An anonymous email sent to Fresno Unified employees bashes the Fresno Teachers Association for demanding a more public bargaining process and threatening to strike.
In an email sent Jan. 12 from the address “firstname.lastname@example.org,” the sender claims that the FTA’s 4,000 members are being lied to by union leadership, alleging that member dues have been wrongly raised and that members should not attend contract negotiations like they’ve been encouraged to do.
In November, the FTA said it was preparing for a strike if Fresno Unified officials would not allow its members to attend bargaining sessions. In a rare move, and in a call for transparency, the FTA has demanded that its typically private negotiations with district officials be open to its members. But Fresno Unified officials so far have refused the setup, walking out when more than 200 people showed up to negotiations in September.
“Threatening to strike early in the process of bargaining shows a lack of faith in the process. It shows that FTA is unwilling to bargain for its members,” the email states. “Do you feel you have been given adequate information regarding this process? Ask yourself, have you been polled on how you feel about this round of bargaining?”
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You are being lied to by your FTA leadership.
Anonymous email sent to Fresno Unified employees
The FTA contends the email’s allegations are false.
In an email sent to FUSD employees – also on Jan. 12 – FTA leadership responded to the allegations, calling it misinformation. The FTA claims that it has not advocated for a strike before the bargaining process is complete.
“We have prepared our members for a possible strike, but hope that negotiations will progress in a way that is collaborative for all stakeholders,” the email reads.
The FTA’s email takes issue with the term “public bargaining” and says it is inviting FTA members and “people with special knowledge of the issues” to negotiations, as allowed by bargaining rules.
The FTA also discredits the claims about membership dues, saying that elected representatives overwhelmingly voted for the amounts.
We are addressing lies with facts.
Fresno Teachers Association
“Normally, we would not dignify such an email with a formal response, especially when the name of author(s) was not disclosed,” the email said. “In the interest of full transparency and due to our concern over who had access to send such an email to all FUSD employees, we are addressing lies with facts.”
The past year has been especially tense for the union and Fresno Unified leadership, amid a federal investigation of the district’s no-bid construction contracts. FTA President Tish Rice recently demanded that the school board oust Superintendent Michael Hanson, expediting his plans to resign this summer.
Neither Rice nor the “save FTA” group responded to requests for comment.