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AFT New Mexico Alarmed as Local Taos Federation of United School Employees President Placed on Leave for Protected Union Activity

Punishment for Union-Related Advocacy is Against the Law

December 2, 2021

Taos – American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Whitney Holland and Taos Federation of United School Employees (TFUSE) #1450 released the following statement:

“We are extremely dismayed by recent actions taken by the Taos Municipal Schools superintendent, Lillian Torrez, to place local TFUSE President, Francis Hahn, on paid administrative leave for alleged ‘insubordination, willful disobedience, and other charges.’ Mr. Hahn is not being accused of any wrongdoing related to students.

“At the heart of this issue is Mr. Hahn’s advocacy for other Taos Municipal Schools employees during a recent threat of school violence. His advocacy for community safety and safe working conditions is a primary pillar of the work that unions do – namely standing up for the safety of our educational community and students. This is especially important work considering the nationwide epidemic of gun violence in our schools.

“Mr. Hahn was acting in his capacity as a local union representative when these alleged events occurred, and we believe his actions are clearly protected. Therefore, we demand Mr. Hahn’s reinstatement as an employee of Taos Municipal Schools. Intimidation and retaliation are well-known union-busting tactics and attempted intimidation has no place in our schools.

“Being targeted for work as a local union leader is troubling because it represents an attempt to discourage a strong local union. However, the population most impacted by this careless decision will be Mr. Hahn’s students who rely on his assistance for college applications and practicing for their Advanced Placement Exams. Considering New Mexico’s on-going staffing crisis and Taos Schools’ denial of Mr. Hahn’s desire to provide lesson plans and grade student work while on administrative leave, it is likely Mr. Hahn’s students will be deprived of high-quality instruction for the remainder of the academic year.

“We look forward to vigorously challenging this decision by Superintendent Torrez and will always work to protect local union leaders and members from unwarranted attacks based on their union affiliation. Should Superintendent Torrez continue this course of action, she must acknowledge her actions are harming the students we claim to serve.”


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