May 2001 (Click on a link below to read the article)

President's Report

AFT Education Award

ER&D Summer Courses

ParaEducator Mini-Grants Opportunity

Can EAA Represent Their Members at AFT Grievances

Thank You and Farewell From Lovely Billups

St. Thomas Library Association In Need Of Assistance

Alkon, Rhea & Hart Offers AFT Representation

Members Suffer Pain Without Gain

Teacher of the Year Thanks AFT

House For Rent

Calendar of Events

President’s Report: STT-STJ/St. Croix Joint Council Needed

During our recent struggles with the VI government it became obvious, at times, that both AFT Locals were not operating from the same hymn book.  This was not the first time our locals disagreed on a clear path to address issues common to both locals.  Over the years the joint council met and made decisions which were forwarded to both locals Representative Council and/or the General Membership for ratification.  However, due to the seriousness of conducting union affairs it became necessary to codify the relationship between both locals.  Hence, this lead the members of both locals Executive Board to establish joint by-laws.  After the strike was enjoined by the courts AFT 1825 Executive Board discovered at a joint meeting that these by-laws were not being recognized by the new Executive Board of the St. Croix Federation of Teachers.  This situation became problematic because it was critical for both locals to decide jointly on a course of action.  Should we move towards mediation through PERB or pursue other courses of action?  Since that time several attempts have been made to put in place a set of joint rules, a memorandum of agreement or a substitute set of by-laws which the St. Croix Federation would find acceptable.  We are happy to report that during recent conversation with the President of the St. Croix Federation of Teachers, Mr. Molyneaux, we were informed that he formed a Committee to draft a “memorandum of agreement” which will be presented to our Joint Council for discussion.  Clearly, the future and strength of both AFT Locals depends on our ability to build a stronger more effective joint council.  The entire labor relations landscape in this territory has changed so much during the last decade. Our past practice of resolving critical issues facing the lives and livelihood of our members through a “gentlemens’ agreement” is no longer viable.

  Moreover, we are the only two AFT Locals which jointly negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement with an employer although we were certified by PERB as two separate unions.  That’s why its critical for us to codify our joint relationship.  There is simply too much at stake for our Locals not to cement the bonds which have brought us where we are today.  Moreover, in a few more months the AFT will be returning to the bargaining table based on the reopener clause in our recent agreement.  It is in our best interest to re-establish  joint by-laws which would outline a clear procedural path for us to build a more effective Teachers Union Movement in these beloved islands.  Once drafted and reviewed by the joint-councils, both Local(s) Building Representative Council and General Membership will have an opportunity to ratify this document.

We must understand clearly that the struggle to maintain our viability as a trade union is being threatened not just by those we perceive to be our enemies;but also by individuals pretending to be “Friends of Labor.” Therefore, strengthening the bond between AFT Locals 1825-26, will place us in a better strategic position to defend our cause and continue our struggle for economic justice in this territory!

Important Notice:

There will be an important  PSRP meeting on May 23, 2001 4:30 p.m at Palms court Harbor View Hotel. All Paraprofessional and Support Staff are asked to please attend and bring all issues and concerns. Valerie Johnson 4th Vice President and Lydia Gumbs 5th Vice President and President Glen J. Smith will be giving reports and updates so please make every effort to attend!

Alison Degrasse-Ford Receives AFT Highest GPA Education Award  

    Ms. Degrasse-Ford is the resident graduating Elementary Education major with the highest grade point average (GPA=3.80) in her professional education courses. She received a plaque and a savings bond of $100.00 on May 4, 2001 at the Annual Awards Program at the University of the Virgin Islands.

ER&D Summer Courses

The ER&D program of Local 1825 will be sponsoring two courses this summer: “Early Reading Intervention” and “Managing Anti-Social Behavior.”  “Early Reading Intervention is geared towards grades K-3 and provides strategies for developing phonemic awareness and decoding skills in early readers.  “Managing Anti-Social Behavior” is for all grade levels and provides strategies for dealing with disruptive behavior in the classroom and campus.

Both courses will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. the week of August 20-24.  The location has not been finalized.  The courses are open to all AFT members(teachers, paras, support staff).  We will be requesting approval of CEU credit from the Board of Education and anticipate a positive response as has been given in the past.

Registration for each course is limited to 25 members.  For further information, or to register, please call the AFT office at 776-1825. Registration will close June 30, 2001.

ParaEducator Mini-Grants Opportunity

Do you know of or work with an inclusive school that would like to improve its paraeducator supports?  Our federally funded project is seeking 21 schools from across the country to continue field-testing “A Guide to School wide Planning for Paraeducator Supports”.  We offer the schools the planning materials and $1,000 in exchange for information about their use of the planning process.  For all the specifics, check out our website at Click on the link labeled “Paraeducator Mini-Grants”, then click on the link labeled “mini-grants available for 2001-2002. The application can be downloaded and mailed or faxed.  We will fund the first 21 schools that meet our selection criteria, so we encourage interested schools to get their applications in as soon as possible.

