As the president of the Culver City Federation of Teachers, I was surprised and disappointed to read some of the anti-union statements attributed to school board member and current candidate, .
In speaking of endorsements (we have endorsed and ), Mr. Zeidman said, “give me a union that is going to negotiate for more money and more benefits and I am on the other side. I don’t want it. I want the teachers. I don’t want the union. There is a huge difference.”*
We were happy to endorse Scott Zeidman when he first ran for office four years ago. He impressed us as a bright guy who was willing to work hard for our schools. He sought the union endorsement and seemed happy to get it.
Since that time, I’m not sure what we’ve done—other than endorse Nancy and Laura—to warrant these harsh remarks. In fact, employee unions in CCUSD have worked collaboratively with the board as we work our way through this current . CCUSD asked teachers and support staff to take in each of last two years—and the unions agreed.
Now it is true that some of us have been critical of Mr. Zeidman’s management of board meetings. As president, he has presided over a board that has set new lows for public discourse. Board members have been allowed to insult community members on a regular basis. No one stepped in to stop a board member from repeatedly calling me a “liar” despite board policies mandating civil discourse. More recently, no one intervened when a board member insulted candidate Robert Zirgulis by calling him a “moron” and “the village idiot.” **
Students attending these meetings expressed shock that this is the level of public discourse in our community.
Mr. Zeidman can say whatever he wants about unions. Maybe he’s trying to wrap up the anti-union vote in our community. But our employee unions, both teachers and support staff, have worked hand-in-hand with the district as partners in these tough times.
We need school board members who understand that when unions are valued partners in the educational process, kids benefit.
--David Mielke, President of the Culver City Federation of Teachers
*As told to Front Page Online.com editor Ari L. Noonan.
**Said at the Oct. 25 Board of Education meeting