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Doug Mann LPN, LNC

Minneapolis Central Labor Union COPE Questionnaire

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Questionnaire for Minneapolis School Board Candidates
Minneapolis Central Labor Union C.O.P.E.


Board of Education Candidates

Name: Doug Mann Date: Feb. 7, 2006

Address: 3619 Grand Avenue South, Minneapolis 55409

Phone: (home) 612 824-8800

Office sought: Minneapolis School Board

Incumbent? No

Campaign Committee: Doug Mann for School Board

Most recent treasurer: Evelyn Eubanks, deceased Sept 2005

PO Box 8514, Mpls., MN 55408

Prior experience running for Public office:

Minneapolis School Board, on general election ballot in 2002

Minneapolis City Council, ward 8, through primary in 2005

Have you ever received Central Labor Union endorsement? No

Are you, or have you even been, a member of an AFL-CIO union?

If yes, what unions and what years?

Yes. UFCW local 789 (nursing home division), 1974-1978

I served as a union steward and bargaining committee delegate, assisted members with grievances, challenged the employer’s interpretation of contract language, investigated (false) allegations of employee misconduct, and played a role in leading a fight to reverse work-force reductions and implementation of an agreement to cut sick pay benefits. I wrote and self-published a memoir based on that experience entitled “The Diary of a Nursing Home Agitator.”

Endorsements by Political Parties? None

Other endorsement? None

Additional endorsement you will be seeking? PACs of: MFT local 59 (already screened), SEIU State Council, AFSCME Council 5, UE 1139, and other labor unions.

Who is your source of information on labor issues? Self informed, no labor advisor.

Labor liaison? None yet.

Party identification? Green (and a labor party advocate), considering affiliation with the newly formed Independent Freedom Party, which is still in an early stage of formation.



Board of Education Candidates / Doug Mann

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1. Why are you seeking Labor’s endorsement?

I have a pro-Labor agenda. The strategic aims of my campaign: 1) To make a quality public education accessible to all on an equal basis, which will require an equalization of critical educational inputs to school sites and programs. 2) To raise awareness of the dangers of “No Child Left Behind-” inspired “reforms” of labor law and school governance, e.g., weakening or elimination of seniority and tenure rights, and the charterization and privatization of the public school system.

2. Do you support prevailing wage? Yes

3. What is your position on contracting with private entities to provide public services that are currently provided by public employees?

To the extent that it is possible, and reasonable, I want work done “in-house,” including the areas of student transportation and food service. I am generally opposed to contracting out work, except in situations where the school district’s staff is not properly trained, equipped, and led to adequately provide the service, such as program evaluation (which could be remedied) some construction projects (we don‘t want the district to get into the construction business), pencil production, etc.

4. Seniority, collective bargaining, tenure, and the right to strike are all issues related to the rights of all public employees. Do you advocate any changes in current laws regarding these rights? Is so, what would they be?

No. However, I am open to considering changes advocated by organized Labor.

5. What role should the School Board play in contract negotiations with employee unions?

Board members should have a proactive role, which requires being informed about the issues, providing input at the outset of negotiations, and providing some direction and oversight to the management’s bargaining team during the negotiations process.

6. Once a contract is negotiated and signed by the school district and its employees, will you honor the terms of that contract?

Yes. And in the event that a provision of the contract were to be found unenforceable or illegal as written, I would oppose unilateral action by the board / administration.

7. What role do you think the School District has in addressing the MTRFA funding gap?

I do not have detailed knowledge of the funding gap problem. As the employer, the board has a duty to see that commitments made to its employees are honored.



Board of Education Candidates / Doug Mann

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8. To what extent should public money fund private K-12 education? For-profit charter schools?

I am opposed to publicly funding private schools.

9. What is your understanding of the union’s role in educational reform, restructuring, and professionalizing teaching?

I am opposed to the type of educational reform and restructuring advocated in “No Child Left Behind,” by the Broad Foundation, and the Bush administration (in Washington DC). I believe the teachers unions should be focused on defending the rights of teachers, and should NOT go along with the NCLB reform agenda.

10. What should be done to ameliorate the shortage of school workers, especially teachers? How will we attract and retain the best and the brightest?

I am for greatly reducing the number of layoff notices sent to teachers in the spring and early summer. Many of these teachers are obviously not going to be put on unrequested leaves of absence during the following year. This practice contributes to high-teacher turnover rates and a revolving door for low seniority teachers, which saves the district 10s of millions of dollars each year, but is undermining the quality of educational programs serving a majority of the students.

