Metro Nashville Public Schools


A Fresh Start Between SEIU and MNPS!

Some staff & members of Local 205 celebrate the passage of a new labor policy by the Metro school board.

Some staff & members of Local 205 celebrate the passage of a new labor policy by the Metro school board.

After years of political and legal wrangling with the Metro Nashville public school district, SEIU Local 205 has come to an agreement with the district that brings an era of conflict and controversy to a close.

As reported by The Tennessean, the MNPS school board unanimously passed a policy which says that the district will recognize MNPS workers’ right to join and assist employee organizations like SEIU and for the director of schools to make good faith efforts to meet and confer with the organizations. The new policy also paves the way for developing a consistent forum to address employees’ concerns and recognizing their rights.

“The new Board policy gives us the opportunity to reestablish a positive partnership with MNPS,” said Brad Rayson, president of SEIU Local 205. “This is a fresh start between the union and the district and we are looking forward to being part of the discussion on how to make Metro schools the best they can be for students, community and employees”.

The new policy brings to an end a protracted legal battle that began when former director of schools Jesse Register voided the district’s labor policy. The adoption of this new policy ends the appeal process which could have taken the case to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

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The Effort to Gut Metro Employee Benefits Fails!

Close to 200 Metro employees and SEIU members packed the Howard School Building to hear Pew's proposal for benefit changes for city employees.

Close to 200 Metro employees and SEIU members packed the Howard School Building to hear Pew’s proposal for benefit changes for city employees.

After a nearly two-year struggle, we are happy to report that the Metro Employee Benefit Board has rejected any cuts to the pension or retiree health benefits for Metro employees!

At their meeting on Oct. 6, the Benefit Board weighed the proposal from Mayor Dean’s Study and Formulating Committee as well as the input from SEIU and decided that it was unfair for firefighters and police to be allowed to keep their medical coverage upon reaching Medicare eligibility while the rest of the city’s employees would be cut off from health insurance when they retired. The Benefit Board voted against the Study Committee’s recommendation, despite a major P.R. push by the Mayor and his allies to convince the public of a “crisis” in unfunded liability for employee benefits which SEIU debunked.

Unless the new mayor or Metro Council decides to revisit this issue, major changes to employee benefits are now effectively dead. You’ll remember that SEIU was able to get any cuts to the employee pension stopped over the summer by an aggressive campaign against the Pew group and the Dean Administration. That victory was only possible because our members turned out and they were vocal about protecting the benefits they earned.

Meanwhile, the Benefit Board did vote in favor of a new lump-sum payout option that the union supports. There are pros and cons to this new option, but the important thing is that the final decision about whether to use it is up to the employee and it is not mandatory. We urge city employees to get more information about this benefit as details are rolled out – assuming it gets approved by the Metro Council.

Thank you to our members who turned out to meetings and talked to their elected officials about these issues and helped secure a major victory. Please tell your non-union co-workers that the reason their benefits are secure is because your Union fought hard to protect them!

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Union Member’s Son Wins $10,000 Scholarship from SEIU Local 205!

Addison-and-Catherine-Pond-Margaret Pond, a paraprofessional working in the Metro Nashville Public Schools, was pleasantly surprised to say the least to find out that her son Addison was the winner of a $10,000 scholarship from Local 205.

Addison is beginning his senior year at Christian Brothers University in Memphis where he is pursuing a degree in Sports Management. He was a public school student in Metro and graduated with honors from Hume-Fogg magnet school.

In addition to participating in a work study job in his college’s sports information office, Addison interned over the summer in the Vanderbilt University athletic department. He has a 3.8 GPA and has made the Dean’s List every semester he’s been in college.

The $10,000 scholarship was a one-time special gift from Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, a labor law firm based in Nashville.

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Fact Check: SEIU Responds to Pew Presentation on Pension & Retiree Medical Benefits

David Draine presents Pews findings to the Study & Formulating Committee in Nashville.

David Draine presents Pew’s findings to the Study & Formulating Committee in Nashville.

On a Friday afternoon, while city employees were still at work and unable to attend, the Study & Formulating Committee met to hear a presentation from Pew Charitable Trusts about the pension and health benefits of Metro employees. And as usual, the committee chair carefully chose questions that fits with the adminstration’s narrative which wrongfully suggests that there is some kind of funding or solvency crisis because of employee benefits that requires “reform”.

