AFSCME Council 18


AFSCME received communication regarding back pay checks from the state today. In an effort to keep members in the loop we've attached the entire letter below.

[Today's Santa Fe New Mexican - "Official: Over 5K state workers wait for back pay" The state blows back pay big time - now they're blaming hired contractor taking their own sweet time.]

Connie Derr, Executive Director of Council 18 would like to preface this letter from State Personnel by informing members that SPO legal counsel is mistaken in their recollection that AFSCME refused to help distribute the checks. Quite the opposite, in a Spring 2014 meeting, AFSCME offered to distribute the checks to CURRENT State Employees, that offer was turned down.

During a late 2014 summer meeting, the State asked if AFSCME would distribute only the RETIREE back pay checks. The state does not currently share retiree mailing address information with AFSCME, and so, we were unable to accept that offer.

Here is the complete letter received today from State Personnel Legal Counsel:


We were not able to run a special payroll last week. The pending uploads involve more complex calculations, which has required more time for calculation and validation. We are continuing to work closely with the independent contractor to put together a schedule for special payrolls based upon the contractor’s ability to complete the remaining calculations. As soon as I have updated information about the schedule, I will provide it to you and post it to the SPO website. We will continue to run special payrolls as we receive completed calculations, subject to the regular payroll constraints.

To date, approximately 4,200 checks have been processed. All processed checks that were pending distribution were mailed via certified mail the week before last. We do not have a list of these employees; however, we will ask our independent contractor if obtaining such a list is possible. The State has offered to provide the checks to the unions’ counsel for distribution to union members; however, these offers were refused. If the unions had allowed every member to obtain their checks directly from you, check distribution could have been simplified, and you could have distributed them however you saw fit. We are renewing our offer to provide the remaining checks to you for distribution. Please let us know whether you would like to distribute the remaining checks and we will make necessary arrangements.

I’ve attached the check distribution protocols, pursuant to Miles’ request. Future protocols will allow the agencies to hold the checks for longer than two days, unless you decide to distribute the checks.


General Counsel
State Personnel Office


Here is the communication from SPO to HR bureaus regarding distribution of checks: NOTE page one where the state says the special payrolls ending Oct 7 would effect over 10,000 current and former state employees.


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Mayor Berry Likely to Take Back 3% Raise in Retaliation

Following four years of fruitless negotiations costing taxpayers big money in litigation and the hiring of private consultants, Judge Malott has ordered the City of Albuquerque into a 90-day mediation with AFSCME where an agreement must be hammered out.  

In granting AFSCME's injunction, the city is prevented from imposing unfavorable terms and conditions contained in their final offer, imposed September 14, 2014.

Connie Derr, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 18 said, “this is an unprecedented action for the courts to have to take, it shows that the city’s labor management relations ordinance (LMRO) is truly broken, and must be fixed.”

Even though the administration has a number of legal mechanisms that could allow them to maintain union members' long overdue raises, the administration indicated their desire take away 3% in pay from City Employees within minutes of the Court's order.

“We view Mayor Berry’s intent to take away the raise as not only mean spirited, but clearly politically motivated,” said Casey Padilla, President AFSCME Local 624, blue collar and transit union.

Reacting to the administration’s intention to immediately take away the raise, Deb Rainaldi, President of AFSCME Local 2962, clerical and technical union said, "I guess when you've been on the low road so long, it's difficult for the administration to see themselves climbing back onto the high road and showing some respect. This is their choice, it isn't what the Union fought for. The administration is retaliating for today's loss in Court."

Today's ORDER from NM Second Judicial Court - Judge Malott


CLICK HERE for the background and to read the entire TRO 

Show up October 20 at the ABQ City Council meeting, support AFSCME’s efforts to amend the LMRO to include mandatory arbitration during contract impasse disputes.


We've recently launched the #TurnOutForWhat campaign on Twitter and Tumblr. People across the country are sharing why they're turning out to the polls on Nov. 4.


Engineered Chaos or Epic Incompetence?

State Fabricates Excuse, Throws USPS Under the Bus!

This was supposed to be THE WEEK when everyone finally got paid! That is what the state said, and asked AFSCME to tell its members.

So, what happened to all those checks and the $30 Million owed to NM State Employees?

Why did the state remain silent and allow hopeful Union members to panic and become furious this week?

The State seemingly had no intention to share ANY information!

Thanks to Union member action, we have an explanation, and it sucks.

The State claims that the post office will allow them to mail 200 certified mail pieces a day. AFSCME called the USPS and three mail houses and nobody had ever heard of that rule before. Seems like the State made it up.

