Monday, July 20, 2009

The New Business Item I Considered, But Chickened Out On

Actual photo of a union raid in Scotland
Title: Repealing All Existing No-Raid Agreements

Background: Because of existing no-raid agreements between the WEA and other groups, we have limited our ability to bring new members into the Association.

Cost Implications: None.

WEA Goals and Objectives: Improve the quality of and access to public education for all students. Forge partnerships with parents, business, other unions, and community groups.

Recommendations: That the WEA immediately repeal and hold invalid any so-called "No Raid" agreement between the WEA and other collective representation groups, including but not limited to the PSE; and that any future "No Raid" agreements require the approval of the WEA Representative Assembly to be considered ratified.


Now, the rest of the story:

Last December I had a one-off post wondering why there are no union raids in education in Washington State. It's not really a surprise that the teacher units don't change hands, given the Washington AFT's focus on colleges, but there are at least 3 different groups (SEIU, PSE, and the WEA; maybe the Teamsters and the AFL-CIO as well?) who could represent paraprofessionals, bus drivers, cooks, and the like.

In my district the PSE represents the support staff, and it's not for the best. The representation they get might be good enough, but when you have two units in the same district represented by different unions, there's a tension, especially in times of budget cuts. If we were all WEA we could work together, but when it's WEA v. PSE and jobs are on the line, it can be war. Administrators thrive on that, in a divide-and-conquer sense, and I've seen it happen far too often where admins stoke the fires to try and divert attention from what they're doing.

So I'd love to poach my local PSE, and in conversations with groups around the state I've heard many staff and other local presidents say the same thing. At a dinner in March I talked with a fairly high-level staffer and asked him, "What do you think about the no-raid agreements?"

"I hate them. We all hate them."

"OK. I've been thinking of dropping a new business item at Rep Assembly to override the no-raid agreements we have now. Would that work?"

"Probably. It'd be career suicide, though."


Well then. Career suicide isn't really something I'd like to do, so I thought I'd pull back and think things through some more.

This is a conversation that I'd love to have on a broader basis, though. If you'd like to talk, please drop me an email or hit me up on Facebook.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


Dr. Homeslice here. Interestingly enough, I was in the same terminal as Bob Chanin on the way out of San Diego. I asked him about the no-raid agreements between NEA and AFT, he helped ink the deal between the two affiliates.

In a nutshell, the no-raid agreements are done nationally and bind the state affiliates to follow them. I don't think your NBI (as interesting as it is) would go anywhere. Plus, do you really want to be the Franz Ferdinand of the union "raid to end all raids"?

Also, if you need new members, start organizing in charters.

7:48 PM  

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