Tennessean columnist Frank Daniels, a Dean booster who fretted back in November that the committee might not get to finish its work (even though their work was technically completed back in late summer when they delivered their recommendations on a domestic partner benefit), was contacted by SEIU after the committee met with information that was not brought up or was misrepresented by administration and Pew officials. Here is the statement that SEIU’s Mark Naccarato sent to The Tennessean’s Frank Daniels, which as you can tell by the column Daniels wrote, was largely ignored:

With respect to the $2.4B unfunded liability from medical costs that Pew talked about and which The Tennessean reported on in September, here is some important context missing yesterday:

  • Virtually all cities and states have unfunded liabilities for retiree health care benefits. Unfunded liabilities of this type do not affect a municipality’s credit rating since they ordinarily operate on a “pay as you go” basis. By failing to place these liabilities in context, the committee and Pew are creating  a manufactured crisis over “the Big Scary Number” of unfunded medical liability costs (in this case, it’s $2.4 billion). The truth is that worrying over an unfunded liability for medical costs is no different than panicking because you have a mortgage on your house. If you pay your mortgage every month as you go and don’t miss payments, you are fine. You would only be in a financial crisis if suddenly the bank asked you to pay the entire balance of your mortgage at once with cash. That’s the same thing with unfunded medical liability costs – they are only a concern if for some reason, the entire city workforce retired or got a serious illness at the same time. This is a statistical impossibility, so again, the Big Scary Number is in fact, not so scary.
  • Mr. Riebeling did not address the fact that, in the last two years, Metro employee health insurance premiums have not gone up. This is due to several factors, including the Affordable Care Act, but it is worth asking Mr. Riebeling and Mr. Shmerling: If health care costs are so explosive and are such a large concern, then why have employee premiums decreased over the last two years? The fact that this important positive trend was ignored yesterday reinforces our belief that there is a political agenda, not a policy agenda, at work. Also indicative of a political agenda: this is the third “study” of employee benefits in five years, all during the Dean Administration.
  • It is also worth noting that retiree health care benefits don’t enjoy the same legal protections that say, pension benefits do, so future governments do have the ability to adjust them than they do accrued pension benefits. Having said that, we have to come back to the notion that the Big Scary Number – unfunded medical liability – is not expected to affect the long-term fiscal health or credit rating of the city in and of itself.

With regards to the pension, it seems that there is a concerted effort to try to persuade the public and legislators that any changes to the current Defined Benefit (“DB”) pension plan would only affect new employees. This is not the case and when Mr. Draine from Pew was asked about this yesterday, he dodged the question. If the city creates a separate system and puts its new employees into a Defined Contribution (“DC”) plan or a hybrid plan (similar to the State of Tennessee’s), several things will happen:

  • Paying benefits of current employees in the DB pension plan will become more expensive as a result of what pension actuaries call “transition costs.” Without new young members (and their contributions) coming into the existing pension fund, the pension plan would have only older and retired workers in it. Over time, the investment horizon of the plan managers would shrink and more assets would have to be in liquid form, ready to convert into pension checks. These shifts would lower investment returns and require more taxpayer contributions to meet pension obligations. This raises a serious concern in the future that employees who have retired or close to retirement would have their pension checks cut.
  • The switch to a DC plan would mean higher fees (charged by investment firms who manage DC savings plan options) than with a DB pension pool and lower investment returns. There is a large research literature (e.g., by Towers Watson) on the great cost effectiveness of DB plans. The National Institute on Retirement Security estimated in a  2014 study that DC plans cost nearly twice in contributions to achieve the same retirement benefit.
  • The city is about halfway through a comprehensive pay study and what they already know is that retirement and health benefits – especially the DB pension plan – are the primary attractor for (and retainer of) talent in Metro. If Metro stops offering a DB plan, what is it going to do to keep attracting talent? Especially now that the economy is improving and workers have more job options? Will the city have to increase pay to offset its cut to benefits? How do you explain to someone who’s been working for Metro for 30 years that the new employee who just got hired is making more money than they are? Despite the politically expedient comments offered up yesterday, cutting the DB plan or changing to a hybrid or a DC plan will absolutely affect recruiting and employee morale in a negative way. This has already happened in cities and states where they have closed DB plans for new employees and it will happen here as well.

