Saying Goodbye after 25 years: A reflection

Saying Good-Bye to a Local Association that Lost Sight of Its Mission

and Its Influence on Public Education by Lora Elliott Veteran Teacher

 

There was a time when my local teachers’ association, Indianapolis Education Association(IEA), was the exemplar across the state.  The association serving Indianapolis largest school district, IPS, was so large, it could influence policy at the state level. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Going #RedforEd has not brought reform or pay increases to Indianapolis Public Schools. 

IEA has been one of the most corrupt organizations during this past decade.  By no means has it come close to fulfilling its mission. These are the highlights of the corruption just in the past two years.

Issues prior to 2018-2019 School Year

  • Lost its tax-exempt status

  • Did not file taxes for multiple years but retained all the money and the Exclusive Representative for the district

  • Former President stole in excess of $100,000 from collected dues but was never removed as a member

  • Former President did not have a valid teacher’s license from May of 2015 until June of 2018.  By our constitution, not only should she have not been President, she was not entitled to be a member.

  • No open voting or nominating for any positions for multiple years

  • No Fiscal Committee or Report given to members for multiple years

  • No Quorum (30 % Voting) reached in any election over the past several years

  • The President and another member told me as a member that I was not allowed to voice my concerns with my fellow staff members on my campus

  • The President and another member came to my job to try and damage my reputation with my principal without me present.

Continued Issues since "new regime".

  • Current President won his Vice President election with less than 50 votes as vice president.  When violations of our bylaws and constitution were brought up during a scheduled meeting, his response was to close the meeting as quick as possible.  

  • Rules were changed and adopted for elections under the direction of our current president the night they accepted nominations for elections. They did this without notifying you the member.  They changed the rules for nominations and accepted nominations without notifying you the member. I have never seen such a self-serving group as the current group of leaders that call themselves IEA.  

  • They have called me – a member, a union member antagonizer for trying to hold them accountable.  I am a card carrying, union dues paying member like 700 other teachers.

  • They raised your dues without an executive board taking a vote.  The executive board only discussed. They are going to raise again in the fall because of the raise we received this year.

  • They tell you they are bargaining.  Formal bargaining begins September 15th.  Where are the notes?  Why are they not published?  Fringe Benefits – WOW!?! I’d love to see where they negotiated some of these moves.  There probably are not any notes from the association. Like your medical insurance? They bargained that for you.  They probably did not attend those meetings. If they had, why would you not share that you are about to be stifled to one supplemental retirement account as a pre-taxed benefit?  We all know how well we have financially done with VALIC. The better question is why did you lie? If you say you are bargaining, which you have, that is a violation of state law.

  • They tell you that you need the liability issue.  Check out Indianapolis Teachers Society’s web page.  We have alternatives for you that is a ½ price sale!

  • Transparency? No…I don’t see it.

  • Ask yourself…What do I get for that money? The same discount on a vacation package you can get on Trivago?


 

I invited our State Association to attend our May 2018 Association Representative Meeting.  During that meeting, I asked them to do an Audit of the Finances, to convey a Judicial Review of potential Fraud of our President collecting money without being a valid teacher and to conduct a review of our Committees based on Election Irregularities and no quorum being reached.  Well, our state association is not your watch dog when corruption occurs. They picked which areas they wanted to investigate and did nothing with the others. They did an audit and found that it was worse than expected. They verbally told me that they were going to leave the current vice president in his position without us having and uphold the election.  Think about the last time that the State Association fought for something that was beneficial to us or our students. Hmm…Hard to come up with that one.

After the former president was asked to resign, we asked for a new election.  We asked the state to invite all those teachers who resigned in the spring to come to the meeting in late fall as a good faith gesture.  They did not feel they needed to do so. Our requests went without response. I wanted to believe in ISTA and IEA so much that I rejoined.  

At that late fall meeting, I realized the only thing these two organizations want from IPS teachers is our money.  They don’t care about us.

I got my Sirius XM bill the other day and gasped when I saw how much my renewal was.  I called and canceled just because of cost. In perspective, it was less than ½ price of our union dues and it was for three years.  I got something enjoyable every day. How can I keep the association bill when I get so much less enjoyment and very little to show for it?

Well it is our lucky window.  From June 1 through July 15, you have the right to resign.  Today, you can vote no with your money.  If you signed a piece of paper giving you free membership until next year, you must send a letter during this window to resign from the association.  Check out HOW TO RESIGN for a sample resignation letter. 

#GiveYourselfARaise

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