Michael Fl. Giangreco Ph.D.  

Project Director

Center on Disability and Community Inclusion

University of Vermont

5 Burlington Square, Ste.450

Burlington, Vermont 05401-4439

Can EAA Represent Their Members at AFT Grievances?

Dear Carver Farrow:

We acknowledge that from time to time, the Education Administration Association has        represented their members during grievance hearings filed by members of the AFT.  This practice will no longer be allowed because it violates Act 4440.

The Educational Administration Association can only represent its’ members at hearings when their collective bargaining agreement is being violated by the Department of Education.

Your full understanding on this matter shall be greatly appreciated.


Glen J. Smith

Thank You and Farewell From Lovely Billups

       Dear Friends:

My, how time flies! This culminates 20 years of service in the Educational Issues Department.  It has been a tremendously rewarding experience that has contributed to my personal and professional growth.  I will, however, continue to work with a few AFT projects.

Of greatest importance has been my relationship with you–especially those in the ER&D family–Local Leaders, Local Site Coordinators, national trainers, local trainees, state and national staff, district leaders, and educational researchers.  We have accomplished so much together.  We built on our successes and learned from our failures.  We are stronger and smarter than ever, as so many of us have “stuck it out” from the very beginning (almost two decades ago).  Yet, we have sustained our vitality as we welcome more and more members into our family, increase the quality and quantity of ER&D courses and extend our services to larger groups of AFT constituencies.

I treasure every gift you have given me, both intrinsic and extrinsic.  Each one is on display in my home, on my person or in my heart.  Among my Christmas cards was one with this special message, “Whenever I think about the things that make me happy and the people who mean so very much to me...I always find myself thinking of you.”

Thanks for the memories!

In Unity

Lovely H. Billups

St. Thomas Library Association in need of Assistance

        The Friends of the St. Thomas Library Association is soliciting members.  One goal of this group is to establish a new community library in the Tutu area.  This library would provide services for all groups in our community children, adolescents, young adults, adults and the elderly.  Become a member of the Friends and you can help make the dream of a new community library come true for our students and teachers.

    If you would like to become a member, please contact the Membership Committee Chairperson Bill Grogan.

Telephone: 776–0168


Alkon, Rhea & Hart Offers AFT Representation in Non-Labor Matters

 (excerpts from letter written by Kwame Motilewa of Law Offices of Alkon, Rhea & Hart to AFT)  

The Law Offices of Alkon, Rhea and Hart would like to represent the membership of the St. Thomas and St. John Federation of Teachers in non-labor matters. To this end we propose to offer a package of services to those MEMBERS who would like to use our offices.

Alkon, Rhea and Hart is a well established law firm with a history of more than thirty years of service in the Virgin islands.  There are a total of six attorneys on staff to handle a wide variety of cases.  It has established an office on St. Thomas at #19 Norre Gade, and can be reached by telephone at 714-5409, in order to better serve this island.  The goal of this firm is to provide competent legal service at an affordable price.

In exchange for the privilege of being recognized as the lawyers of the union, and a monthly fee of $7.50 per member, ARH is prepared to offer the following:

1.                  Two one-hour presentations(seminars or workshops) during the school year free of charge to union members.  The topics of same will be selected by the union.

2.                  Provide a twenty percent(20%) discount on all legal services to all members who accepts this offer.

3.                  Provide a free 30 minute consultation on non-labor matters.

These services will also be available to the spouses and minor children of members who elect to use it.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Members Suffer Pain Without Gain

    The following AFT members haven’t received one or more of the following: step increase, nopa, retro.  Reuben Alamby, Jean Figueroa, Ellen Lewis, Susan Julius, Scott Johnston, Jan Rashid, Shana Francis, Kava Emanuel, Kathy Hudson, Liston Sewer, Jennifer Norford, Carla Howard, Rubye Tisdale-Todman, Diana Rogers, Andrea Hendrickson, Cynthia Anthony. AFT members who are still waiting for NOPA, step increase, or retro please call the AFT office with your name and employee number.  

Teacher of the Year Thanks AFT

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder! The apple plaque presented to me at the recognition program on March 30, 2001 defies that statement.  It is a thing of beauty!

Please convey to the membership my sincere thanks for the exquisite apple crystal plaque and your partnership in obtaining the printer.  Both gifts are appreciated.  The plaque brightens my mantle and the printer raises my level of technology.  Thank you again for your kindness.


Juliette Gooding  

3 Bedroom

2 Bathroom

2 Large Gallery

Location: 9 Crown Gate Garden, 7th Day Street Opposite Human Services Parking Lot

Call 774-7545


May 13, 2001

Calendar of Events

  • May 21 -   AFT Speaks on WSTA - 7PM

  • May 23-  PSRP Meeting - Harbor View

  • June 6 -  General Membership Meeting   4:30 Palms Court    

  • June 6- General Membership Meeting   4:30 Palms Court Harbor View 

March Drumbeat                April Drumbeat

Please take some time to fill out the AFT survey.  You can print it and turn it in to your Building Representative or the AFT office.