Saturday, December 16, 2006

Socorro [NM] Schools Have Collective Bargaining

Reported in Saturday, December 16, 2006 in El Defensor Chieftain: Licensed employees of Socorro Consolidated Schools now have collective bargaining power with the school district.

In an election Wednesday, 92 certified staff members — teachers, counselors, occupational therapists, librarians, diagnosticians, speech and language pathologists, and nurses — voted in favor of making the existing local union the exclusive representative for all licensed employees in the district. Another 26 people voted against the move.

"I think it showed a true collaboration, that the certified personnel want to work more closely with the administrators on the decision-making process for the school system," said Debbie Grider, president of the local union and coordinator with the New Mexico GRADS program.

The union couldn't previously bargain with the district because it wasn't certified as the exclusive representative.

"I'm just glad we have results so we can move forward," said Superintendent Cheryl Wilson.

Wilson is looking forward to forming collaborative committees with teachers, such as a superintendent's advisory committee. She couldn't start the groups until after the election.

AFT New Mexico staff representative Andy Lotrich said instituting the union and holding the election cost the district nothing. The state provides the election service.

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