Dec 9, 2008

Anti-union activists continue to try and divide and attack teacher’s union

If we need any more proof that anti-union zealot and rightwing activist Chet Zarko and rightwing Howell School Board member Wendy Day are co-conspirators on the assault on the Howell Education Association (HEA) - the union representing the district’s teachers - we just need to see Day’s latest escapade.

After Day posted an email from a member of the HEA from a private, password protected union email group on her blog in October, the law firm representing the HEA sent the school district’s attorney a letter demanding Day cease and desist from her illegal monitoring activity of the union. As the union member’s employer and a person who negotiates the teacher’s contract, Day is in violation of the Public Employment Relations Act by illegally restraining public employees from their right to engage in lawful union activities. It is also unlawful to intimidate or interfere with the administration of a labor organization.

Apparently, Day is making the ridiculous claim that she is blogging as a private citizen, and not as an elected school board member and the employer of the teacher’s represented by the HEA. That’s simply not possible. If she wants to do post confidential emails obtained from her employees, then she needs to resign her seat on the school board.

She made some even more ridiculous poor persecuted me claims on her blog, claiming her right of free speech has been violated. She also demeaned that “the HEA cease and desist harassing and intimidating me” or she will sue. She is also demanding a public apology from HEA leadership, naming them specifically. She also went on to claim she “filed a complaint with the ACLU, the MI Civil Rights Commission” and her local union. Wait, did she say the liberal ACLU?

What Day is attempting now is exactly what Zarko is trying to do; the old Republican trick of trying to divide people and pit them against each other. She also claims, “the HEA does not have as unified as front as like they think they have (sic).” The answer to that is, who cares?

Again, there is nothing more democratic in the workplace than the union. They elect their leaders, and the majority has to approve any contract the leaders negotiate with people like Day. I don’t care if 49 out of 100 union members vote against the contract, it’s still a majority.

This saga began back in May 2007 after Zarko contacted Day, a founding member of the anti-gay hate group called LOVE (Livingston Organization for Values in Education) PAC. Shortly after that, Zarko filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) seeking emails sent by union leaders on district computers. After receiving some of the emails before an injunction was issued stopping the release of any more emails, Zarko claimed the union illegally conducted a large amount of union business on public time, including trying to retain MEA (Michigan Education Association) affiliated MESSA health-insurance. That claim was debunked because the union has a recognized right to use the computers.

Zarko is now using the same tactics as Day and the anti-public education GOP front group “Education Action Group,” of trying to divide the union members by finding someone who voted against the contract or disagrees with the majority. Again, who cares?

As I have said before, release the emails sent from the school computers, but any emails sent to or from the HEA private email group is a clear violation of the law. Because the union tends to be spread out, I’m sure some negotiation went on via email. As a formal journalist, I favor open government and sunshine laws. If Day wants to publish private union negotiations, then the school board should not go into closed, executive session to discuss the union contract.


Not Anonymous said...

You have completely mischaracterized what the story says. I've pasted it below for anyone that may want to read the story and compare it to your bluster.

A Howell Public Schools Board of Education member took the district’s teachers’ union to task Monday, alleging the group is trying to intimidate and harass her about an October posting on her blog.

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Meanwhile, a union leader says Trustee Wendy Day has mischaracterized the situation.

Day posted an Oct. 20 letter allegedly written by a Howell Public Schools teacher and addressed to Howell Education Association members via a Yahoo! Group mailing address. Day says she received the letter, which she says is a preview of a possible teachers’ strike, from a friend, who is a member of the group.

A couple of weeks later, an attorney representing the HEA wrote a letter to the board’s law firm asking that Day “cease and desist from monitoring and publishing the private and protected activities of the HEA and its members.” (To view the letter, click on the link under "file downloads" at right.)

“Further conduct in this regard may result in legal action,” attorney Michael Shoudy of White, Schneider, Young & Chiodini wrote.

Day, who teaches at Lansing Community College and is a member of the Michigan Education Association union, believes the HEA and its attorney are using “intimidation and harassment” as they try to violate her constitutional right to freedom of speech. She says she filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union and has contacted the Michigan Civil Rights Association.

Day is asking for a public apology and that the union retract the letter. She named union leaders and said they could face legal action for their intimidation tactic.