All of the topics I just mentioned above about the pension plan were discussed at the last meeting of the Study & Formulating Committee in September which you were not at. I can assure you that everyone in the room – including Pew and the city’s actuaries at BPSM – all agreed that putting new hires into a new plan gives the city the same or increased costs and less security. At the last meeting, the tone of the committee and everyone else involved was basically that changing the DB plan (even for future employees) was a non-starter. Which is why all of us were shocked yesterday when Mr. Shmerling brought this up again and seemed to act as if all of that discussion never happened.

I’m not sure if Mr. Riebeling or Mr. Shmerling have made you aware of this, but Nashville’s pension fund is well-funded and in 2013 it had nearly 19% ROI which puts it in the top five pension plans in the U.S. of all cities and states. Some of that has to do with getting out from under the losses that everyone took during the Great Recession, some of it has to do with savvy investment decisions by Metro, and some of it has to do with the minor changes that the unions agreed to that were proposed by the last Study & Formulating Committee. The point is… why would you want to fix something that isn’t broken? Even Mr. Draine agreed (both yesterday and at the last committee meeting in September) that the city’s pension plan was not a major cause for concern from a cost or sustainability perspective. His charts and graphs showed as much yesterday. Again, we see a political motive here, not a case that can be justified from a financial or policy standpoint.

We are very concerned that the state of the city’s benefit system is being portrayed as being in some of kind of crisis situation when it is anything but. There are ideologues – including John Arnold, who is funding Pew’s work – who have an interest in seeing public employee benefits weakened. There are several motives for this, one of which is that it is in the interests of private employers to see benefits diluted so that businesses are not forced to keep up to attract talent. Metro is the county’s second largest employer and if their benefit package is less enticing, then there is no reason for say, HCA or Vanderbilt to keep theirs as competitive – that’s money in the bank for them.  And I think you know by now since SEIU has already talked to Tennessean reporters about this that this “review” by Pew isn’t specific to Nashville. Thanks to funding by Mr. Arnold, Pew has a whole division that is barnstorming the country giving reports to cities and states just like what we heard yesterday.

We believe that this is a campaign to scare taxpayers into thinking that public employee benefits are unsustainable and that there has to be a change. In Nashville, we see little to no justification for “fixing” employee benefits, though we do see a financial motive (access to new capital for risk-prone investors) a business motive (diluting the benefits of a large city workforce benefits private companies’ bottom line), and a political motive (weakening benefits weakens the bargaining position of the labor unions and employee associations who represents the workers) to “reform” the benefit package. Simply put, there is no objective reason to accept these proposals from Pew. Now, there is a whole other discussion to be had about Nashville’s fiscal health over the coming decades as a result of the fiscal policies of the Dean Administration, but we strongly believe – and I think most people would if they had all the facts – that working families should not have to pay for irresponsible spending decisions made by politicians. Especially when those decisions have resulted in nearly $1 billion in tax breaks and subsidies being handed out to corporations that are already located in Nashville and who are making big profits.

Keep in mind too that most of the “reforms” that were suggested yesterday would only affect General Government employees, not public safety employees. You should know if you don’t already that General Government workers don’t make as much money overall as public safety employees and they are made up of more minority workers as well. What kind of message does it send to the community that the city is considering cuts (and yes, we are talking about cuts here – not improvements) to the benefits of a workforce which is lower-paid and has a higher percentage of minorities?

Mr. Daniels, when we read your column about this topic back in November, it seemed as if you were only getting one side of the story on this discussion. I know you are on deadline to try and write a column, but at some point, we really would like to have a conversation to go deeper on these issues as the stakes are high for thousands of hard-working city employees and their families, not to mention the citizens who expect high-quality services.

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Nashville Public Employees Respond to Pew Report on Benefits

Close to 200 Metro employees and SEIU members packed the Howard School Building to hear Pew's proposal for benefit changes for city employees.

Close to 200 Metro employees and SEIU members packed the Howard School Building to hear Pew’s proposal for benefit changes for city employees.

Workers on Public Employee Pension and Health Systems: “It Ain’t Broke… Don’t Fix It”

Hundreds of Nashville firefighters, nurses, law enforcement officers, librarians, water technicians, school employees, and other public service workers and retirees spoke out against a proposal by Pew Charitable Trusts to cut public employee and retiree benefits at a meeting of the Study and Formulating Committee.