Richard "Smiley" Martinez, Statewide President of National Association of Letter Carriers, said, "the United States Postal Service is capable of mailing all the checks out at once. The State is having the USPS clerks fill out all the forms one at a time, instead of using their own postage machines."

Susie Romero, New Mexico Congressional District Liaison for the National Association of Letter Carriers said, "I'm shocked, if the State wanted to place blame for the checks not going out, they should've picked someone that the Union couldn't have gotten hold of, ISIS maybe. We'll deliver a coconut if it has a stamp on it."

Moments ago we received word from the state that the 2nd (and expectedly FINAL) special payroll was derailed by regular payroll.

The state offers little explanation for what went wrong, and why the second batch of checks didn't include everyone. SPO now says that additional special payrolls will be necessary to complete delivery of back pay to every employee owed.

Here is what we received from the state personnel this morning:

"...The second special payroll was successful; however, we were cut off by regular payroll, so there will have to be additional special payrolls. We will let you know as soon as the next special payroll is scheduled.

There are approximately 1600 warrants that are in the process of being mailed. The post office will only allow the state to mail 200 certified pieces of mail per day.

Central payroll issued uniform guidance to the agencies regarding check distribution. Again, agencies are to distribute the warrants as they normally would (via hand-delivery or mail). After two days, the agencies are required to return the warrants to DFA for safekeeping and for mailing via certified mail.

With regard to questions about whether the amounts are correct, as I mentioned in my September 26, 2014, email, the amounts are correct and they have been validated...."
We do not consider a partial second batch a success. And we're not prepared to agree that the calculations came without ANY errors."

The State's answers only raises more questions.

  • Why was the second payroll not final?
  • Why did the State throw the USPS under the bus?
  • Why did the state wait so long to tell everyone that the checks wouldn't be on time?
  • Despite uniform guidance, why are wildly varying distribution plans in place from agency to agency?
  • How long must we expect to wait?

...and the obvious question, does Governor Susana Martinez have any respect for her public employees?

November 4th is the chance
to offer OUR ANSWER! VOTE!

"We're still very much in the fight for a better tomorrow and now is not the time to give up. I want to be able to tell future generations that I did my best to protect their basic right to vote."


Senator Warren has a message for AFSCME members. While Senator Warren is not on a ballot this November, she reminds us why it’s so important that we get out to vote this fall.


We will never forget.


 Good Day Local Union Presidents, Chapter Presidents, Stewards, Union Members, Friends and Allies,

As all AFSCME members are aware, AFSCME Council 18 has kept the pressure on the State to finalize the back pay calculations and give us a hard date for issuing out the back pay (retro) checks. According to the State Personnel Office, the checks will be paid out by the end of this month, September 30. The SPO Interim Director, Justin Najaka, re-confirmed the date to the State Personnel Board on Friday, August 29, at their meeting in Santa Fe.

We would like to believe that the State will live up to its latest promise to send out the checks by the September 30 date, but will not hesitate to take action should they delay (again).

To no one's surprise, it has been extremely frustrating dealing with the State to resolve this matter. The State has tried every and all means to obfuscate and delay the process, but AFSCME remained professional and hard nosed in its commitment to see the implementation of the arbitration award carried out.

There remains, however, another issue to be resolved which may affect a small number of employees, primarily corrections officers at the Penitentiary of New Mexico, in Santa Fe. The issue concerns whether a temporary retention differential and temporary recruitment differential should be separate from an employee's base pay in determining their compa ratio standing. AFSCME's position is that it should not (SPO Rule and the State believes it should. AFSCME, CWA and the State will be meeting within the next two weeks to settle the matter. It has been AFSCME's position NOT to hold up the payment of the back pay checks while this issue gets resolved.

Please relay this update to your fellow members. It has been a long-fought issue and we are close to resolution....but until every last check has been cut, AFSCME will remain diligent to ensure FULL implementation!! You can TAKE ACTION! to keep pressure ON!

Connie Derr, Exec Dir
AFSCME Council 18

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Labor 2014 is in full swing in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Cruces! We started our phonebanks in Santa Fe and Las Cruces, and of course Albuquerque is going strong.  We can't do it without you! (Psst...there's always good food and snacks, too!)

We're going to do everything we can to protect that quality of life and to improve it by making sure that Gov. Martinez and her anti-worker allies don't roll back decades of progress for working families.

We HAVE to let other union members know which candidates have been on our side, and which want to end any type of worker rights.

For union members and retirees only, we'll be paying a $12/hour stipend for phonebanking and canvassing in the Labor 2014 member-to-member program starting on Tuesday, September 2nd in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Cruces.

