Ad Astra, Per Aspera

Archive for the tag “membership”

Breakfast Club Still Out To Take Over SDEA

If the campaign flyer was to be believed, then Shane Parmely and her Breakfast Club were looking to create a more harmonious SDEA.  In reality, their promises of being transparent, of working for all members, and pushing to reunite SDEA were like make-up on a duck: under the lipstick and eye-shadow…it’s still a duck.

After the elections were over, one would expect the winners to be thankful, and the losers to be gracious.  I was hopeful…until I received this email sent by Shane, Michelle Sanchez, and the other leaders of the Breakfast Club:

(I’m taking out the names of all the winners/losers of the election…you can get those from the .SDEA website)

Email title:  BC Candidates Win Board Majority but Lose Presidency…For Now

Two years of work just paid off in a BIG way. Remember, two years ago, immediately after winning on a “No Layoffs, No Concessions” platform, our union leadership took a hard turn towards concessions, towards collaborating with the district, and away from transparency and democratic inclusiveness within our union. And two years ago, a grassroots group of rank-and-file SDEA members decided we were going to do whatever it took, for however long it took, to take our union back.
Today, two years later, that finally happened. Based on the election results announced today, Breakfast Club reform caucus members will hold eight of the fifteen voting seats on the SDEA Board as of August 1. That’s a Board majority!!!
CONGRATULATIONS TEAM BREAKFAST CLUB — that’s all of us who worked these elections over the past two years. GO TEAM US!
 But a good Board with a weak President can only do so much. We’ll have the votes to block bad ideas but we may not have the power and influence to move our good ideas forward.
So what’s next? Doing what union members do: enforcing our rights. The unfortunate truth is that SDEA’s incumbents broke the rules all over the place. We did not get the fair election we deserved. With full-time released President Bill Freeman using union-paid time to campaign round the clock since January, with incumbents accessing office resources to gain publicity and campaign on union time, and with incumbent slate supporters even using the union’s official web resources to promote their campaign, it’s pretty incredible that we pushed them to victory margins as slim as they were. We’ll be spending the next few days compiling the list of all of the campaign violations that occurred, and we may need your help, so keep an eye out.
And no matter what, all of us need to be pulling together and uniting behind our union’s bargaining campaign, or we can get ready to live under the worst contract we’ve ever seen. Fighting tooth-and-nail for a strong bargaining campaign is exactly what our new SDEA Board majority will be working towards, and we’re going to need every single one of you standing with us to make it happen. Union democracy and union organizing are not competing priorities. They are both crucial to a strong union, and that’s what we’re all about!
1) “Take Our Union Back?”  I thought we were ALL the union.  I don’t remember being asked if I wanted my union taken back…especially by people who have no respect for the membership.
2) “Go Team US.”  Looks like we’re not all part of their team.  I guess if you’re not in The Club, you’ll have to sit on the bench while they play all of the positions.
3) “A good board with a weak president.”  Lindsay hasn’t even taken the post and they’re already disrespecting the office. This is a woman who has worked tirelessly for our entire membership.  She has bargained on our behalf, and is working to get us a strong contract.  She (and others) were instrumental in saving over 1,500 jobs last year.  And that’s a sign of weakness?  She sounds stronger than Superwoman.
4) “…our new Board Majority…”  “..we may not have the power to  move our good ideas forward.”  I thought this campaign was to unite the membership.  It seems that the Club is still working with an Us Versus Them mentality.  Expect to see unpopular motions being passed through willy-nilly.  And, who’s to say what is a “good idea?”  People who wanted  YOU to lose your job?  No thanks.
5) “…Lose [the Board] Presidency…For Now.”  This is the most insidious, most heinous part of their message.  The Clubbers now have a chance to work for real reform.  They had the chance to show they really meant to work together.  So of course their new focus is…searching for perceived campaign violations in order to force a challenge to the seats they lost.  I seem to remember last year they went after people in the aftermath of elections…and ended up costing our members over $40,000 in funding.
And they have the nerve to tell us we all need to be “pulling together” behind our bargaining campaign.  Which is being led by Lindsey Burningham, our new President…you know, the one they think is “weak.”
Watch out, SDEA members.  The Breakfast Club has blinded you with their lies of solidarity and cooperation.  Their mission is and always has been to create a climate of fear and division.  And with a board majority, they are now able to push through their own agenda, no matter how bad or ill-conceived it may be.  Be vigilant, lest you fall victim to their machinations.
I’m Dennis Schamp and I approve this message.  These are the musings of me, myself, and I.  I do not represent any other person or group.  And I most certainly do NOT support any decisions pushed through by a group of people who do not have our membership’s best interests at heart.  

