CAROL SOMERFLECK Telephone No.: (671) 477-9802 Email: email@example.com
Randi Weingarten, President American Federation of Teachers 555 New Jersey Ave. N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001 David Strom, General Counsel American Federation of Teachers 555 New Jersey Ave. N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001 Sol Smith,Western Regional Office Director American Federation of Teachers 650 East Hospitality Lane, Suite 360 San Bernadino, California 92408 Re:
Letter of Complaint regarding delegates to attend the AFT 2010 Convention.
Dear Fellow AFT Union Members, Please consider this letter as a formal letter of complaint regarding the selection of delegates to attend the AFT 2010 Convention. This is not my first correspondence regarding concerns of the practices of the Guam Federation of Teachers (GFT), AFT Local 1581, actions toward members and the election process. While I have little expectation based upon your prior actions that you will take any action to ensure that basic democracy and due process are protected for members of AFT, I do believe that these are fundamentals in which any union should follow. GFT's Constitution, Article VI, G providing for the election of delegates to the Biennial AFT Convention states "Voting members of the GFT may run for delegate to the AFT Convention in accordance with the procedures of the AFT Constitution and By-Laws ... The election for delegates will be held at the same time as the election for the at-large GFT officers in April of even-numbered years." GFT has neither followed the procedures of the AFT Constitution and By-Laws, Article VIII, Section 1 (a) nor GFT's Constitution requiring elections for delegates be conducted in April. (perhaps if amendments to by-laws ofGFT were openly discussed ambiguities such as currently exist between the election of at-large officers now every three years and the election of delegates would not exist as they currently do.) A review of the AFT Constitution which GFT's Constitution refers to for the procedure of the selection of delegates we believe has also not been followed. AFT's Constitution provides; Members of each local must be given suitable opportunity to nominate candidates for the office of delegate and alternate. Notice of the right to make nominations must be sent to each member or given prominent place in the local publication and on bulletin boards. Notice of the right to make nominations and notice ofthe election may be combined in one
notice. Written notice announcing the time and place of election of delegates must be mailed to each member at least 15 days prior to the election. The results of the election must be published and the ballots kept for one year. I have reviewed all of the e-updates and noticed or failed to notice any notification to members regarding the nomination of delegates to attend the AFT Convention, I have reviewed all e-mail correspondence from GFT to me as a shop steward and noted no notification or instructions to notify the members at my shop regarding nomination for delegates, and I have no recollection of receiving any mailed notification regarding the nomination or election of delegates. I have attached for your review one of the notification for the GFT Convention conducted on March 19, 2010. Please note there is no mention regarding the election of delegates for the AFT Convention. I am concerned that there was no notification to members of their opportunity to participate as candidates for the selection process for delegates and this seems similar to incidents regarding elections that have occurred in the past. Is this the practice now at GFT? It's certainly appears so. I do not dispute that an election occurred. I was present at the March 19th convention. I was provided a ballot with only four candidates which surprised me as it would seem that GFT would be eligible for at least thirty delegates if, as it has been asserted my Mr. Rector, that GFT's membership is over three thousand members. (I and my fellow members are not privy to the actual number of members.) Although there was no space provided for write-in candidates at that time I wrote in my unit chair (with her permission) to be a delegate to the AFT Convention. I have never seen the results of that election published. At the GFT Executive Council Meeting of June 29, 2010, I inquired as to the results of the election and was told the only delegates were the four at-large officers. When I inquired as to the process of the election and the members of election committee, none of the Executive Council members could identify whom was on the election committee. Without an opportunity to nominate delegates, notice of the election, conduction of the election at a time not prescribed in our Constitution, or publication of the election results the election has little meaning. That with thirty delegate seats and at least five candidates, I was shocked and dismayed that my write-in candidate was not selected as a delegate and wondered how this could occur. As I previously stated and repeat here for clarity, a second issue is the selection of Matt Rector as a delegate. Eligibility for delegates as specifically set forth in the Constitution as follows: Article VI, F ELECTION OF DELEGATES TO THE BIENNIAL AFT CONVENTION, sets forth that voting members ofthe GFT may run for delegate to the AFT Convention ... Article VI, C, 8, c ELIGIBILITY OF CANDIDATES, states that any person who is a regular member of the GFT as of the beginning of the candidacy period of a regular or special election shall have the right to run for office ... Article V, B, 2 THOSE INELIGIBILTIY FOR MEMBERSHIP, persons excluded from being a regular member of the GFT are those who hold any management or supervisory position as defined by law, with the following exception: regular members who serve in any management or supervisory positions shall retain their membership ifthey serve in that position for up to ninety days. After ninety days in that position their membership shall immediately change to GFT associated members until they vacate their management or supervisory position.
Article VI, C, 8, d ELIGIBIL TrY OF VOTERS, Any person who is a regular member of the GFT by the close of the polls in a special or regular election may support and campaign for the candidate of their choice, and vote in the election. Clearly, Matt Rector is not a regular member of any recognized bargaining unit and is a supervisory employee of the GFT for a period far in excess of the ninety day limitation set forth in the Constitution. Therefore, as I have put forward to you in the past regarding Mr. Rector's eligibility to be president in accordance with the terms of the Constitution is not a regular member, nor is he eligible to vote or to be a delegate and represent GFT members at the AFT Convention. It is also worthy to note that pursuant to Article III MEMBERSHIP, Section 9 (page 3) of the AFT Constitution and By-Laws in effect, that former active members who are not eligible to continue their active membership may be admitted as associate members without voting rights, whereas, Mr. Rector is no longer a regular member and holds an associate membership status under the AFT Constitution he is not eligible to vote at the July 2010 AFT Convention. Initially, the remedy I sought to this complaint was one oftwo options. It is now clear based upon the Executive Council's agenda for their meeting of June 29, 2010 that my letter of June 23, 2010 and my formal letter of complaint of June 25, 2010 were not even placed on the agenda or discussed. The only option now available is for AFT to enforce it's Constitution and not recognize Guam's purported delegates to the convention. Out of respect at this time, I will not publicize or distribute this letter. However, should I not receive a response and affirmation that GFT's delegates will not be recognized at the AFT Convention I will move forward to openly inform all delegates at the AFT Convention and any others interested of GFT's failure to maintain a democratic union, as well as, AFT's failure to ensure union member's rights to democracy are preserved. Please also be aware while AFT may overlook Mr. Rector's illegal actions and his lack of integrity, I do not believe that members of the union will; as the People of Guam have by his removal or forced resignation from the Guam Legislature for his lying to obtain a legislative seat and his current criminal charges which appeared just prior to his immediate departure to the AFT Convention. (See attached media reports.) I await, although do not anticipate, your prompt response. Should I not hear from you on or before 5:00 p.m. Chamorro Standard Time, I will proceed as herein provided. Sincerely,
Carol T. Somerfleck, Member in Good Standing
Attachments: Media Reports (Guam News Watch, KUAM News, & Guam PDN) and GFT's March 19,2010 Annual Convention Notices cc:
Ms. Pearl Moenahele, Senior Investigator U.S. Department of Labor Office of Labor Management Standards 300 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 5-121 P.O.Box 50204 Honolulu, Hawaii 96850