#OurNewMexico #SaveNewMexico #Labor2014
Labor 2014 - Get Out the VOTE!

Here's the schedule below or CLICK HERE to download Flyer [PDF] or [JPG] HERE

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It is way past time Congress understood that women's issues are not an afterthought but are of critical importance to the economic health and well-being of our nation.


We asked AFSCME members to share their talent on stage at the 41st International Convention and the results were amazing.


Read between the lines, because Charles Koch's toxic vision for our country is still evident.


Rep. Paul Ryan keeps trotting out the same old plans to shred the U.S. safety net but calls it something else. His most recent scheme to cut anti-poverty programs comes with buzzwords like “innovation” and “flexibility,” but it’s the same tired ideas.


Opponents of labor unions were rubbing their hands gleefully earlier this summer when the Supreme Court ruled that home care workers didn't have to pay "fair share" fees. But our union is a testament to the power of collective action.


Watch AFSCME member Maricruz Manzanarez's powerful story on why we need immigration reform.


In a rousing keynote address at AFSCME's 41st International Convention in Chicago, Secretary-Treasurer Laura Reyes told the assembled delegates that unions do make a difference. Click through to watch the video highlights.


We kicked off the 41st International Convention in Chicago with some big news: our union is 92,155 members stronger today than it was just a few months ago. Watch highlights of Pres. Saunders' speech by clicking through.


The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that home care and child care providers members were not required to pay fair share dues.


Home care and child care workers will continue to stand up for quality care in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. Quinn.


EMTs and paramedics suffer three times as many workplace injuries as the national average.


PayWatch Raises Awareness about Income Inequality Read more >>>

New AFSCME campaign will grow the union by 50,000 members before the 2014 Convention in July. Read more >>>

AFSCME Member Back on the Job After Huge Arbitration Victory

The American love affair with firearms isn’t something you would naturally expect to play a pivotal role in the protection of union members’ rights. Bernalillo County Court Security Officer Jocelyn Hotle has the science of firearms, the Union Contract, and some hard work by AFSCME Stewards and Staff to thank for the restoration of her job.

“Every Officer believed in Jocelyn, we were outraged when she was fired. Everyone who walks into the Bernalillo County Court Building is safer because she is back at her post!” said Local 1661 President, and Court Security Officer Richard Sawin.

Trained in 2008 with the Albuquerque Police Department, Hotle worked as an officer at APD before joining the Bernalillo County Court Security (CSS) in 2011. In testimony, Hotle was recognized for being a well regarded, solid CSS, who was valued in the position because of her people skills and ability to de-escalate emotional or confrontational situations.

Trouble began

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 A few minutes ago the House Appropriations and Finance Committee voted 11-6 to table the last surviving double dipping bill on the House side this session. Your calls and emails made a big difference in protecting our pension plans from upper management raiding PERA for their own gain.

Meanwhile, yesterday the Senate voted on almost a pure party line vote to allow New Mexican voters to decide whether we should raise the minimum wage and to protect the minimum wage in the constitution (Senate Joint Resolution 13). Only Sen. John Arthur Smith (D-Deming) joined the Republicans in opposing the minimum wage, so your calls to Sen. Papen, Sen. Munoz, and Sen. Griego paid off.

This weekend's action is to call and email two representatives and ask them to SUPPORT Senate Joint Resolution 13:

Dona Irwin (D-Deming) 505-986-4234

Sandra Jeff (D-Crownpoint) 505-986-4243

And please continue your prayers and thoughts for Representatives Ernie Chavez (D-Albuquerque) and Philip Archuleta (D-Las Cruces) as they try to recover in time to make critical votes affecting hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans.

The Real Miners of District 12 Invite YOU to Silver City, NM! 3/15/14

Recognition, Celebration, and the Continued Struggle for Justice.

WEBSITE for 60th Salt of the Earth Event

AFSCME, USW, NM Film Workers Unions and a host of other NM and AZ Labor & Civic Organizations Invite YOU to Grant County, NM on March 15th to participate in the Living History that is "Salt Of The Earth."

We will mark the 60th Anniversary of the benchmark movie "Salt of the Earth". In recognition of this important date we invite you to a series of events in the birthplace of the actual incidents which spawned film.

CLICK for the FLYER!

The film's plot centers on the long and difficult 1951 strike against the Empire Zinc Company in Grant County, New Mexico.

The victorious Empire Zinc Strike brought about numerous positive changes for the Grant County Community. Beyond the equitable pay and treatment which Chicano Miners won through the strike, the Women who fought in the strike sparked advances in the movement for gender equality, area schools began hiring Hispanic teachers, a credit union helping miners was born, and the roots of justice were firmly established in Grant County.   

