By Scott Farnsworth
It has taken nearly a month and numerous email exchanges of proposed dates to finalize a time for a hearing of the KEA’s objections to the recertification election results for the Education Support Professional/Noon Hour Supervisor and the Substitute Teacher Bargaining Units, but March 24th has been set as the date. Additionally, since the arguments are closely related, WERC Chief Legal Counsel Peter Davis will also hear the prohibited practice complaint the KEA filed against the District for its having denied us the ability to communicate with bargaining unit members through district email during the recertification election. This ban, in combination with the fact that the notice of the elections were not adequately posted for the majority of the members in these bargaining units to be aware that the election was taking place, form the basis of our objection.
The KEA believes that it was for these reasons that participation in the election for these two units fell below the 51% threshold needed to be successful. Given that not a single negative vote was cast in the ESP/Noon Hour unit, and only 3 in the Substitute Teacher Unit, a majority simply knowing that there was an election underway is all that would be needed for a successful recertification.
We spoke often during the recertification window of the stark contrast to the level of communication by the District about this year’s election compared to the one held in December of 2014. There was also the controversy that arose over the District’s attorney advising a delay in the vote for the stipend payments to employees (in lieu of bargained salary increases) as an additional indication that some seemed to wish to negatively influence the participation in the election.
We look forward to the hearings and what we believe will be a ruling to allow us to pursue a new recertification election cycle in which we will be able to communicate effectively with all of the employees we represent. We believe that such an opportunity will bring us success.