Person

Kathy Chavez

Position:

Executive Vice President, AFT New Mexico

President, Albuquerque Educational Assistants Association (AEAA)

Vice President, American Federation of Teachers

Lives:

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Nationality:

American

Kathy Chavez is an American labor union organizer and activist who leads the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico state chapter and is also the president of the Albuquerque Educational Assistants Association. Chavez has been active in union organizing since the 1980s when she began her career as a school bus driver in Albuquerque. Since 2004, Chavez has served as a vice president, a position usually described as board member, for the national American Federation of Teachers. [1]

Background

Kathy Chavez began her career as a school bus driver for the Albuquerque, New Mexico, school system. She worked as a bus driver for handicapped children from 1970 to 1981 and transitioned to an educational assistant role for special needs children at Mark Twain Elementary School, where she joined the Albuquerque Educational Assistants Association (AEAA) and become the building representative for the union. She remained involved with the AEAA as she began to climb the ranks at the state and national levels for the American Federation of Teachers. She became president of AEAA in 1998, a position she still holds today for the small local union. [2]

In 1990, Chavez became vice president for paraprofessionals and school-related personnel for the AFT New Mexico Chapter, and in 1995, became executive vice president of AFT New Mexico, a position she still holds. [3] In 2004, Chavez was elected a national AFT vice president, serving as one of 42 vice presidents that make up the national board of directors for the American Federation of Teachers. [4]

Chavez also works as president of the Albuquerque Federation of Certified Professionals, an AFT New Mexico-affiliated group that represents educational assistants, health assistants, behavior redirectors, library assistants, family liaisons, bus drivers, and bus attendants. [5]

Lobbying Activity

In her biography, Chavez touts her work lobbying for a law passed by the New Mexico Legislature in 2004 that established a minimum pay plan for educational assistants. [6]

In 2019, Chavez released a statement praising New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) for signing three pieces of union-backed legislation into law, including measures that would create a career ladders that mandate promotions for teachers, raise teacher wages by six percent, and set aside funds to equip school busses with air conditioning. [7]

COVID-19 School Closures

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Chavez and AFT New Mexico issued several statements demanding stringent standards be met in order to reopen schools. Guidelines promoted by the union included a need for adequate ventilation in school buildings. [8] The requirement for a minimum ventilation standard led to a lawsuit between McKinley County and the state of New Mexico, causing AFT New Mexico to issue a press release attacking the county school superintendent. [9]

In June 2020, Chavez released a statement saying the union would be providing significant input of the governor’s COVID-19 school reopening guide, stating that reopening guidelines should be agreed to by local union members before being enacted. [10]

References

  1. “Kathy Chavez.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/kathy-chavez ^
  2. “About.” Albuquerque Educational Assistants Association. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://aeaaunion.wordpress.com/ ^
  3. “Kathy Chavez.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/kathy-chavez ^
  4. “Leadership.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership ^
  5. “Home.” Albuquerque Federation of Certified Professionals. Accessed December 28, 2020. http://afcp.nm.aft.org/ ^
  6. “About.” Albuquerque Educational Assistants Association. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://aeaaunion.wordpress.com/ ^
  7. “AFT New Mexico wins major new laws.” American Federation of Teachers. April 12, 2019. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://www.aft.org/news/aft-new-mexico-wins-major-new-laws ^
  8. “AFT and AFT New Mexico Applauds Progress of COVID-19 Response Toolkit.” AFT New Mexico. Accessed December 28, 2020. http://nm.aft.org/news/aft-and-aft-new-mexico-applauds-progress-covid-19-response-toolkit ^
  9. Clark, Carol. “American Federation Of Teachers New Mexico Reacts To ‘Failure Of Leadership’ In Gallup McKinley County Schools.” Los Alamos Daily Post. November 27, 2020. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://ladailypost.com/american-federation-of-teachers-new-mexico-reacts-to-failure-of-leadership-in-gallup-mckinley-county-schools/ ^
  10. Clark, Carol. “American Federation Of Teachers New Mexico Responds To Public Education Department School Reentry Guide.” Los Alamos Daily Post. June 24, 2020. Accessed December 28, 2020. https://ladailypost.com/american-federation-of-teachers-new-mexico-responds-to-public-education-department-school-reentry-guide/ ^

Connected Organizations

  1. American Federation of Teachers (AFT) (Labor Union)
    Vice President
  See an error? Let us know!