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CNM union to continue relationship with AFT

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The Central New Mexico Community College employees union will continue its relationship with the American Federation of Teachers after it stopped paying dues and vowed to disaffiliate.

The union ceased to pay dues to the AFT in February because it felt it was not getting the services it needed, union president Andy Tibble said a few months ago. For example, AFT is expected to help the union organize and represent employees in disputes and collective bargaining.

The union’s lack of fee payments led AFT New Mexico to ask the national headquarters to launch an investigation into the union for potentially violating AFT rules.

But that rift is over, AFT New Mexico president Stephanie Ly said.

Ly was at a CNM union meeting on Saturday, when members cast a vote to permanently disaffiliate. In an email to members following the meeting, Tibble said the vote to disaffiliate was approved. However, a second vote to postpone dissafiliation also passed, meaning the union will continue to work with AFT.

Tibble did not respond to calls for comment on Wednesday.

Ly noted that only 89 of the approximate 300 union members voted to disaffilate. Regardless, the union and AFT will continue their relationship going forward, she said.

“We’re just really excited that we can continue on that focus and that AFT and CNM can work on reaching a deal,” Ly said.

Tibble said in his email that the vote that in effect keeps the union connected to AFT came after a last-minute offer from the national office, but he did not elaborate on the offer. He said the CNM employees union will be affiliated with the national office for one year while New Mexico AFT improves its “ability to provide and support services” to the union.

Ly said the New Mexico chapter will continue to negotiate with the union on how to provide the services the union wants.

“They will be using their voice effectively to be a part of our voice, if you will,” Ly said.

The union, however, has not yet resumed paying its dues to New Mexico AFT. Ly said there’s no hurry.

“We’re very flexible and understanding so if there’s a deadline it would be their own deadline,” she said.

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