Pew issued an interim report that explored a proposal for Metro Nashville to close its existing defined-benefit pension plan and shift future employees into a state pension plan that is a combination – or “hybrid” – of a traditional pension and a 401(k)-type defined-contribution plan. A hybrid proposal would shift more of the costs onto employees, who make on average about $33,000/ year according to a recent compensation study. “A lot of us have to take second jobs to make ends meet and many of us are single moms,” said Vanessa Sanders, a labor and delivery nurse at General Hospital. “After taxes, transportation, health insurance, and all the other necessities, we just cannot afford to have more money come out of our paychecks for a retirement contribution.”

Many questioned the need for any changes after the city conducted a similar study of employee benefits in 2012 in which several key adjustments to the plan were already made. Recently, Metro’s actuaries revealed that the city’s defined benefit plan is 83% funded, putting it in the top tier of public pension funds. CNBC reported that in 2013, the Nashville plan’s investment returns were the fifth highest of all city and state plans in the U.S. In other cities and states that have shifted to a “hybrid” type like the one proposed by Pew, costs to taxpayers increased while benefits for beneficiaries decreased. “If changing the system is actually going to cost the city more money and deliver less of a benefit to workers, why the heck would we do it,” asked Rick Beasley, a 911 dispatcher. “It sounds to me like Pew is creating a “lose-lose” situation that leaves taxpayers and employees paying more and getting less.”

“It ain’t broke, and we don’t need Pew fixing it,” said Jack Byrd, a corrections officer. Pew’s work has been funded by a foundation organized by billionaire John Arnold, a former Enron executive and hedge fund manager. Some have criticized Arnold’s efforts, saying that hedge fund managers like Arnold collect generous sums in fees for managing the funds while workers are left with reduced pension benefits.

The Service Employees International Union, Local 205, which represents thousands of Metro employees across dozens of city departments, agencies, and in Metro schools, made it clear that it opposes any changes to employee benefits. “Pew and their allies are proposing a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Doug Collier, president of Local 205. “If there are any cuts that need to happen in Nashville, it should be to the tax breaks and corporate welfare being handed out to millionaires.”

Pew officials ultimately admitted in their interim report to the Study & Formulating Committee that Metro’s pension is in “solid financial shape,” but did find significant concerns with the unfunded liability the city has as a result of its retiree medical program. The Committee announced that Pew’s work in ongoing and another report is expected in the coming months to examine some remaining issues. The Committee’s next meeting date has not been announced yet.

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SEIU-Endorsed Candidate Pulls Major Upset Over School Board Chair in Nashville

Political_phonebankCheryl Mayes is the latest Metro school board chair to find herself ousted from elected office thanks to the strength of SEIU’s political program. Mayes lost by a margin of over 16 points, despite having the support of Nashville’s political establishment and the business community. Mayes was also a staunch supporter of the director of schools, Jesse Register, who the union has had repeated conflicts with since he arrived in Nashville. Mayes follows the pattern SEIU set in 2010 when the union went after and defeated the previous chair of the school board, Gracie Porter.

The union’s endorsed candidate, Tyese Hunter, who served in the U.S. Navy and is a mother of three children, offered many thanks to the SEIU members who helped ensure her victory. “I am extremely grateful to the SEIU for its belief in my candidacy and support for my campaign,” Tyese says.  “I believe that good, hardworking people are the cornerstone of any successful organization. Valuing those people in word and deed is critical to the ultimate success of MNPS—educating all children at high levels.”

Tyese was elected in school board District 6, which encompasses Antioch & South Nashville. Her term will expire in 2018.


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Pew/Arnold Study on Metro Benefits Causes Confusion and Controversy

(Nashville)  Representatives from Pew Charitable Trusts caused confusion and controversy at a meeting of the Study & Formulating Committee when they revealed data about the Metro employee pension fund that conflicted with data presented by the city’s actuaries.

On multiple occasions, members of the Study & Formulating Committee attempted to get a straight answer from Pew representatives on the amount that Metro’s pension plan is funded at – a number which is crucial in determining if any reforms to the retirement system are even necessary. In a memo to the Committee on July 22, Pew/Arnold stated that Metro was funded at 77%, a number that was debunked by representatives from Bryan, Pendleton, Swats & McAllister, the independent actuary that serves Metro Government. According to BPS&M, Nashville’s open pension plan was funded at a healthy 85% (13% higher than the average state-level pension plan) in 2013. “I want to make sure we aren’t sounding alarms that don’t need to be sounded,” said Glenn Farner, one of the members of the Study & Formulating Committee, to the crowd in attendance.