HEA President Karen Langer said she found Day’s personal attack “very inappropriate” considering the board has asked the public not to personally attack board members during public comment portion of the board meetings. She said Day has mischaracterized the situation on her blog.

“Her blog is not viewed as an individual, personal comments; she’s a public official,” Langer said.

Representatives of the law firm were not available Monday evening, but in their letter they tell Donald Bonato of the Thrun Law Firm, which represents the school district, that courts have found employers monitoring union activities as an “unfair labor practice.”

Day disagrees, saying she writes her blog is as a private citizen — not a board member.

“I’m also a mom and I don’t speak for all moms. I’m also a (Lansing Community College) instructor and I don’t speak for all LCC instructors,” she said. “They should have no assumption that group is going to remain private. It’s foolish to think there is an assumption of privacy on that group.”

Day alleges the letter sounds like the author is “threatening a strike — a full year ahead of negotiations.”

The author of the letter indicates he is “very frightened for the upcoming bargaining session” and compares it to the strike in the Wayne-Westland Community Schools district. The writer then states: “Does the Howell EA have the strength to vote yes on a labor-action measure?”

The letter also asks readers to “wake up and get active NOW before we have to march a picket line without jobs.”

The teachers’ contract expires in June, and Langer said discussions about the contract and any proposed action is “premature.”

The letter also takes aim at Superintendent Theodore Gardella, saying the relatively new superintendent is “gaining control by eliminating voices of dissension and hiring supplicants to serve him,” and mentions the new high school principal as someone on "a short leash." The letter does not specifically provide Principal Aaron Moran’s name.

Gardella said the writer is “misinformed” and that he has complete confidence in Moran’s abilities as principal.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Kev, since you're obviously not going to write about this, I had to post my comment here.

I need some help filling out my ballot for the Democrat of the Year. Since you're the expert, should I vote for Rod Blagojevich or Kwame Kilpatrick?

Anonymous said...

That "anonymous" wasn't me, but I wish it was. Good line.

Again, McBluster writes what he "wishes" to be the truth as the truth. He said Day was in violation of the Public Employment Relations Act. But that's not true...that's merely the straw dog thrown up by the union. If she broke the law, then I will use one of McBluster's frequent challenges: Show me where she's been convicted; heck, show me where she has been charged.

I will grant that she's hardly a private citizen...she's a school board member and she started her blog as such.

But she's not monitoring or intimidating the union or the bargaining process. It's the other way around. The union files a frivolous claim against her, as a way of achieving two goals: a) sending a message that folks shouldn't mess with them; and b) distracting from the real issue.

Someone sent Day an e-mail. She posted it as one of a number of examples of how the teachers union wants to "hire its own employer" by electing union-friendly school board members who will approve contracts the district can't afford. Further, the e-mail shows that there is some at least idle talk about taking job actions...which include illegal teacher a way to get a desirable contract approved...desirable to the teachers anyway.

There was nothing illegal, intimidating or otherwise wrong with what Day did. She isn't monitoring private negotiations.This is a ploy by a union that has made it clear for years that they don't believe the public deserves a seat at the table when it comes to running the schools.

Not Anonymous said...

That first anonymous wasn't me either. I'm "Not anonymous". Which means the second anonymous wasn't me either, but feel free to pass my E-mails on to others if you like. I'm not worried about the unions coming after me.

ka_Dargo_Hussein said...

Regarding the post, Wendy Day is a hateful, inbred skank who should just go away and leave the Howell School District alone. Since she home schools her kids, she has no dog in the Howell School District fight. She's a pot stirring busybody at best.

And regarding Nonny Mouse #1's post about Blago...tell me, did you make your "O" face when you first heard the news? Did you later have wet dreams about it? Did you give the little woman the old slap and tickle for the 1st time in a long time, excited about the fact that there was some dirt NEAR Obama? Come on, tell us, we're dying to know.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to cogent, meaningful dialogue, it's hard to top Dargo. Really, are your positions so weak that you have to stoop to this level of juvenile attack?

As for Wendy Day? I'm not her biggest fan, but she was elected by a large majority of the electorate...your disdain for the democratic process make me think you really are mcbluster guru. He hates democracy as well.

Your Home-school argument is just plain lame. She's a resident of the district, she pays property taxes and she has every right to run for a board and, since she was easily elected, to serve on that board. As soon as schools say that people without kids in school don't have to pay school taxes, then I'll support a movement to keep them off the school board. Until then, the voters have the final say...something that apparently rankles the likes of dargo/guru/mcbluster.

ka_Dargo_Hussein said...

