A.F.T. Sets Aside Election Of Local President in D.C.
In an unusual display of authority over one of its local affiliates, the American Federation of Teachers has invalidated the election of Jimmie C. Jackson, the president of the District of Columbia teachers' union, and recommended that a new round of voting take place.
A panel formed by the A.F.T.'s executive council concluded late last month that routine voting procedures were not followed last summer, when Ms. Jackson was re-elected as head of the Washington Teachers' Union.
The A.F.T. has advised the union to hold a new election for president and other offices by Jan. 31.
The national office was asked to intervene by several of Ms. Jackson's challengers. "We've been called into other locals where there were problems,'' said Donna Fowler, a spokeswoman for the A.F.T., "but it's pretty rare.''
Officials of the national union will not comment further on the issue until the W.T.U. has a chance to review the panel's findings, she added.
Barbara Bullock, one of the challengers for the 5,000-member union's top post, said W.T.U. officials refused to cooperate with an independent arbitrator--who was called in before the appeal to the union's parent organization--when he asked for a list of dues-paying members who were eligible to vote in the election.
Challengers who asked to see the document were also turned away by Ms. Jackson, according to Ms. Bullock, who lost the race for president by about 100 votes.
Ms. Bullock said that during the voting she noticed at least 10 people who were not eligible casting ballots.
"If you have nonunion members who received ballots, and members who did not, there's something wrong,'' she said.
Several union members also claim that Ms. Jackson pushed back the date of the election by a month in order to have more time to campaign.
Ms. Jackson and other officials of the local union did not return telephone calls last week.
Although the arbitrator ruled the election invalid, Ms. Jackson refused to recognize the finding, charging that the investigation was biased.
After the challengers appealed to the national office, the A.F.T. formed a panel of executive-committee members to study the issue. They presented their recommendations to the full executive council last month.
"I feel we have finally received justice,'' Ms. Bullock