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Washington Teachers' Union Election Challenged

By V. Dion Haynes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 4, 2005; Page B04

Two losing candidates in the recent election for Washington Teachers' Union president are challenging the results.

Rachel Hicks, a union field representative defeated in last month's presidential runoff by junior high school mathematics teacher George Parker, said yesterday that her campaign committee is seeking a new election.

_____The Teachers Union_____
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Her campaign asserts that the American Federation of Teachers administrator running the union violated its constitution and other rules by authorizing union staff to mail out campaign materials and by allowing her opponent to disparage her in his literature. She also alleges that many union members did not receive ballots.

"What I'm hoping for is that all members of the bargaining unit will be given a chance to vote in a fair election," Hicks said.

Elizabeth Davis, who lost in the first round of the election in December, says in her challenge that the AFT administrator violated the constitution by bringing in an outside firm to run the election rather than allowing a union committee to make that decision.

The two challenges, which will be investigated by the union's election committee, illustrate the turmoil in the 4,500-member union as it attempts to emerge from a two-year takeover by the AFT. The parent organization seized control of the union after then-president Barbara A. Bullock was charged with embezzling $4.6 million from the union. She is serving a nine-year prison term.

George Springer, who is running the local union, denied that he violated the constitution or other rules. But he said he will defer to the union committee's evaluation of how he ran the election.

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