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APS, Unions Reach Tentative Agreement

Board of Education to Consider Contracts at Wednesday’s Meeting

August 15, 2011

Albuquerque Public Schools agreed on contracts for employees represented by five unions including teachers, educational assistants, police, maintenance & operations workers and custodians and secretarial/clerical staff.

The contracts are scheduled to go before the Board of Education for final approval on Wednesday.

“The public should feel good about the terms of these agreements because they equally honor our teachers, support staff, students and public school families,” said APS Superintendent Winston Brooks. “I want to thank the members of the negotiating teams from both APS and the unions for their hard work on the contracts. I also want to thank employees for their commitment to the students of Albuquerque. Working together we can continue to move all students forward.”

Teachers

“APS and the Albuquerque Teachers Federation worked well together, solving problems and making future plans,” said Dr. Ellen Bernstein, president of the teachers union. “However, as everyone knows, the state legislature and governor slashed education funding again this year. This is the third consecutive contract without any salary increases.

“In addition,” Bernstein said, “the state saved over $100 million on the backs of school employees by shifting the state’s portion of the retirement costs to the employees—again. The year’s decrease is an average of $60 of take home pay a month. This decrease in pay is a demoralizing financial blow to all of us.”

Police

“If agreed upon by the Board of Education, this will be the fourth year that members of the EPOA have foregone a pay raise,” said Gary Georgia of the Educational Police Officers Association. “The men and women of the APS Police Department are charged with safeguarding the lives of the nearly 90,000 students who attend APS schools, as well as the 24 hour protection of more than 100 APS facilities.”

Georgia added, “Sadly, these men and women all earn a wage that is less than 65 percent of what their brothers and sisters in the Albuquerque area law enforcement agencies earn. We would hope that those who control the purse strings, at the state as well as the local level, will give more consideration to those who serve them.”

Maintenance & Operations

“While members received no pay raises for the fourth consecutive year, no people lost their jobs and membership remains hopeful that the Legislature and Gov. Martinez will feel pressure and allocate money for school support staff raises during the term of this agreement,” said Victor Perea, president of the Communications Workers of America, Local 7070, which represents maintenance and operations workers as well as school custodians.

“We’re happy to have an employer that feels many of the same pains as our membership and always works with us to solve our problems. We have some of the most dedicated employees in the district and feel that they will be served well by the contract we negotiated,” added Valentino Garcia, vice president of Local 7070 and a member of the union’s negotiating team.

Secretarial/Clerical

“The Albuquerque Secretarial/Clerical Association Union, Local 4127, during negotiations this year, strengthened our contract language for the benefit of our employees,” said union president Carla Montano.

“We pushed for stronger language because we cannot get a raise for our constituents and have not been able to add to our paychecks for the last three years. Secretaries, clerks and bookkeepers on the ‘B’ salary schedule are the backbone of the schools and an important part of the educational team that benefits all students in our school system,” Montano said, adding, “We hope that with a joint effort from all the union locals and the APS Board, we can see revenue coming in from Santa Fe next year that will benefit our employees and our school community.”

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