Targeted Campaigning the Bane of Breakfast

More whining from the Breakfast Club in our current SDEA election campaign.  In another attempt to throw a dark shroud over the Strength and Unity Team of candidates, the Clubbers are now complaining about that “most evil” of actions:

Targeted Election Campaigning!  (cue ominous music).

From their latest email:

No, that’s not an April Fool’s joke. The self-named “Team Unity” incumbent slate appears to have sent campaign postcards to laid off teachers from 2012—and ONLY the laid off teachers— at schools all over the District, touting themselves as the people who “negotiated and voted to save your jobs.”

And the level of caring…hello…hello…anyone there?  Looks like the only people who care are the members of the Breakfast Club.  Because…?  They didn’t think of it first?  They realize that the info on the card is true?

Targeted campaigning has been done for decades.  I receive campaign flyers from candidates all the time during elections.  Many of them are directed at just my area, some are focused on items that specifically affect me and my family.  You don’t hear any of the mayoral candidates crying foul at this practice.

Oh, no.  Only the members of the Breakfast Club are upset.  Because it throws another big monkey wrench in their plan to take over SDEA.

One Breakfast Club candidate seems to take it rather personally:

Seat 5 candidate (and laid off teacher) Matthew Schneck writes in his blog post, “That doesn’t seem very ‘uniting’ to me. In fact, it seems like they’re exploiting the same divisions they created with the way they mishandled the concessions bargaining back in 2012.

Actually, it is just the opposite Matthew.  This information is very uniting.  It helps to unite the membership against your slate of candidates.  Because most, if not all, of the Club’s slate of candidates were HEAVILY INVOLVED IN CAMPAIGNING AGAINST SAVING 1,500 JOBS!  Or, don’t you remember that little fact?

And the “mishandled concessions” bit?  Exactly how did they do that?  Let’s see…We all kept our jobs, our reinstatements are coming back on schedule, our furlough days are coming back on schedule, the  board of education actually returned one furlough day early…all of the items in our negotiation with the district are coming true.

What exactly did you, Shane, Michelle, and the other Breakfast Clubbers do for our membership?  Oh, I remember – You Tried To Get Me Fired From My Job.  Me, and 1,499 other members.

Sadly, you need to look in the mirror.  It is you and the members of the Breakfast Club who are dividing our union.  Your heavy-handed tactics, your innuendo-based campaign posts, and your public negativity to all that our members do and stand for is beginning to take its toll.  Your actions are absolutely dividing our union into an unprecedented two-party state.

When will you and yours realize that your actions are not what are good for the ENTIRE membership? When will you and yours learn that sitting on the sidelines, watching and waiting, and complaining about every little thing that doesn’t go your way is NOT what is good for the ENTIRE membership?

Based on some of the responses to your group’s diatribes at recent rep council meetings, I hpe and pray that, in the next few weeks,  we’ll see the answers.

VOTE STRENGTH AND UNITY!   http://sdeducatorsunited.org/

I’m Dennis Schamp and I approve this message.  These are the musing of me, myself, and I.  I do not speak for any other person, group, or breakfast food.  However, I highly recommend the scones at Intermezzo Cafe/Apple Spice Junction in Hazard Center.  They are to die for!

Breakfast Club Supporters Break Campaign Rules

I originally typed this entry a week ago.  I’ve been hamming and hawing about posting it.  But, I can wait no longer, because our union members deserve the truth.  

All this talk about running a “clean campaign” seems to have been all for naught. 

It seems that The Breakfast Club’s supporters have just been caught using the District E-Mail Server to promote their slate of candidates.  (Names have been removed to protect the innocent…but I know who did what.)

Here’s the text of the email that was received by one of our members just a few days ago:


From: A Teacher at My School
Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2014 8:07 AM

Subject: sdea vote

Im sending over a flier with my recommendations for the election in April. They go against Schamp and SDEA but these people want to fight to improve our salaries and not just buckle and cower to the district/board.