Join the Conversation at the FACEBOOK Event Page

Salt of the Earth was blacklisted for many years as being too inflammatory in exposing issues the Federal Government wanted suppressed.

3/15 Events Include: -Free public viewing of the film - Panel discussion with surviving activists / family members, - Organized labor representatives, public officials, and scholars. - Visual historical exhibit - Reception to honor the remaining pioneers and their families, - Opportunities to TAKE ACTION and support today's workers who continue to face issues of inequality at work. -  Bus tour visiting the Empire Mine site, the current Santa Rita Pit overlook, and the numerous historic murals depicting the struggle located in Silver City and at the Steelworkers' Local 890 Union Hall in Bayard, NM. 

Read more >>>

Last month’s employment figures are in, and things don’t look good. Read more >>>

by Olivia Sandbothe

Low-wage workers in certain federally funded jobs will see a much-needed pay increase, thanks to President Obama.

Read more >>>

Today, AFSCME members from all over New Mexico came to the Roundhouse to make our case: after years of sacrifice, hard-working public employees deserve a real raise!

LINK to Today's Photos - [Flickr] AFSCME New Mexico Lobby Day

We were joined in the Roundhouse Rotunda by State Senators Michael Padilla, Tim Keller, and Howie Morales as well as AFSCME's endorsed candidate for mayor of Santa Fe, Javier Gonzales.

Council 18 President Patrick Gutierrez and Executive Director Connie Derr gave rousing speeches.

Afterwards our members split into four packs to cover each and every one of the 112 legislators' offices in the Roundhouse and Annex, led by our lobby team of Patrick Gutierrez, Casey Padilla, Linda Garcia, Adam Chavarria, Barb Pardo, Eric Simon, and Benito Lujan (Mark Flournoy has also been doing great work on our lobby team but had to be out of the Roundhouse today).

The message was simple: when times were tough, we all took across-the-board cuts to balance the state budget. Now that we've had back-to-back years of major general fund revenue growth, it's time to start making up for some of those sacrifices. Governor Martinez has offered a ZERO percent across-the-board raise. Nothing. Legislators, many of whom are being told that any real raise will be vetoed, have only come forward with a 1.5% raise proposal. It's up to all of us to let them know that anything less than 3% just puts us further behind.

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We knew it was coming, it's just hard to believe it when it actually happens. Gov. Martinez is moving full steam ahead with her plan to freeze state employee pay with 2 exceptions: a small number of job titles (mostly limited to only some public safety) and small increases to be given out on the basis of who political appointees like best.

THIS IS WRONG! When state and university employees were asked to sacrifice over the last five years to balance the budget, the cuts were across-the-board. When inflation goes up at about 2% per year, the cuts to real take home pay are across-the-board. 

TAKE ACTION: Send 3 Letters 


AFSCME Lobby Day is January 28th

What: 30th Commemorative Martin Luther King, Jr., March/Parade
When: Sunday, January 19, 2 p.m., program immediately following
Where: the corner of University and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Albuquerque
Who: New Mexico ARA

Please spread the word and invite your family and friends to celebrate and continue the legacy of peace and progressivism left by Martin Luther King, Jr.

AFSCME Aims to ANSWER Questions: Back Pay, Union Contracts, and Impacts of the Legislative Session

RUMORS. They can buoy or dash our hopes. Left unanswered, rumors and misinformation are tools that some in power count on to confuse and disenfranchise working people.

The FACTS can empower union members to take action and gain confidence. IF YOU WANT THE FACTS and the tools to understand where State Employees stand in the eyes of the Governor and our elected Legislators, then plan to attend one of the AFSCME / CWA Town Hall meetings in January.

First Town Halls are THIS Week!

We'll Inform, Discuss, and Plan Action on the following issues:

  • The $50 Million Back Pay Lawsuit
  • Negotiations of UNION Contract(s) Representing over 15,000 NM State Employees
  • Impact of Legislation (Session begins 1/21/14)

Wed 1/15, 6pm
National Education Assoc. NEA-NM, 2007 Botulph, Santa Fe
Eagles Lodge, 211 S. Grand Ave, Las Vegas

Thurs 1/16, 6pm
AFSCME Hall 138 S. Main, Las Cruces
AFSCME Hall 11786 Hwy 180 E., Silver City

Sat 1/18, 1pm
AFSCME Hall 1202 Pennsylvania Ave, NE. ABQ

Wed 1/22, 6pm
Elks Lodge 1720 N. Montana Ave, Roswell

Wed 1/22, 5:30pm
Gallup Children’s Public Library 200 West Aztec Ave, Gallup

Wed 1/29, 6pm
Farmington Civic Center 200 W. Arrington, Farmington
La Quinta Inn & Suites 4521 N Prince St, Clovis

Read more >>>

Go direct to your Legislators with the Issues Affecting REAL New Mexicans!

