It’s been yet another great year for our union! The leadership and staff at the Albuquerque Teachers Federation want to thank our members and Fed Reps for the growth we’ve made and the battles we’ve won. When we stand together, we can move mountains. Here’s an impressive, but by no means exhaustive, review of our accomplishments this year.
Union Membership Continued to Increase!
Following the trajectory of the past several years, ATF membership increased. We are adding to our already 4,000+ member strong union every day! New glass ceilings are being shattered as almost two-thirds of APS educators have chosen to band together in solidarity by joining their union.
We also grew by welcoming new role groups! We increased our representation when we added the Community School Coordinators and Behavior Management Specialists into our union!
Celebrating a Contract Victory!
We had record turnout for our Contract Ratification vote with over 98% of voters approving of the changes to the Negotiated Agreement we were able to secure.
After some headline-making and trust-breaking posturing by members of the APS Board, our Negotiated Agreement was approved. Members and community supporters sent hundreds of emails to Board members. The controversy over the contract actually increased our membership by a full percentage point as APS educators rallied around their union and resoundingly supported the contract.
We Improved Terms and Conditions
Your union was successful in winning Essential and Related Services Educators (E&RSEs) pay equal to their teacher peers in perpetuity. This was a decades-old goal for the ATF. We also expanded eligibilities for E&RSEs to receive differential pay for the certifications and credentials they hold, leading to the ability of these hardworking educators to earn significant added compensation for all the extra things they do to help our students. We also expanded E&RSE Instructional Councils, and negotiated hundreds of thousands of dollars for Special Ed Overage compensation for our dedicated teachers.
We negotiated to get $1 MILLION of federal funds into educators’ pockets through our Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program. Whenever we can help educators improve their financial situations, the entire community benefits.
Unionism and Professionalism – Working for What is Best for Students and Staff
In recent years, we have worked as partners with APS during the negotiations process to advance terms and conditions of employment such as pay and working conditions. We always do this with an eye toward addressing important and timely educational issues.
Although some local media outlets misreported the results of the Parents’ Rights Policy vote undertaken by the APS Board, your union and our community allies were victorious in defending the rights of students, their families, and educators.
We moved the district toward restorative practices through hosting classes created and led by APS educators designed to meet the social-emotional and behavioral needs of our students, making sure that the practitioners lead the charge for a more just district.
We expanded mentorship to include all the E&RSE role groups!
We ensured all elementary students have 3 recesses because the research is clear that this benefits them academically and physically!
We advocated for Capstone classes and applauded when APS moved to accept them for graduation credit.
We created Task Forces to research, discuss and develop joint recommendations addressing:
- High school start time and other advancements
- Middle school philosophy, structures, and schedule
- A pilot School Psychologists program that would support expanding the school psychologist’s job role to include school-based consultation with teachers and other educators and school staff on social-emotional and/or behavioral interventions and supports for students.
- We created a task force to create contract language specific to the work of Pre-K and Developmental Preschool programs.
Our Political Action Came to Fruition!
Our Committee on Political Education (COPE) scored a total victory in the statewide midterm elections! 100% of the COPE-endorsed candidates won their seats in the NM House of Representatives! Elections have consequences, and we are dedicated to packing our legislature with educators and other leaders who support public education and workers’ rights.
WE ARE JUST GETTING STARTED! More Victory in ’23!
As you can see, we are proud of our accomplishments this year. But our union can never rest.
It was clear this fall that some APS Board members want to restrict our ability to negotiate around professional issues. During the contract battle of ’22, Board members indicated an intent to roll back any agreement that codifies trust in our professional judgment. Statements were made that any efforts to move teaching and learning forward — in other words, negotiating beyond an old-fashioned concept of unionism as “only salaries and working conditions” — would be rejected in the future.
There are three Board seats up for election in 2023. We must be active for the sake of our negotiated agreements, our professions, our communities, and, most importantly, our students!
As we look to the new year, we will lobby the state legislature during the coming 60-Day Session. The state of New Mexico has a record revenue surplus. Our goal is to make sure a sizeable portion of that money makes its way to the classroom and the people who make our schools function.
We will be asking for your help to collectively advocate for enough State Equalization Guarantee (SEG) funding to fund discretionary local priorities. Districts are still coping with decades of disinvestment in their schools. The SEG must support each district to invest in local priorities.
If the SEG is funded appropriately, one of our union’s long-standing priorities has been to increase salary differentials to educators who are band directors, coaches, speech and debate team leaders, department chairs, orchestra teachers, and many more. Each district should have the SEG funding and the flexibility to pay for local priorities and services that are essential to our students.
If we all work as one, there is no limit to what we can achieve. Stay tuned in to your union’s communications during the legislative session that commences January 15th. Get active in your union’s COPE committee and help us fill the Board with members who support public education, students, and educators. And, if you haven’t yet become a member of your union, what is holding you back? JOIN YOUR UNION TODAY! Be a part of the movement to build a world-class education system for all New Mexican students!