A. Teacher


This was the attached flyer:



Personally, I like how the sender assumes that they are “…going against Schamp and SDEA.”  My role in all of this is to get someone in charge of our union that will work for everybody.  How is that going AGAINST SDEA?  I sure wish I knew.  I always assumed that the people in charge should be working for everyone in the union, not just pushing the agenda of a small few.  “…buckle and cower…”   Hmmm…getting the district to honor our contract, returning our money, and coming to us with an extra, unasked-for, returned furlough day, adding another 1/2% to our pay.  That certainly sounds like we’ve buckled and cowered.

However, I digress…

Let’s check our standing rules, shall we:

E. Campaign Finances and Use of Unit Resources (5/25/11)

5. District email addresses and/or systems shall not be used for campaigning.

  •      Using district email servers to support a campaign?  CHECK!

11. All campaign flyers/materials must include a disclaimer stating that the view and opinions expressed are those of the candidate and not necessarily those of the unit, CTA or any of its affiliates

  •     Failing to note that this campaign email is not supported by CTA, NEA, or SDEA?  CHECK!

Now, it’s not in the campaign rules (as far as I’ve been able to find), but I do believe there is a rule in place that forbids/prohibits members from doing Union business on District time.  And yet…If you not the time stamp on the email, you’ll see that this campaign email was sent out 37 minutes after the starting bell at our school.

  • Sending a campaign email at 8:07 am, during our contracted work hours?  CHECK!

What’s the Verdict?  Three clear violations of our standing rules. Not supposed violations, where you have to go and dig deep to discover the truth for yourself…but actual, on-the-front-page violations.

Shocking?  Not really.  For all their bluster about being above board and transparent, the Breakfast Club and their supporters are out to take over our union at any cost.  If that means breaking rules that are clear and unambiguous…well, apparently those rules apply to everyone but them. 

Is this the type of union leadership we want?  People who subvert the democratic process when it suits them, while pointing fingers at those who follow the rules?  If this is happening during the campaign process, just think what could happen should they take office.  Go ahead…I’ll give you some time…

I urge all of the members to break away from the subversive Breakfast Club and join me in supporting The Strength and Unity Party for SDEA.  It’s the right choice – especially where truth is concerned.

I’m Dennis Schamp and I approve this message.  These are the comments of me, myself, and I.  I do not purport to represent any other organization, group, or breakfast pastry.  However, now that a Sonic has opened much closer to my house, I’ll be supporting their Texas Toast breakfast sandwich.  

More Lies My Waffles Told Me, Part 1

If you’re “lucky” enough to be on the Breakfast Club mailing list, then you may have received an email about the upcoming campaign…and the attempt of the Club’s members to once again derail an election and discredit the opposing candidates:

They even want you to keep an eye out for funny business.  That’s funny, when they’ve participated in so much of their own.

Their claims – That the Strength and Unity party have violated two tenants of the SDEA election rules.  Let’s peel back the paperwork and analyze their claims…and the truth:

Election Standing Rules E5, E8

5. District email addresses and/or systems shall not be used for campaigning.

8. Privileges extended to one candidate shall be extended to all candidates. Treating all candidates the same by refusing to honor requests for distribution of campaign literature at candidate’s expense is not permitted.

Earlier this week, the Strength and Unity Party of SDEA, through their own expense and time, released campaign postcards into the United States Mail.  These cards were addressed to various members at their school sites.  These cards were not issued by SDEA, nor were the addresses given to the candidates by SDEA.  The Breakfast Club claims that:

This is information that we only provided to the District, and which is accessible to the SDEA membership in only two ways:

  • Someone at SDEA, who has access to the District lists, has provided this information to the incumbent slate. This would be a use of union resources.
  • The incumbent slate has accessed Power School to get member information to use for campaign mailers. This would be a use of District resources.

Hmmm.  Every teacher’s name is listed in the public section of a school’s website.  It only takes a few clicks to see who works where.  The address of the school is also on that website.  A PUBLIC website.  Even my Great Aunt Myrtle could find out who works where in our district and send that person a letter, a request to buy Girl Scout Cookies, or…if so inclined…a postcard in support of candidates.  Is the same information on a district list? Sure.  Is it in Power School?  Maybe…I’ve never looked.  Is it also out in the World Wide Web, publicly accessible by anyone?  Damn straight it is.  If you have factual evidence that the Strength and Unity Party accessed any district records or used district information to get these addresses, then please provide it so we can all see the evidence.  If not, well…

More in the next issue…

I’m Dennis Schamp and I approve this message.  These are the musings of me, myself, and I.  I do not represent any other individual, group, or breakfast pastry.  Please vote for the members of  the STRENGTH AND UNITY PARTY.  They are what’s right for SDEA and will lead us to better days.