What was weak about my position? I stated how I feel about Wendy Day and the trolls. In fact, it was very strong...inbred skank and asking about your woeful sex life.

Regarding my position on Day, the HEA, etc, I haven't posted that yet.

Regarding your opposition to my home-schooling argument being lame...they have a name for folks who do shit like that...they're called carpetbaggers.

Communications guru said...

I didn't mischaracterize anything. You wasted a lot of space because I provided a link to the story in the post. See, when you see the blue, underlined text that's a link.

Communications guru said...

Hey, anonymous troll, I'll help you fill out your ballot for the Democrat of the Year if you help me fill out my ballot the Republican of the Year. Since you're the expert, should I vote for Ted Stevens or Rick Renzi?

If you want to write about Rod Blagojevich or Kwame Kilpatrick, do it on your blog.

Communications guru said...

I'm still waiting for you to tell me how to tell one anonymous troll from another. Yes, Wendy Day did violate the Public Employment Relations Act. The act says it is unlawful for a "public employer (a) to interfere with, restrain or coerce public employees in the exercise of their rights guaranteed in section 9; (b) to initiate, create, dominate, contribute to, or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization." She is in clear violation. Of course, she has not been convicted, and I didn't see any criminal penalty in the act, and the only enforcement is through a hearing before the employment relations commission.

You are correct, she is not a private citizen, she is an elected official and management. How can it be called "intimidating" or "frivolous" simply for asking her to follow the law? Someone sent her a private, internal email. Now, if a private citizen posted it, I see no problem with it. But she is management. I also see nothing wrong with people campaigning for candidates that support their views, even teachers.

"This is a ploy by a union that has made it clear for years that they don't believe the public deserves a seat at the table when it comes to running the schools?" Wow, you really had to so some spinning to get to that piece of BS.

Anonymous said...

You printed the law, but you didn't show how she violated it. She didn't eavesdrop into a union organizing session...she posted a email that someone sent her. Cripes...get a grip.

And aren't you the one who complains because someone uses nasty words about you? But you are fine with inbred skank?

It shows you how weak you and your colleagues are when you have to resort to such namecalling. Does Wendy intimidate you that much? You guys are pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Guru is an inbred skank.

Not Anonymous said...

Is "inbred skank" two more words that can cause censorship?

Not Anonymous said...

I copied the article from the link you provided because many people...pardon me....liberals don't read the stories. They take your word for what's in the story. I do read them and find that you're stating things that aren't in the story. Just keeping you honest. Too bad I can't correct your grammar and spelling errors before you come out looking foolish as a "writer/reporter" as you claim to be.

Communications guru said...

“That first anonymous wasn't me either. I'm "Not anonymous". Which means the second anonymous wasn't me either.”

What? Are you serous? I will ask this again for about the hundredth time: How do you tell one anonymous troll from annoyer anonymous troll? Funny, you just gave a hard time for not answering a question quick enough, but you have ignored this question time after time.

Communications guru said...

So Wendy Day won an election? That means I can’t criticize her stupid moves and actions? I don’t think so. This country was founded on questioning our government. To say I hate democracy is ridiculous and not based on anything, anonymous troll.

It makes no sense that she wants make decisions on how the children of public school parents are educated, but no one can tell her how her’s should be educated.

But this has nothing to so with Day violating the law.

ka_Dargo_Hussein said...

How rude! They stole my insult!

Not Anonymous said...

Well, you see, you've had someone posting as "anonymous". For a while, I was also posting as anonymous. But you were getting confused if "anonymous" was writing or if I was writing as anonymous. So I changed my name and became "not anonymous". Since then, you have accused anonymous of being me. But I'm "not anonymous". The other guy is "anonymous". Or, I suppose he could be a she which would make her "anonymous" but since I'm a male, I can't be her. But I don't sign as "anonymous" any longer. So he or she is anonymous, but I'm not anonymous because I sign my name as "Not anonymous".

Unfortunately, someone else has chimed in and called themselves anonymous and the first anonymous said that he wasn't anonymous, but he's the original anonymous. I also am not anonymous. I'm "not anonymous". Not to be confused with the original anonymous, nor the latest anonymous.