I also advocate modifying the teacher assignment system to more evenly distribute the district’s least experienced teachers throughout the district’s schools, which would help to stabilize staffing in programs that have the high teacher turnover rates and high concentrations of the district’s least experienced teachers.

11. What is your position on seniority in the case of lay-offs or reduction-in-force?

I favor using seniority to determine who gets laid off, and to minimize the “realigning” of teachers between licensure areas in order to preserve the employment of least senior teachers in some areas. The realignment of 2004 was, in my opinion, excessive and was done to whip up support for NCLB-inspired changes in Minnesota’s Teacher Tenure Act.

12. Given the recent failures of Superintendent hires in Minneapolis and the importance of transparency and accountability in order to restore trust in the public schools, do you support waiting for the new board to be instated before searching for and appointing a new Superintendent?

The board has already decided to appoint a new superintendent, Bill Green, for a period of at least one year. That decision was made behind closed doors. I want the board to discuss matters related to the superintendent search in open meetings with opportunities for public input. I was extremely dissatisfied with the processes used to pick Carol Johnson, Dave Jennings, Thandiwe Peebles, and now Bill Green.



Board of Education Candidates / Doug Mann

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13. What background and attitudes in regard to Unions and Labor Relations do you believe the next MPS Superintendent must have to create stability and success in MPS? How do you plan to make those qualities part of the SI search?

I want a superintendent with experience as a superintendent, with a history of being respectful to school employees and respectful of employee rights, who is comfortable working in a union environment.

14. In MPS student transportation is provided by several small and medium sized companies, one large multi-national transportation company (First Student), and in-house drivers who are represented by the Teamsters. As a board member, will you commit to make the following data on each of these providers available for comparison, in comprehensible form, to the board, when reviewing and awarding transportation contracts: the direct cost to the district; the rate of employee turnover; the level of pay and benefits (which are largely reinvested in the local economy); and safety records? Would you commit to making these considerations part of the official weighing system when awarding bids? What hurdles do you foresee to fulfilling this commitment?

Yes. Yes. Aside from resistance from other board members, there might be resistance from contractors to furnishing the requested data and agreeing to an acceptable verification process.

15. As a board member do you or would you commit to facilitate communication between Union members and supporters - whether direct employees of the district or of contracted for profit companies - and the departmental staff relevant to their work? Why or why not?

What hurdles do you foresee to fulfilling this commitment?

Yes, because I want to know what is really going on. I don’t want to rely entirely on the reports of administrative employees. The hurdles: The board reportedly adopted policies prohibiting board members from advocating for employees, parents, and students. I would want to investigate some complaints that come to my attention.

16. Do you support “Buying Union” made products and services with district dollars? Would you support a “Sweat-Free Purchasing Policy” for the school district?

Yes. Yes.

17. Would you support efforts to prevent employers from using public money to oppose a union organizing effort?

Yes, including not allowing such employers to have contracts with the district, if possible.

18. Will you support the Employee Free Choice Act (workers’ right to organize).




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19. Currently, a Labor/Management Coalition is developing a plan to make high quality health care coverage more affordable for public school employees by creating a statewide risk pool to provide health insurance for all school districts. Would you support this initiative? What do you think is a good long term solution for rising health care costs?

It sounds like a good idea. I don’t know anything about the plan, so I can‘t support it.

I favor universal access to health care, with a single payer system such as in Canada.

20. What have you done to support local levy referendums?

I have not supported local levy referendums.

21. Are you willing to levy property taxes to the maximum allowed by the Minnesota Legislature?

Yes, provided there is a real commitment by the board to making a quality education accessible to all students on an equal basis. I am concerned about students who are being denied access to a quality education. The board has a duty to correct that situation, in my opinion.

22. What role would you, as a School Board member, play in lobbying the legislature for increased funding of our public schools?

I could attend hearings, meet with legislators, participate in public forums that might influence the legislative process.

23. Would you promptly consult the Central Labor Union Council on issues of interest to our membership?

Yes. I want input from the Central Labor Union Council.

24. Please describe your campaign strategy and how you see Labor assisting in your strategy?

My strategic goals: Implement reforms that will make a quality education accessible to all students on an equal basis. To raise public awareness about the dangers of “No Child Left Behind” school reforms.

How Labor can help? In addition to active support for my campaign, Labor could support the kind of reforms I advocate. The best way to sustain a high level of popular support for public education is to make it work for everyone

Minneapolis Federation of Teachers PAC questionnaire