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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 3, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesST. CROIX TEACHERS OUST BENJAMIN AS UNION HEAD

ST. CROIX TEACHERS OUST BENJAMIN AS UNION HEAD

Cecil Benjamin's decade-long reign as St. Croix local president of the American Federation of Teachers ended in a landslide loss late last week.
On Thursday, public school teachers on the Big Island overwhelmingly elected Tyrone Molyneaux over Benjamin, 493 to 219. Molyneaux will start his new job in September. Neither he nor Benjamin could be reached for comment over the weekend. Unconfirmed reports say that Benjamin plans to protest the outcome of the tally.
Terrence "Positive" Nelson, a long-time critic of Benjamin’s, also lost his bid for the AFT vice presidency. He said the union needed new blood at the top. He pointed to Benjamin’s close ties to the V.I. Democratic Party, and therefore the Turnbull administration, as a reason the lot of teachers hasn’t improved. The government owes its workers, including public school teachers, more than $200 million. Meanwhile, many schools are deteriorating from a lack of maintenance, and teachers must pay for classroom supplies out of their own pockets.
"I feel like better days are coming," Nelson said. "The majority of people are happy."
Re-elected Thursday were Maria "Chi Chi" Heywood as first vice president, Gail Harris-Perez as second vice president, and Rhonda Vanterpool as secretary. Judith Austin won the treasurer’s position.
An AFT elections official said Labor Department personnel observed the vote and certified the results. More votes are expected in Tuesday, but not enough to sway Thursday’s outcome, the official said.

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Cecil Benjamin's decade-long reign as St. Croix local president of the American Federation of Teachers ended in a landslide loss late last week.
On Thursday, public school teachers on the Big Island overwhelmingly elected Tyrone Molyneaux over Benjamin, 493 to 219. Molyneaux will start his new job in September. Neither he nor Benjamin could be reached for comment over the weekend. Unconfirmed reports say that Benjamin plans to protest the outcome of the tally.
Terrence "Positive" Nelson, a long-time critic of Benjamin’s, also lost his bid for the AFT vice presidency. He said the union needed new blood at the top. He pointed to Benjamin’s close ties to the V.I. Democratic Party, and therefore the Turnbull administration, as a reason the lot of teachers hasn’t improved. The government owes its workers, including public school teachers, more than $200 million. Meanwhile, many schools are deteriorating from a lack of maintenance, and teachers must pay for classroom supplies out of their own pockets.
"I feel like better days are coming," Nelson said. "The majority of people are happy."
Re-elected Thursday were Maria "Chi Chi" Heywood as first vice president, Gail Harris-Perez as second vice president, and Rhonda Vanterpool as secretary. Judith Austin won the treasurer’s position.
An AFT elections official said Labor Department personnel observed the vote and certified the results. More votes are expected in Tuesday, but not enough to sway Thursday’s outcome, the official said.