SANTA FE — American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President, Stephanie Ly, Peñasco Federation of United School Employees, Local #4285 President, Miguelanjel Burns, and Peñasco Federation of United School Employees, Local #4285 Treasurer, Marissa Sandoval have released the following statement:
“Following a two-day evidentiary hearing, Public Employee Labor Relations Board (PELRB) Executive Director Tom Griego has issued a Report and Recommended Decision in PFUSE Local 4285 AFT NM v. Peñasco Independent School District (PISD), PELRB Case No. 108-20.
Director Griego determined the District had violated the Public Employee Bargaining Act (PEBA) in several ways when Superintendent Lisa Hamilton chose not to renew the employment contracts of Local Union President Miguelanjel Burns and Treasurer Marissa Sandoval.
“Both Burns and Sandoval were instrumental in reviving the local Union, and spearheaded collective efforts on behalf of the bargaining unit to address the serious and significant concerns District employees had with Superintendent Hamilton, including speaking on behalf of the Union against the renewal of Ms. Hamilton’s contract at school board meetings. Shortly thereafter, she gave them notice their contracts would not be renewed in the upcoming year. Director Griego determined Superintendent Hamilton did so in retaliation of Burns’ and Sandoval’s protected activities on behalf of the Union, and rejected as pretextual the reasons Superintendent Hamilton gave for her actions.
“Director Griego’s Recommendation goes next to the full PELRB Board, which includes requiring the District to cease and desist from all violations of the PEBA, to post and email a notice to District employees regarding the District’s violations of law and the District’s assurance to comply with the law in the future, to rescind the notices of non-renewal given to Burns and Sandoval, and to award them actual damages relating to union dues deductions, back pay and benefits.”
“We are grateful AFT NM was by our side at each step in this process, and took this case to the PELRB on our behalf, exemplifying the power of a Union and the importance of our advocacy. We look forward to returning to work at PISD, and continuing the positive change our Union has brought to the District on behalf of our students, families, and educational professionals we serve in Peñasco,” Burns and Sandoval said.
“As a Union, we will not tolerate any interference with our members’ rights under PEBA. We are pleased Director Griego rejected the false claims made by the District when it terminated Mr. Burns and Ms. Sandoval, and look forward to their return to the classroom at PISD. This recommendation is a victory for all PISD employees, and also a reaffirmation of the rights of educational employees who work under collective bargaining in New Mexico. All school districts – whether large or small – must respect their respective rights and contracts, without exception.” Ly said.