Teachers in Vermillion Unified School District 380, which includes Centralia and Frankfort, voted 27-9-1 Friday to end collective bargaining representation by the Kansas National Education Association. In "de-certifying," the Vermillion teachers joined their southwest Kansas counterparts in Deerfield, which took similar action by an 11-10 vote in June.
News of the Vermillion vote was released by Garry Sigle, executive director of the Kansas Association of American Educators, who wrote via email that "the unaffiliated group of teachers that I had been working with won the election over the NEA State affiliated KNEA group."
Sigle, reached by phone said the decision means each Vermillion teacher will get to vote on who will represent them in collective bargaining talks, rather than only those who pay KNEA dues getting a vote.
He said he was part of a similar movement in 2009 in Riley County.
“Everybody has an opportunity to have a say rather than just those who choose to pay KNEA dues,” Sigle said.
Karen Godfrey, president of the KNEA, said Vermillion's de-certification wasn’t unexpected because the process has been underway for some time.
“It’s always a right that they have to do that," Godfrey said. "And we will still have members in Vermillion, and we’ll provide membership opportunities to those members.”
(I'll bet she wasn't so pleasant during the process though! Chajoling, threatening, and vindictive are the words that come to my mind from my experiences. RA)