It’s a sad day for the employees in APS.
In the past two years, all of you have gone above and beyond to provide stability, kindness, care, and quality instruction to our students regardless of the circumstances that you’ve had to deal with.
Yet, based on the conversation at the APS Board meeting last night, your work has not just been taken for granted, it has been stepped on.
Four of the seven members of the APS Board voted to table their vote to ratify our APS/ATF Negotiated Agreement. We have declared formal impasse. Read the letter here.
The APS and the ATF negotiating teams worked for 5 months in good-faith negotiations, agreeing on changes and additions to your contractual rights. The members of the ATF Bargaining Unit, both union members and those who are not yet members, approved the changes. 98.6% of almost 3,500 educators voted to ratify the contract changes.
Board members Peggy Muller Aragon, Courtney Jackson, Danielle Gonzales, and Crystal Tapia-Romero voted to table 22 years of well-established, respectful, and collaborative work between our union and the district. Each of these board members criticized agreements we had made years ago as we worked together in the best interests of our students.
This is nowhere near normal, anywhere. This is the first time a public employer in New Mexico has ever refused to ratify a contract that was negotiated in good faith and overwhelmingly approved by the members of a bargaining unit.
Disrespectful comments, falsehoods, fabrications, and stereotypes of bad teachers who can’t be trusted to make decisions framed the objections. Power was a central theme. Some members of the Board of Education stated we have too much power to make educational decisions for our students. They said we have “taken” their power and it’s the board who should make educational decisions about what and how we teach. They think the professionals who work every day with our students should follow textbooks like scripts and never vary our instruction.
Some board members included supportive statements that echo what we know and have always said:
- Educators want what students need.
- Our teaching conditions are students’ learning conditions!
- We are highly educated professionals whose decisions on how to educate our students deserve respect.
Ellen tried to help board members understand some of what is captured in the AFT’s national Teacher and School Staff Shortage Task Force report, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?
“Educators feel like the professionals they are when they have trust and autonomy in their work, which leads to more respect from society for workers who acknowledge the expertise it takes to make those professional decisions. They can also develop stronger relationships with administrators when they know their voices are respected.”
Over the past few decades, teacher professionalism and morale declined and led to educator shortages that have reached crisis proportions. The AFT report is clear—treat teachers and school staff with respect and like the professionals they are, and they will stay.
We are going to organize constantly to right this wrong. This cannot stand.
However, we cannot use aps.edu email addresses to communicate opportunities to organize against the Board. APS educators, please click here to give us your personal email address for organizing purposes. This is the only way we can keep you informed of the actions we are asking members to take.