Board Candidates Should Pay Attention When Voting

This Just In:  Leader of the No Waffle Party Publically Waffles! A Nation Mourns.

A Presidential candidate for a Teachers’ Union should stand behind their decisions.  They should be aware of the discussions and decisions being voted on in their board meetings.  They should know all of the details before casting their vote.  And they never, ever, should waffle in public.

And yet, that’s just what happened at the February 19th Rep. Council meeting.  Shane Parmely, the leader of the notorious Breakfast Club and current candidate for SDEA President, approached the microphone and loudly announced her intention to waffle…on an issue that she originally supported.

At the previous week’s SDEA board meeting, a discussion was held regarding the upcoming SDEA elections.  The Board was discussing the chosen company, and the cost of postcard mailers announcing the election to our members.  The members felt that the cost of the mailers was prohibitive, and the Board voted against including them in the contract.  Ms. Parmely, according to her own words, voted in favor of that proposal.  She threw her support against including the mailers.  Ultimately, the motion passed.

Just one week later, at our Rep Council meeting, Ms. Parmely took to the microphone, and indicated that she was now IN FAVOR of including the mailers.  Why?  Well…apparently she wasn’t feeling well that night, or wasn’t paying close enough attention to the discussion, or was confused on the issue she was voting on.  At least, those were the reasons she gave while changing her mind.

That’s right:  The leader of the Breakfast Club…the subversive group whose motto proudly proclaims No Wafflingwaffled.  On an SDEA Board vote, no less.

Now, as an SDEA member in good standing, and one with intimate knowledge of board actions, I can say this with all truth and honesty: Not once did I see Mr. Freeman, Ms. Burningham, Mr. Mullin, or any other Board member vote on a proposal without first getting ALL of the information or discussing it thoroughly with their fullest attention. If a Board member didn’t understand the topic, or needed more information, they ASKED for clarification before voting.  Conversely, in my years of experience, if a board member was unclear as to the topic at hand, they ABSTAINED from voting.

They certainly didn’t vote one way, then publically change their minds one week later.

Is this the type of President we want on our Union Board?  Someone who votes on issues without their full attention being given to the topic?  What would happen if – God(ess) forbid – that vote had been about a contract issue, such as our salary increase or our health care?  What if they had been voting on YOUR grievance?  Wouldn’t you want a President who knows and understands what is being voted on?

I know I would.

And that’s just ONE reason we cannot allow The Breakfast Club to take over our union.  They will take us back to the dark ages, where we sat on the doorsteps of the Pink Palace, dressed in tatters in rags, with our empty gruel bowls held out in the hopes that someone, anyone, would hear our cries of, “Please, Sir…could I have some more?”

If you’ve been listening to their half-truths and lies as long as I have, you’ll know of what I speak.  If you’re new to their propaganda and are being swayed to the Dark Side, I ask that you to speak to a veteran of the Rep Council so that you get the full story.

Come April, I urge you to vote for the Strength and Unity slate of candidates.  They have ushered us into an era of prosperity and respect for teachers.  And that is exactly what we need at the helm of our union.

In Solidarity!

I’m Dennis Schamp and I approve this message.  These are the musings of me, myself, and I.  I do not represent any other individual, group, or breakfast pastry.  But I have developed a strange craving for a Nutella-covered-bagel.  Go figure

SDEA Spring Election Challenges and Interpretations

It’s easy to be an armchair quarterback.  Watch the others do the job, then swoop in after the fact and tear apart every facet of the work being done.  It is also easy to interpret information to support one’s own agenda.

The Breakfast Club recently released a long, point by point armchair quarterback version of the recent elections.  And I’m accused of having too much time on MY hands…

Within their lengthy diatribe, they attempt to discredit the current election challenges through their interpretation of the standing rules and regs of our election procedures.  Some of these comments sound as if they have merit.  Others give the impression of the “were desperate to take over the board and this is our last chance to do so” variety.

