Community Safety Responder Union: First responders push to unionize

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Members of the Community Safety Responder Union – Crystal Little, Sherii Miera and Quinn Mulhern – love their jobs working as first responders in the relatively new Albuquerque Community Safety Department. 

They are among the 39 people who respond to emergencies that do not require a police officer or a fire fighter. 

“Our effort to reimagine policing and really think more in general about public safety and how we get the right response to those at the right time,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said when announcing the department. 

Now, a public notice says ACS is in the process of unionizing. 

“We want to make sure this is a collaborative process, that we have a voice and a say in improving the department,” Mulhern said. 

The union is requesting fair wages and benefits, a just cause provision for better job protection, and improved working conditions. 

“I think this is a job – the things we see everyday um, can lead to burnout,you know – so just one example, is like a four day work week. We currently work five,” Mulhern said. 

The department often responds to calls about people who are homeless. 

“It’s not the kind of situation where the homeless are blamed for being in their position, but, that we actually respond with practical and real solutions, Mulhern said. 

ACS responders want to make their department as effective as possible. 

 “It’s not that the homeless are unwilling or uninterested in help. It’s that, for them, they’ve been burned so many times by these social services that they start to mistrust those systems. And… fair enough,” Mulhern said.  “I think just the nature of jobs, the institutions sometimes is that you don’t have that clear channel of feedback and communication and again. That’s not anybody’s fault. What we want is this formalize way to make our voices heard, to have some power.”

The public notice says ACS employees have until Sept. 27 to make their voices heard. 

KOB 4 reached out to the mayor’s office and the ACS administration. A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said it’s too soon in the process to say anything, and the ACS administration had no statement at this time.