(Right now, every liberal that has just read this is looking for a therapist). In the meantime, I'm hoping that nobody, anonymously or not, asks me to repeat what I just said.

Communications guru said...

She’s management, and she interfered with the formation or administration of a labor union.

Yes, I am the one who complains because someone is “using nasty words about me,” but only after repeatedly warning you about it. If Wendy Day objects to someone calling her an “inbred skank” she can delete it from her blog. If you mean Dargo when you are freeing to “my colleagues” he has a mind of his own. If one guy calling her one name means I am intimidated by her then you must be terrified of me.

Communications guru said...

You didn’t need to copy the article because liberals know how to use a link. Well, if you find “I’m stating things that aren't in the story” I challenge you to point them out. I am no longer a reporter/writer, but if it makes you feel superior to point out my alleged grammar and spelling errors then go for it.

Communications guru said...

No, anybody reading this needs a therapist. Once again, how do you tell one anonymous troll from another anonymous troll?

Not Anonymous said...

Who cares if someone is anonymous, not anonymous or another anonymous? I think it's funny that you post as bluzie, dargo and guru. I don't say anything about it until you start whining about who people are. The issue is what's important. Not the person. You'll never meet the ones that post here anyway. If you can't deal with the issues, then I guess you can just keep complaining about who people are. Good luck with that.

Communications guru said...

If no one cares, then why are you an anonymous coward, and why are you so afraid to take ownership of what you write?
I post as no one else. If I wanted to post as someone different, I would post ayonomousely, like you. No one else can post as Communications Guru. You Can’t say the same thing.
I am dealing with the issues. Maybe it’s yours frustration with being on the wrong side of the issues.

cornrnunications guru said...

People would be fools to put their names on here. I've heard although I haven't seen it that you get angry and put peoples name and personal information on your site. See, you prove yourself wrong again. I'm not on the wrong side of the issues, therefore I'm not frustrated. I wonder if nobody else could post as communications guru. I'll have to try that.

Not Anonymous said...

How about that.Nearly did it.

Communications guru said...

Funny, Communications Guru, when I click on your name nothing comes up. Where is your profile? You are just one more cowardly, anonymous troll.

I agree with you when you say “People would be fools to put their names on here,” but the rest of the crap you say is a lie. I have never asked anyone to put their names up here, but to take a unique screen name that no one else can use, like Communications Guru.

Do you think you’re fooling anyone with that name, troll? What’s it like to be so wrong on the issues that you have to stoop so low, troll?

Anonymous said...

How in the world did Wendy Day interfere with the formation or administration of a union?

Another pathethic lie by McBluster.

You are as bad as the Republicans who attacked Obama as "socialist" or one who pals around with terrorists. They couldn't stand up to his arguments so they name-called with false accusations.

Wendy Day has a better grasp of the school budget than just about any other school board member in the last 10 years in Howell. You don't like her positions, so you slam her for home-schooling her children, and lie about her breaking union laws.

Are laws important to you? If so, do you support teacher strikes? They are illegal, you know.

Communications guru said...

She is management, and she is publishing private email that is used for union communications. It would be like a union member sitting in on the school board meeting when they go into closed executive session to discuss the union contract.

“Wendy Day has a better grasp of the school budget than just about any other school board member in the last 10 years in Howell? “ Wow, Ms. Day. I guess if you’re going to tell a lie, go big.

I have never slammed her for home-schooling her kids, but it makes no sense to me that she wants to tell other parents how to educate their kids, but doesn’t want them to be affected by the policy and decisions she helped make. I do think it’s an election issue. She is in violation of union laws, but even if she isn’t, how can you expect someone with those views and actions to bargain in good faith?

I support the right of all bargaining units to strike. It was also once illegal for blacks to vote or to drink from a white’s only drinking fountain. Laws are important to me, but I also support civil disobedience, in some cases, just like the Founding Fathers.

Anonymous said...

So you are saying it is okay for the teachers to break the law, because you don't like the law. (And do some research on civil requires admission that you are breaking the law, and taking the punishment in the thoughts that you will expose an unjust law. I haven't seen any teachers accept the consequences of illegal strikes.)

So let's get this straight. It's a crime for Wendy Day to do something that YOU say is against the law, but which isn't. But it's okay for teachers to quite obviously break the law because you don't like the law.