Oddly enough (or maybe not), their long post of violations doesn’t include the violation by their own members with regards to (as they call it) The Email Heard ‘Round the World.  Many of the problems noted by the Club stem from this particular violation.  If their member hadn’t campaigned for their slate of candidates over the district email system, we might not be at this point.  Whether or not Carter was a candidate or not, whether he knew of the rules or not, his email in support of Club contenders violated our rules.

Now, their long list of other violations reads like a police blotter.  All of them come from section nine of the standing rules.  All of them can be interpreted in several ways.  Obviously, since their candidates did not win outright, they choose to interpret them in such a way as to cause shame towards your SDEA leadership and the election committee.  Rather than dive through every rule and show its true meaning, I’ll hit a few highlights of importance.

SR 9.1.E.3 (Procedures) Candidates will receive confirmation from the SDEA office that their Declaration form has been received either by email, US mail, or a written receipt when hand delivered.

When I submitted my own documents for reelection, I made sure BEFORE I arrived at SDEA that I had all of my paperwork in order, that I had dotted my Is and crossed my Ts.  That’s my responsibility as a candidate.  Should Ms. Marble have received a receipt?  Yes.  Did she verify that she had all of her documents in order?  It doesn’t seem that way, or this wouldn’t be an issue.  Looks to me like blame should be on both parties, not just SDEA.  Perhaps the Club should have worked with their candidates more closely to ensure they were ready to run. What you don’t know: After this had all been discovered, Ms. Marble was given the chance to come down and submit her documents to the election committee AFTER THE FACT.  That’s right – the committee noted the error and made attempts to correct their error.  Ms. Marble chose not to accept that offer, and was instead turned into a write-in candidate.  End of story.

SR 9.1.I (Vote Requirement) All vote requirements shall be established in accordance with CTA guidelines.  Unless otherwise specified, all elections shall be decided by majority vote.  Write-in votes are valid and must be counted.

And they were.  Ms. Marble received several write-in votes, the majority of which were counted.  End of story.

SR 9.1.J.4.b (Counting of Ballots) Blank and/or illegal ballots for each office/position shall be set aside.  Examples include the following: Voter’s intent unclear; 

As the item states, “Examples include the following….”  Not “Illegal ballots are LIMITED TO…,” or “Ballots w/o the bubble colored in will still be counted.”  The election committee determined that the ballots w/o a proper vote (the circle colored in on the scantron sheet) were invalid and were set aside.  Hmmmm…if a student taking a test on a scantron wrote the letter of the answer on the scantron rather than coloring it in, I’d mark it wrong because he didn’t follow directions.  The voters didn’t follow instructions – their ballots were not counted.  End of story.

SR 9.1.I.1 (Vote Requirement) A majority vote means more than half of the legal votes cast.

This is the one that really made me angry, especially after the snarky, rude, and condescending speech by Shane Parmely at rep council.  She spoke to election co-chair Karen Ellsworth as if she were admonishing a first-grader about their homework.  Her tone of voice was so vile that groans and cries of “That’s enough” could be heard during here outburst.  Here’s the real story –

According to the election committee, the teller sheets for the board elections stated a victory would be comprised of 50% + 1 of the legal votes cast.  If memory serves, there were 97 votes cast for this particular board seat (mine!).  10 were disqualified, leaving 87 legal votes.  Ms. Marble received 44 of those votes.  Math time:

Problem 1: 87 / 2 = 43.5.

Problem 2: 50% + 1 of 87 = 44.5

Problem 3: Math teachers are supposed to know that when one rounds a number, you round up at 5-9.  Since there can’t be 1/2 a vote (unless you’re only half a person!) we round that number up to 45.

Problem 4: 44 < 45.

Therefore, Ms. Marble did not win by the required majority as stated on the teller reporting sheet.  Hence, the run-off election is valid.

I will say that yes, there is differing information on the SDEA website regarding the majority rule.  The election committee chose to follow the information printed on the OFFICIAL ELECTION DOCUMENTS. End of story.

Is there more?  Of course.  There will always be problems during elections where two groups of unlike-minded people are running for coveted seats on governing boards.  Before you believe everything you read, do your OWN due diligence (like I do) to ensure you’re getting the whole story.  Don’t be a lemming.

I’m Dennis Schamp and I approve this message.  These are the opinions of me, myself, and I.  I do not represent any other person, group, or breakfast pastry.  Especially waffles.  They’re leaving a bad taste in my mouth these days. 

Post Navigation