Seattle Courant Archive

Teachers Union Claims Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson Violated Labor Laws

Teachers Union Claims Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson Violated Labor Laws

By Keith Vance
May 11, 2009

“We read it as an unfair labor practice,” President of Seattle Education Association Olga Addae said. Addae said that the school district can not negotiate directly with individual members, but must do so with the labor union.

On Friday evening, Addae said the school district sent the union an e-mail that said no letters were sent out to their members. However, on Saturday morning at least some schoolteachers had the letter in their mailbox. At that point, Seattle Public Schools put out a press release acknowledging that the letters were sent, but evidently by mistake.

“While instructions were given that letters to teachers and other certificated staff should not be sent until early next week, we now know that some letters were mailed Friday evening instead of being held until early next week,” the district’s Saturday news release said.

But whether or when the letters were sent, or how many teachers received them, is not really the issue. The problem from the union’s perspective is that it’s illegal for the school district to negotiate directly with individual union members.

“We’re in the middle of labor negotiations,” Addae said. Determining the number of days a teacher is contracted to work, Addae said, is a “mandated subject of bargaining.”

“They’re trying to bargain with individuals,” Addae said. “Individuals can’t bargain on their own.”

Goodloe-Johnson took over the helm of Seattle Public Schools in 2007. She came from South Caroline, a so-called “right to work” state, which means they don’t have a teachers union. Perhaps Goodloe-Johnson doesn’t know how to negotiate with a labor union.

“This has really muddied the playing field,” Addae said. “They should know what the labor laws are.”

Seattle Public Schools did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

“Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson Terminates 3,300 Schoolteacher Contracts” by Seattle Courant
Seattle Public Schools Saturday press release
Seattle Education Association press release from last Friday
Superindent Goodloe-Johnson letter to teachers
KOMO report on this issue

PHOTO CAPTION Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson. Jan. 29, 2009. School board meeting.