APS union/board hit impasse: what does it mean?

The Albuquerque Teachers Federation is NOT happy. The union has declared an impasse in negotiations with the newly-reconstituted, more parent-driven (as opposed to union-driven) board. According to one union document, “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.”

To be clear, under New Mexico statute, it is clearly state that the School Board “Develop(s) educational policies for the school district.” So, yeah, it IS the Board’s job.

We at the Rio Grande Foundation are still gathering information on this situation, but when it comes to unions, it is indeed ALL ABOUT POWER. Notably, while the APS unions is empowered to negotiate on behalf of ALL district employees, the reality is that less than 50% of eligible APS staff are members of the union. According to data requested from the District, 12,000 APS employees are covered by bargaining agreements but only 5,354 are actually members of the union.

And, if the unions want teachers to have more power over what and how they teach in the classroom, perhaps their work should be measured and (heaven-forbid) their “customers” (families and children) should be empowered to choose the options that work best for them. A captive customer base is certainly not the hallmark of competent, responsible professionals.

How long will this impasse last and what does it mean? It should result in some kind of compromise with a slightly renegotiated agreement. Who controls what is taught in APS classrooms? The APS board is elected by voters while the unions are not. You can watch the APS board meeting after which the “impasse” was declared here. 

The proposed contract can be found here.

Albuquerque Public Schools | LinkedIn