Union Successfully Negotiates Major Salary Increase

After months of negotiations, the Albuquerque Teachers Federation (ATF) and Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) have reached a tentative agreement on new salary schedules for certified employees. Although negotiations continue dealing with other issues and contract language, we are proud to announce the victories our union has achieved for our all those we represent.

The money for raises allocated during the 2019 Legislative Session was substantial and we are grateful for the long overdue increases for all teachers on the 3-Tiered Licensure System. The Legislature increased the 3-tiered minimum salaries for teachers to $41,000, $50,000, and $60,000. This equates to between a 10.8% and 14.3% increase. (In dollar amounts, this is about $5,000 to $6000).

Unfortunately, this funding for educator raises was both unfair and unequal. Approximately 1,200 of the most experienced teachers in APS and all the “other licensed staff,” were allocated less than half of that amount—they were only provided a 6% pay increase. The “other licensed staff” include counselors, social workers, nurses, interpreters, special education therapists, and audiologists. These over 800 essential related service educators provide crucial services to our students.

For more than 12 years, ATF has worked tirelessly for all Essential and Related Service Educators and have successfully negotiated salaries for them equal to their teaching peers.

We are excited to announce that we have been successful once again. Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, all counselors, social workers, nurses, interpreters, special education therapists, and audiologists will earn the same 3-Tiered minimum salaries as teachers. This equates to an average of $2,700 more than the state appropriated.

ATF also successfully negotiated a 7% increase for all experienced educators, diagnosticians, school psychologists, and transition specialists—over $500 more than the state allocated for each of these highly valuable educators who have dedicated their careers to working with APS students.

Although salary agreements have been reached, ATF and APS negotiations about terms and conditions of employment will continue. All members of the ATF Bargaining Unit will have the opportunity to vote on the ratification of the above tentative salary agreements and contract language improvements when negotiations are completed.

*As of 7/3/19 the posted 2019-2020 Salary Matrices have been adjusted due to errors found. The adjustments have resulted in a few cells being increased or decreased from as little as $1.00 to as much as $100.00. These figures are very close to final, however until ratified in early August, will remain tentative and subject to change.


Click here to view the 2019-2020 Salary Matrices

COPE: Organizing for Power

Our power is realized at the bargaining table and at the ballot box. In 2018, ATF COPE volunteers helped elect a Governor who listens to educators and a Legislature that funds public schools. To gain raises and recognition, educators across the nation were forced to go on strike. Here, we exerted political power to achieve those goals.

Over the next 18 months, we will face several critical elections:

  • three APS School Board seats;
  • the entire NM House & Senate;
  • three seats in the U.S. House of Representatives;
  • a U.S. Senate seat for NM; and,
  • The President of the United States.

We need YOU to be involved in these decisive elections.

Click here if you’d like to become active in the ATF Committee on Political Education. 

ATF Hosts Successful Student Loan Debt Clinics

In late March, ATF packed the union building with yet another Student Loan Debt Clinic. As members of a profession that qualifies for student loan debt forgiveness, this ATF class has not been one to miss!

“We know that student loan debt is a huge concern for our members” said ATF President Ellen Bernstein. “Helping our members with their student loan debt is union work.”

A study conducted by our national union, the American Federation of Teachers, reported that AFT members are increasingly losing sleep over their student loans; they’ve made decisions between buying groceries and paying medical expenses or paying off their loan debt. Dozens have even reported thoughts of suicide.

Our union is doing our part to help alleviate some of the stress.

Participants in the ATF Student Loan Debt Clinic have left with a renewed sense of hope after receiving clear information from our trainers. Debunking loan myths and common misconceptions coupled with clear guidance from our trainers have set members on a path to loan forgiveness.

Our ATF Student Loan Debt Clinics are for ATF members only. If you are not a member of your union, click here to sign up.

Members, please keep an eye on your email for notice of future debt clinics.

PED Seeks Input on Teacher Evaluation & “Effectiveness”

This summer, PED is hosting stakeholder input sessions to “re-envision” teacher evaluation & “effectiveness”. (To be clear, we don’t want a teacher “effectiveness” system and wonder why the term that has been used to tie teachers' evaluations to student test scores is being used at all.)

We want a teacher evaluation system that is:

  • transparent
  • fair
  • provides useful, unbiased feedback
  • is research-based; and
  • informed by professional practitioners

We must ensure that PED hears practitioner voice! Together, we can resist the “effectiveness” ratings and help create a system that gives meaningful and timely feedback.

The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) is holding a series of statewide community conversations to solicit public input on improved ways to measure educator effectiveness and a re-envisioned Summative Report for New Mexico educators.

We are packing the Stakeholder Input meetings with ATF members!

