DFT recall organizers rally

DETROIT - Members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers say they have enough signatures to force a recall vote against their union president, but the president called the recall leaders "dissidents" who want to "turn the DFT into a socialist organization," television station WDIV reported.

Some teachers gathered in front of the DFT building Thursday to call for President Keith Johnson's ouster and to protest a new contract calling for them to defer $10,000 in pay until they leave the district, according to WDIV. Johnson told the station that the contract saved 1,500 education jobs.

The contract was approved by 64 percent of union members, WDIV reported.

"He's sold out the members, so we're throwing him out," DFT member Heather Miller told WDIV.

"This is a group of dissidents who are led by two of our members, whose primary objective is to turn the DFT into a socialist organization," Johnson told the station.

The recall petitions accuse Johnson of improperly wording the ratification ballots, WDIV reported. His opponents also are asking members to file wage complaints with the state of Michigan as a way to block the pay deferral.

To oust Johnson, members must get a two-thirds vote at a membership meeting, according to WDIV. Johnson said the bylaws allow for the removal of a president, WDIV reported, but not for the reasons the protesting members are presenting.

WDIV, "DFT Members Want Leaders Recalled," Jan. 7, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Michigan's Public Employment Relations Act: Public-Sector Labor Law and Its Consequences," Sept. 3, 2009