Tell me one person on the school board that had a better grasp of school finances that does Day. Several former (and one current) board member conceded they had no idea of what was in the contract, and they have made it clear they had no idea of how the school funding formula worked. They also said they passed the past contract based on the "hope" that a cash-strapped state would provide money. Which was, of course, not to happen. Day has clearly demonstrated that she understands the working of the budget. Name one of the former board members who can say the same? I don't always agree with her, but at least she has facts on her side. Heck, one of the former board members didn't even live in Michigan...Day lives here, got the majority votes and has every right to be on the school board.

Communications guru said...

As soon I wrote this I knew you would jump on that. I support civil disobedience, just like the founding fathers, Martin Luther King and civil rights leaders. I support any bargaining unit’s right to strike. What other means do they have to reach their goal? However, I can understand public safety not striking, especially since they have PA 312. If teachers had that, I would be willing to outlaw teacher strikes. Clearly, I don’t expect Day to be prosecuted, I expect her to follow the law.

How about Edwin Literski, Jeannine Pratt, Michael E. Yenshaw, Dan Fondriest, Mark Michaels, Phil Westmoreland to name just a few.

Anonymous said...

Okay...Literski, Fondriest, Yenshaw and Michaels weren't on the board at the time of the screw ups.

In her last election, Pratt admitted in a public debate that she had no idea of what was going on with the teacher's contract...which is the largest factor in the school's budget.

Westmoreland may have a good grasp, I will grant you that.

YOU would be willing to outlaw teacher strikes. How nice of you. But here's a news flash. They are already illegal. It's the law, you moron. And there are avenues to settle a contract other than a just isn't an avenue that the lawbreaking union wants to follow.

Again, you support clear law-breaking for folks you support but you make up accusations of law-breaking against others.

Communications guru said...

Exactly when were these alleged screw ups? But you said “Day has a better grasp of the school budget than just about any other school board member in the last 10 years in Howell? “ I stand by the names I supplied.

Yes, I would be willing to outlaw teacher strikes. I don’t think it should be illegal. But, I don’t believe the Howell teacher’s have ever participated in a strike. Management, like Day, have a lot more weapons at their disposal, but why is it OK to take away a weapon from the union? We already know Day is not going to negotiate in good faith, and she wants to force them to work without a contract and force a strike. She should be following the law. Right now, the teacher’s have not broken a law, Day has, you moron.

Anonymous said...

Day has not broken a law. A stupid letter by the high-paid teachers union and your assertion does not make it so. She has broken no law. Period.

It is almost impossible to follow your reasoning, as you state in 2 consecutive sentences: "I would be willing to outlaw teacher strikes. I don't think it should be illegal." What in the world does that gibberish mean? How can you outlaw it without making it illegal? Talk about a moron!

Communications guru said...

I believe you have. You believe otherwise, and that’s your right to ignore the facts.

I’ll restate my position. I don't think strikes should be illegal, but I am willing to do so in this case if we have a mechanism in place like police and fire does to counter people like you, or Day, who are bargaining in bad faith and will do anything to break the union.

Anonymous said...

When have I said or done anything that suggests breaking the union?

And I see you passed on the offer to explain how Day has broken the law.

She posted an email on her blog and you want to call that a crime. Once again, you show how little respect you have for free speech. is there any part of the Bill of Rights you accept? Or is it all gibberish to you?

Communications guru said...

Yes, and I have explained about five times how Day violated the law.

Anonymous said... have totally failed to show how she violated the law. She posted an email on her site.

What you have done is shown how eager you are to dismiss the First Amendment when you find it inconvenient.

Wendy broke no law. Which is why the union wrote its silly letter. They were rattling a sabre from their members. If they thought Wendy had truly broken a law, they would have gone to the prosecutor, because they would like nothing better than to get the goods on their biggest nemesis on the board.

It was a teacher, by the way, who was advocating an illegal act by encouraging an illegal strike.

Communications guru said...

You are management, and you're illegally monitoring activity of the union and interfered with it. This is not a First Amendment issue.

You are in violation of the statue, Ms. Day. I guess we will just have to agree to disagree. It was a letter asking you to cease and desist, and even if you didn't, it would go to the Labor Relations Board or the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth instead of the prosecutor.

The only thing you said that is correct, Ms. Day, is that you are "their biggest nemesis on the board." Isn't sad that a board member is anti-teacher, and we already know you will not bargain in good faith.

Your claim about an illegal strike is ridiculous and irrelevant.