Association for Union Democracy

Albuquerque Teachers Reform Caucus fights off local’s attack on its free speech rights

by Kurt Richwerger

The Albuquerque Caucus of Rank and File Educators, “AlbuCORE,” is a rank and file caucus within the Albuquerque Teachers Federation (ATF). It describes itself as the “social justice caucus within the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.” (See their website Federation.)

But. last spring, AlbuCORE learned that the leadership of the ATF did not take kindly to AlbuCORE’s use of the union name. The law firm representing the union sent the caucus a letter demanding AlbuCORE cease using the name, claiming trademark violation. The union attorney wrote: “I am counsel for the Albuquerque Teachers Federation (“ATF”) and am writing to request that you cease and desist in the use of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation name on your website and in materials produced by you. We believe your use infringes on ATF’s ownership of the name.”

The law firm claimed no ill will against the group but then proceeded to imply it would take legal action against the caucus:

“…the purpose of this letter is to open a dialogue between us, please be advised that my client is prepared to take all actions necessary to protect its mark.”

An AlbuCORE member contacted AUD, which put him in touch with AUD Director Paul Alan Levy, a litigation attorney for Public Citizen, Levy’s response to the union attorney is reproduced in its entirely on pages 4 and 5 of this newsletter (and also on our website In short, Levy refutes the claims of the union attorney, demonstrating that AlbuCORE has the legal right to use the union’s name in its materials and website, and he advises the union attorney that his client will continue to do so.

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”Levy to Youtz May 2″]

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