AFSCME green shirts will dominate the Roundhouse on Tuesday, January 28, at 9:30 a.m. in the Rotunda of the Roundhouse.  Be there to hear inspiring words from our legislative allies and make your voice heard as you and your sisters and brothers talk to legislators about the issues that are important to us!

Here is our Legislative Priority List:








READ more details here [click]


Happy New Year! We hope you had a great holiday season with your families and are rested and ready to take on the challenges of 2014.

From governor to state legislators to city and county elections to federal races, there will be plenty on our plate this year. And that's to say nothing of the legislative battles we'll face at the Roundhouse and in city council and county commission chambers all over the state.

The first big races of the year will be our municipal races (other than Albuquerque, which just finished in November). AFSCME Local 3999's PEOPLE Committee has made endorsements for the 2014 Santa Fe City Council and Mayoral races, and they are as follows:

Mayor: Javier Gonzales

District 1: Signe Lindell

District 2: Dual endorsement: Mary Louise Bonney and Rad Acton

District 3: Carmichael Dominguez

District 4: Ron Trujillo


We are in the process of setting up a member-to-member campaign, some of which will be in conjunction with the Northern New Mexico Central Labor Council. While that structure is being established, our members and retirees are still free to volunteer (no stipend available due to campaign finance laws) for Javier Gonzales' campaign for mayor:

WHAT: Kickoff canvass for Javier Gonzales for Santa Fe Mayor

WHERE: Gonzales for Mayor HQ, Center for Progress and Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Rd. (across from the Indian School)

DATE: Saturday, January 4th

TIME: 10:00 a.m.

RSVP: If you know you'll make it, please RSVP to Sarah Aagard at If you decide to join us at the last minute, you're still welcome! Either way, let them know you're an AFSCME member or retiree or family member. Thanks!

 State Pay Plan Questions --- Partial Answers

Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) members only had to threaten to call security once last night as a huge AFSCME crowd remained mostly quiet, listening respectfully in the face of growing impatience over low pay and the five year old back pay issue.

The Legislative Finance Committee meeting in Santa Fe on December 12 did not result in concrete answers to AFSCME (and CWA) state employees' question: "When will we see our back pay?!" This was through no fault of the legislators. Rather, the State Personnel Office was unable to give specific answers. State Personnel Director Gene Moser testified the back pay liability is between $25-28 million. A task force detailed by the State to work on the calculations will present its report on a phased pay back strategy to AFSCME (and CWA) leaders on Wednesday, December 18. Check our website at for updates.

All in all, and despite Mr. Moser’s ambiguous tone, AFSCME is encouraged that our members WILL at least have a timeframe for back pay by year’s end.

Read more >>>

Calling on Attention All UNMH Employees and Community Supporters :

Just like the University of New Mexico Hospital is in partnership with the State and the County, they are also in partnership with their employees. The union, the employees and the community, are well aware that the hospital, which receives county funds from tax dollars, operates with a surplus at the end of every year. Currently the hospital has over $165 million in surplus monies.

Through their actions and a failure to budget for a wage increase year after year, UNMH shows that it is dedicated only to overall strategic planning of the hospital and not to the employees. District 1199NM believes that partnerships require reciprocity, which the union believes is currently lacking.

Employees continue to deliver quality patient care to the community, more and more often without adequate staffing and resources, but are receiving nothing in return.

Join District 1199NM for an informational rally to fight for a long overdue wage increase for UNMH employees. Coffee and donuts will be provided for all who attend. In order to be successful, community members and UNMH employees must take a stand and come to the streets of LOMAS either before you go to work or when you are off shift.

The union will be presenting a petition demanding a wage increase for UNMH employees at the “Board of Regents” meeting, immediately following the rally. For those who can attend your presence is necessary and appreciated.


When: Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Where: 2211 Lomas Blvd. NE (In front of the UNMH main shuttle drop off)
Time: 7am – 9am
(At 9am we will proceed to the UNM Board of Regents meeting at the UNM Student Union Building)

*If you have any question please feel free to contact Kalo Lopez @ 884-7713/ (619)781-7151*

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AFSCME Council 18 represents more than 15,000 public employees across New Mexico. We perform many of the state's most important jobs—from childcare providers to corrections officers—and work to make sure our rights, our families and our communities are protected. To learn more about our union and meet our members, please take a moment to watch the following video. 

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