Stephen Carvlin-Miller for Elementary School VP
I teach primary Special Education at Arroyo del Oso Elementary School. I serve on our school’s Instructional Council, and I am the Fed Rep at our school. I have been a union member since I began teaching.
Public education is going to be increasingly targeted in the coming years. We need to organize so we are ready to fight for what matters.
I think our primary focus as a union should be building and supporting our members. Our collective power is our greatest strength. Many teachers don’t join the union because they don’t know what it does for them. We need to dispel those doubts by mobilizing action against pay cuts and deteriorating working conditions. Likewise, our union needs to implement a sliding scale for dues and transparency around how our dues are used. Transparency is also needed in negotiations with the district. Negotiations should be open and involve all members. We can’t expect members to be involved if they don’t know what’s on the table. And again, our bargaining power is vastly greater when we are organized. In tandem with building our local’s density, we need to build bridges with teachers around the state. This will give us the power we need to defeat regressive measures that come from Santa Fe and reinstate the legal right to strike.
Ultimately, organizing requires active and engaged members and we won’t have active members until our organizing reflects the needs and diversity of our peers. Here’s my short list of concrete projects to kick this off:
- Education on the negotiated contract for existing & new members
- Participatory budgeting to allow union members to direct ATF spending
- Direct union staff to help build organizing committees at school sites
The fight ahead is going to be daunting but the union makes us strong!
Heather Ailes for Middle School VP
I teach ELA and AVID at Hayes, am the AVID coordinator, and have served as grade level dean and in other leadership positions, including our instructional council. I’m a local organizer for anti-racist work and I believe this is a vital area where our union can lead the way in creating stronger schools and communities. We needn’t wait for the district to educate ourselves about combating racism with our students or providing vibrant ethnic studies at all levels.
I will push our union to engage all members in actions, large and small, that build up our schools and our profession. I believe our union will grow in numbers and strength when we offer rank and file members a variety of ways to be involved and to make our voices heard.
As a union, our power ultimately lies in our ability to withhold our labor. Currently in New Mexico, a strike is an impossibility, but we need a union, and union leadership, willing to discuss other robust opportunities for asserting our power within the system. Rank and file teachers are the backbone of our district. We have a powerful voice and we need to be organized–and willing–to use it.
Mary Kelly for High School VP
Mary has taught social studies at Albuquerque High School for eight years, serves as department chair and is currently a fed rep. She has worked to restore the democratic process in the instructional council and helped organize an AHS study and action group.
She recently participated in the successful letter writing campaign demanding that the Board of Education cover the budget shortfall using cash reserves rather than harm students and schools with furloughs and layoffs.
Students in the female empowerment club that Mary sponsors, Strong Women Strong World, presented their own letter to the Board. She has participated in evaluation burning and pickets and rallies supporting immigrant populations.
Mary firmly believes that our union should promote democracy, social justice, equity and positive working and learning conditions through direct and collective action.