RSVP here if you can make it to one or both of the community conversations about OUR evaluations:

Thursday June 20, 2019, 4:30 - 7:00 PM
Friday June 21, 2019, 2:00 – 4:30 PM

Crowne Plaza Albuquerque
1901 University Blvd. NE

Additionally, the PED is creating an Educator Effectiveness Task Force. The task force will make recommendations to the department on the framework for a re-envisioned summative educator effectiveness report. Nominees to the task force will be accepted from a range of professional backgrounds (e.g., educators, university faculty, parents, non-profits, other state agencies, RECs, businesses). Nominations can be made here, and self-nominations are welcome. Nominations will be accepted until June 14, 2019 and appointments will be made by June 21, 2019.

Do you want to influence the direction of teacher evaluation in New Mexico? ATF members-apply now!

ATF Educators’ Emporium- Donate classroom materials!

Once again, we’re teaming up with the AFT NM Chapter of Retirees for our annual donation drive for the ATF Educators’ Emporium.

What is the Educator’s Emporium? Each year, ATF collects useable classroom materials from retiring teachers and educators who are cleaning out their classrooms or offices. Throughout the summer, the ATF Organizing Team sorts the materials and our union distributes them to incoming educators at the New Teacher Orientation in August.

Drop-Off dates for useable materials:

Friday May 24, 10a-2p

Wednesday, June 12, 10a-2p

Thursday, July 18, 10a-2p

We’ll be there to help you unload! We’ll even have some snacks and lemonade, compliments of our AFT NM Retiree chapter!

Please be conscious of the items you are donating and ensure they are useable— no textbooks, handmade lesson plans or Teachers’ Editions.

Questions? Email act@atfunion.org

ATF Dial-a-Teacher Receives $10K Grant

This week, the ATF Teacher Leadership Foundation received a $10,000 grant from Sandia Labs for the Dial-a-Teacher homework help program.

Since 1991, thousands of students and parents statewide have been helped with homework through the ATF Teacher Leadership Foundation's Dial-A-Teacher program. During each school year, from 5:30 to 8:30pm, licensed teachers are on duty to provide help in English or Spanish. Using one-on-one instruction, each licensed teacher encourages students to think and persevere when working through difficult tasks, and helps them understand the material they are expected to master.

Congratulations and thank you to the ATF Teacher Leadership Foundation Board for their tireless advocacy and a huge shout-out to our ATF members who staff the Dial-a-Teacher program!


Apply for ATF Leadership School

Attention: Looking for ATF Leaders

The Albuquerque Teachers Federation invites you to participate in the 2019-20 Union Leadership Program. The ATF Leadership Program is intended to support the development of union leaders to also serve as leaders in their school sites and in the district.

Members who participate in the ATF Leadership Program will have opportunities to serve on union committees and joint ATF/APS Task Forces.  It is our hope that participants will some day run for a union office. The union activists selected will join a nationwide network of union leaders. We are seeking ATF members who would like to take an active role in influencing policy in diverse areas. For example:

  • Leadership in School Change—the ways in which educators develop as leaders.
  • Teacher Preparation and New Teacher Induction—the ways in which teachers are educated, recruited, oriented, evaluated, supported, and retained.
  • Ongoing Professional Growth—the means by which all educators engage in professional growth, learning opportunities, and reflection.
  • Networks of Educators—the ways in which educators connect to other educators and organizations for the purpose of expanding their learning community.
  • Role of High Stakes Testing—how students are assessed and how students are prepared for college and career readiness.
  • School Design—how schools are organized and how instruction is delivered.
  • Teacher Evaluation—the need for fair and meaningful feedback.

We will provide members with opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills to influence policy locally, statewide, and nationally.  This will include framing practical policy positions that relate to student learning; conducting research in classrooms and schools; engaging the public and elected officials in community conversations about education; participating on advisory boards, panels, and task forces; developing policy recommendations based on research conducted; and publishing and disseminating findings and recommendations nationwide.

ATF members selected for the program will:

  • Increase knowledge of major challenges facing the teaching profession through readings and discussions with leading policy experts.
  • Improve leadership skills.
  • Represent educators nationwide as spokespersons and become members of a nationwide community.
  • Participate in conducting research and using it to influence policy.
  • Be awarded a $1500 stipend.

We are seeking a diverse group of ATF leaders who are active in their school communities.

The application is due no later than May 15th. Email it to Barbara Gonzales at barbara@atfunion.org.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Ellen @ 262-2657.

All portions of the application must be submitted or the application will be considered incomplete: (1) application; (2) commitments; (3) essay; and (4) two letters of recommendation.

Please note: All applicants are required to attend an hour-long group interview.

Click here for a Leadership School Application (PDF)
If you prefer a Word Document, please email Marianna@atfunion.org