City's teachers union votes today court denies former leader's appeal

May 19, 1998|By Greg Garland | Greg Garland,SUN STAFF

Members of the Baltimore Teachers Union head to the polls today to elect a president and other officers, one day after an appeals court rejected a former BTU president's attempt to stop the election.

Former president Irene B. Dandridge, who claims she was improperly excluded as a candidate, said she isn't giving up her fight to reclaim the job she held for 17 years, despite yesterday's ruling.

"We do have some options," Dandridge said. "One is to go to the international union [American Federation of Teachers] and ask for an investigation of the election, and we do plan to do that."

Jeffrey N. Pritzker, Dandridge's attorney, said he will also ask the U.S. Labor Department to investigate the union's handling of the election. He said more than 1,000 teachers signed a petition supporting Dandridge's bid for a spot on the ballot.

"It's possible the entire election could be set aside and that another election with proper supervision would be held," Pritzker said.

A Baltimore Circuit Court judge rejected Dandridge's request last month for an order to place her name on the ballot. In a decision issued yesterday, the Court of Special Appeals, without comment, also rejected her bid to stop today's election.

BTU officials say Dandridge is not eligible to run for union office because her membership lapsed after she stepped down in October as president of the Federation of Maryland Teachers, the state chapter of the AFT.

Although Dandridge is not on the ballot, she has a slate of candidates running for 21 spots on the executive board against a slate backed by her former ally, Lorretta- Johnson, who heads the union's chapter for teachers aides.

Marietta English, the incumbent BTU president, has Johnson's support. English took over the top job when Marcia Brown, who upset Dandridge in a 1996 election, stepped down in January to take another job.

Others on the ballot for president are Peggy J. Waller, Charles A. Dugger, Adolph McDonald and Margo Young.

The voting will be held from 10: 30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at six city school sites.

Pub Date: 5/19/98

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