Officials representing the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees told a D.C. Superior Court judge yesterday that a new vote would be held on a labor contract the union previously maintained had been accepted by 2,500 city school workers.
"We are no longer claiming that the contract was ratified," John C. Dempsey, an attorney representing the AFSCME, told Judge William C. Gardner. "We saw chances of prolonged litigation . . . . There was a tumultuous meeting."
The promise of a new vote came during a hearing that was ordered two weeks ago when a rival union, the Teamsters, successfully disputed the AFSCME's assertions that the contract had been approved. The Teamsters won a temporary injunction barring the D.C. school board from holding public hearings on the contract.
AFSCME officials had told school officials a majority of food service and maintenance workers ratified the contract by a voice vote July 10, but yesterday said yesterdaythe vote was widely disputed and "tumultuous."
The Teamsters are fighting for the right to represent the workers, and have petitioned the city for a representational election. In the court case, Teamsters officials submitted 60 notarized statements from workers who claimed that the contract had been rejected. The Teamsters said they had a tape recording of the vote.