“It is very disappointing to see an organization like Pew risk its reputation with this kind of fuzzy math in order to push an ideological agenda that puts the retirements of thousands of Middle Tennessee working families at risk,” said Doug Collier, President of SEIU Local 205. SEIU represents public employees in Metro government departments as well as Metro schools support staff, nearly all of whom are covered under Metro’s benefits plan.

Despite its credible name, Pew is partnering with the John & Laura Arnold Foundation to push a particularly dangerous plan to cripple public pensions all across the country. The Wall Street Journal identified Texas billionaire and former Enron executive John Arnold as one of the major forces behind efforts to cut worker pensions at the city and state level. Arnold, who was the subject of a Department of Justice investigation related to his work at Enron (including accusations of insider training and his role in wiping out the retirements of thousands of Enron employees) has funneled massive amounts of money to pension-gutting politicians and their super PACs. His foundation has also directed $4.85 billion to Pew Charitable Trusts’ “Public Sector Retirement Systems” project, which has produced anti-pension research used by state lawmakers to justify cutting into public workers’ retirement benefits, often replacing them with more expensive, less reliable and widely-discredited 401(k) plans or their newer cousin, “hybrid pension plans,” which bring with them hefty bank fees and unnecessary risk for seniors.

The Pew/Arnold work has been called “deceptive” by a host of state legislators in Kentucky after the organizations convinced the state of Kentucky to adopt a new “cash balance plan” which the legislators said “will cost taxpayers millions of dollars, will not reduce our state’s unfunded liability, and will diminish retirement security.” Pew also recently dropped into Jacksonville, Florida to provide policy recommendations addressing the city’s retirement challenges. There, Pew provided a flawed actuarial analysis that wildly overstated the Jacksonville police and fire pension fund’s problems. The city ultimately rejected Pew’s advice.

“It seems like everywhere Pew/Arnold goes, their recommendations are the same – to weaken the retirement security of public employees,” Collier said. According to investment research firm Morningstar, Metro Nashville was the seventh-highest ranked public pension fund in the U.S., with an ROI of 18.3% in 2013. “It ain’t broke, so there is no need for Pew/Arnold to try and fix it,” said Collier.

Another controversy plaguing the Study & Formulating Committee is its agenda. The current committee was formed by Mayor Karl Dean at the request of Metro Council members who asked the mayor to appoint a committee “specifically to consider the provision of domestic partner benefits,” according to a letter signed by 26 city council members on Oct. 2, 2013. “It was never the intent of the Council for this committee to be debating and discussing other employee benefits,” said Collier. “The city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on an exhaustive study like this only two years ago and the changes that needed to be made were made. It is time for this current committee to be dissolved since their work on domestic partner benefits is concluded.”


The Service Employees International Union is one of the fastest-growing labor unions in the U.S. with over 2.1 million members in North America. In Tennessee, SEIU Local 205 is chartered to represent thousands of public and private sector workers.

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Court Rules in Favor of SEIU vs. Metro Schools

Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman sided with SEIU Local 205 in the union’s lawsuit against Metro Nashville Public Schools. The case began in 2011, when Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register unilaterally “rescinded” a school board policy that had been in place since 2000 which, among other things, allowed school support staff to elect bargaining representatives (in this case, Local 205) and which required the superintendent to meet and confer to develop a Memorandum of Understanding.

Chancellor Bonnyman’s ruling on June 24 is the second time that a court has sided with SEIU on this issue, but MNPS plans to appeal the decision. “It’s ironic when we hear school officials, including Dr. Register, complain about how the state government is trying to take away local control of our schools when it comes to charters, but yet here is Register doing the same thing,” says Doug Collier, President of SEIU Local 205. “The Court clearly said – again – that Register did not have the authority to go around the school board in doing away with the Labor Negotiations Policy and we are wondering when the school board is going to hold Register accountable for thumbing his nose at both them and us.” While attorneys are currently waiting for Chancellor Bonnyman’s written order, her bench ruling indicated that the Labor Negotiation Policy is still in effect and that Dr. Register did not have the legal authority to rescind the LNP.

