Steve Conn, who continues to maintain that he won the recent presidential election for the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT), has been suspended from the union, along with three of his colleagues. He was suspended for disrupting the swearing in ceremony for his rival, Keith Johnson, who won the contested union election with less than a 100 votes. Hundreds of valid ballots were thrown out in the election, ballots that Conn and many others believe were unjustly invalidated. Conn asked for a recount, lost, and then won his appeal.
The suspension has no effect on Conn’s teaching assignment or pay or benefits. However, it does ban him from holding any union positions for six months, and he will not be allowed to attend any union meetings. Johnson asserts that he will remain in office and that Conn has no chance of replacing him.
Conn has often criticized the leadership of the teachers unions, calling for their removal. He has also demanded an end to NCLB and RTTT, demands that do not sit well with a union leadership that is more interested in appearing reasonable to the ruling elite so as to maintain friendly relations with them, than they are with helping teachers or students. As a consequence, he has gotten no support from the DFT parent organization, AFT.
Meanwhile, Detroit is preparing to close half of its remaining schools, massively lay off teachers, and increase class sizes to 60 students for high school classes. Keith Johnson has not only done little to resist these attacks, he has worked together with DPS administration to undermine teacher pay and working conditions.