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Union, APS Announce Tentative Agreement
An ongoing process to come to an agreement on a wage settlement between Albuquerque Public Schools and the Albuquerque Educational Assistants' Association may actually be coming to an end.
On Tuesday, December 2, 2008 the Albuquerque Educational Assistants Association announced that they had reached a tentative agreement on a compromise wage settlement with the APS school board and superintendent, Mr. Winston Brooks.
AEAA had been asking for a $1/hr raise for all educational assistants. They were not able to come to an agreement on that full amount. Although that was the case, Kathy Chavez, the AEAA president states:
"However, I strongly believe what AEAA and APS have agreed to is smart and sensible for everyone."
This compromise settlement includes an average 5.05 percent pay increase.
Employees hired before July 1, 2008, will receive raises ranging from about $600 to $900.
Ms. Chavez goes on to say, "... as I said before, this is not just about money. This is also about R–E–S–P–E–C–T."
This is a landmark, unprecedented settlement.
In addition to more money, it includes a positive resolution from the school board and a letter of support from the superintendent.
The resolution commits the board and superintendent to:
* Recognize educational assistants as valuable, dedicated members of the APS education team;
* Honor and respect the work that they do with students;
* Help educational assistants persuade state legislators to pass and fund a 3-tier minimum pay plan of $15,000, $20,000 and $25,000 during the 2009 60-day legislative session.
According to Ms. Chavez, "Mr. Brooks has promised us that he will do everything he can to demonstrate that our work for APS is honored and respected. Mr. Brooks has also promised to help us pass our 3-tier minimum pay bill. We’re going to hold him to those promises. "
Details of the tentative settlement are as follows:
- Raises for employees hired before July 1, 2008;
- Another additional 1.5 percent raise from APS;
- An additional 0.55 percent to pay for the legislative-mandated extension of school year to 183 days.
The union’s bargaining team and executive council is recommending a YES vote on this compromise agreement.
Union members and non-members will vote Dec. 3 thru Dec. 5, from 8 am to 6 pm here at the AEAA office located at 8009 Mountain Road Place NE in Albuquerque.
Details of the settlement will be mailed out to all 1,900 employees. Before employees vote on the contract, they will be able see the dollar value of their raise.
The union will now turn its full attention to the New Mexico State Legislature and Governor Richardson.
AEAA's next goal is to persuade them to pass a 3-tier minimum pay system for educational assistants.
"Sure, money will be tight. But, a minimum pay system for these employees will be an economic stimulus package," states Ms. Chavez.
She goes on to say, "Legislators can repeal the tax breaks they gave out during the fat years. If necessary, they can dip into the billions of dollars of New Mexico’s rainy-day funds. There is no better investment of the state’s money than in these employees and their families. "
Ms. Chavez is urging all 1,900 employees and their families to write letters, send emails, call and meet with their state senators and representatives between now and January 20, 2009.