This is not the first time Register has been embroiled in controversy. In 2010, despite great opposition from the Metro Council and the community, Register ordered the layoffs of nearly 700 custodians and groundskeepers. As a result, hundreds of experienced, loyal city employees – mostly minorities – were sent to the unemployment line. Those that managed to get re-hired lost their benefits and saw their pay slashed. In 2012, Dr. Register was caught making disparaging comments about school employees while being interviewed on a local TV talk show when he thought the cameras weren’t rolling. Register also enraged parents and disability advocates when he laid off about 100 paraprofessionals working with special needs children. Also in 2012, Register was exposed in a front-page story by The Tennessean of violating his employment contract for not filing the ethics and conflict-of-interest forms that were required of him. That particular episode caused Mayor Karl Dean to publicly call for him to complete the forms and caused a Nashville-area state legislator to call for Register’s resignation or termination.

Local 205 also won a separate lawsuit in 2012 in which a judge ruled that support employees have the right to appeal their termination to the school board. That case was remanded by the Tennessee Court of Appeals for further litigation. “Despite the court ruling against them on that issue too, Register has terminated 19 support workers and displaced 49 others without affording them an independent hearing,” Collier said. “That’s another 68 working families being torn apart thanks to Dr. Register’s refusal to comply with court instructions.”

All of this prompted school board member Will Pinkston to issue a statement at the July 2014 school board meeting in which he said “this has gone on long enough… it’s time to cut our losses and chart a path toward more collaborative labor relations… this is a distraction.” To date, school board chair Cheryl Mayes, who is in a bid for re-election, has refused to add the issue for discussion on the school board meeting agenda. Pinkston has said that if Mayes does not bring the issue up on the agenda soon that he will be putting forward a motion for Register to abide by the Labor Negotiations Policy.

“Taxpayers should be asking the district to stop wasting money that could be spent in the schools on a legal defense fund for Jesse Register and voters should be asking school board candidates if they plan to hold Register accountable for his long history of defying the law and the courts,” Collier said. “All we are asking and all we have ever asked is for Dr. Register to acknowledge workers’ rights to have a union and to go by the policies that elected school members have put in place.”

You can read more about this story at The Tennessean.


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SEIU Endorses Tyese Hunter in MNPS District 6!

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 205, the labor organization representing support employees working in the Metro Nashville Public Schools, announced the candidates the organization will be supporting in the School Board elections to be held on August 7, 2014.

“Nashville’s public schools are best run by people who have the biggest stake in them – families and educators. We hope that voters will take a look at supporting school board members who are qualified, compassionate, and who are tired of ‘business as usual’ at MNPS,” said Doug Collier, President of SEIU Local 205.

In District 6, SEIU is supporting Tyese Hunter who is challenging the current school board chair, Cheryl Mayes. Tyese, a Metro schools parent with a Master’s degree in higher education from TSU, also served six years with the United States Navy Reserves and brings a unique set of skills to the table. “As a Recruit Chief Petty Officer, Tyese led a group of 86 women through boot camp, which says a lot about her leadership abilities and being able to motivate people,” said Collier. “With all the challenges that our schools face today, we need stronger leadership than we’re seeing now and we think Tyese fits the bill.” Tyese is also a forceful advocate for children with disabilities and those who face disadvantages because of income or language barriers. “Tyese wants to raise expectations and outcomes for all students in Metro schools.” District 6 is primarily located in the Antioch area.

Election Day will be on Thursday, August 7. Complete information on early voting dates and locations is available from the Davidson County Election Commission or call 862-8800.


SEIU Local 205 represents support employees working in the Metro Nashville Public Schools and has since 2001. Members come from nearly every department in the district and include school secretaries, cafeteria workers, paraprofessionals, education assistants, campus supervisors, maintenance workers, crossing guards and others who play a role in shaping the lives of children in Davidson County.



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SEIU Files IRS Complaint Against Tennessee Charter Group’s Tax Status

SEIU Local 205 was one of several labor groups who have filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service. The complaint suggests that the Tennessee Charter School Center exists only as a lobbying organization and shouldn’t qualify for tax-exempt status. SEIU wants the IRS to examine the lobbying practices of the TCSC, which was able to help establish a statewide charter authorizer that strips away the power of locally elected school boards.

The Central Labor Council, Jobs With Justice, and Urban Epicenter all joined with Local 205 in filing the complaint.

Read the full story at Nashville Public Radio or The Tennessean.

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