They have access to our personal contact information to share with each other (campaign violation or not). They have access to the official union email list and Facebook, which they are using to praise each other as ballots are in the mail. They have an Elections Committee whom they appointed, who will continue to uphold or deny any challenges that get filed in accordance with what benefits the current leadership.
What do we have? We have the ability to organize. To talk to each other. To create our own contact lists and to use them. To stand up in staff meetings and union meetings and ask our colleagues to vote for leaders who will be democratic and inclusive, not insular and abusive. When we campaigned hard last spring, we won every single seat. We can absolutely do it again, but it’s not going to get done for us, and it’s going to take real work from every single person reading this.
Have you passed out our slate flyer? Have you mailed in your ballot? Have you talked to everyone you know who can vote? Because based on ARs’ reports of surprise site drop-ins all over the district, we can guarantee you that Freeman and Mullin and Burningham and their slate have.
So stay tuned, and stay tuned in. Frederick Douglass had it right: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”