AFSCME Council 18

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Employees shouldn’t have to risk their health to do their jobs. Four out of 10 private-sector workers come to work sick – or don’t get paid. The picture is noticeably different for state and local government workers, where union membership is stronger. Nine out of 10 workers in state and local government receive paid sick leave and, of those who belong to a union, it’s nearly everyone – 97 percent.


 

Martinez Administration Misleads AFSCME and Public by Claiming Contractor was Responsible for Back Pay Hold Up

AFSCME Obtains Information Showing Contractor Finished Job Months Ago


Fed up with endless delays, New Mexico Corrections Officers picketed in front of the NM State Personnel Office on Tuesday, Dec 9. The officers promise to return Thursday, Dec 11 in an effort to keep the back pay issue front and center in everyone's minds until every check is delivered.

New information obtained by AFSCME demonstrates that the contractor responsible for verifying back pay check amounts, BDO USA, LLP, finished billing their entire contracted amount of $1.6 Million in an October 10, 2014 invoice.

READ Contract and Billing for BDO USA, LLP here: 

The contract spells out that no work shall be provided by the contractor after the entire amount of the contract has been bllled. It raises the question, why has Governor's Administration insisted since early October that BDO was the source of delay for approximately 5,000 checks not being printed and distributed?

This new information does not jive with repeated claims by State Personnel and the Governor's office that the complex calculations were bogging the contractor down and that they weren't delivering large numbers of verifications through late October and November.

AFSCME is calling on Governor Martinez to speak out and detail who, or what, is truly responsible for the delays. More than 5,000 NM public employees continue to wait for checks representing six years of stolen wages when a fiscal year 2009 AFSCME contract raise was underpaid.

AFSCME Local 1211 President Ken Long appeared before the December 5 State Personnel Board meeting demanding action from the board to get answers for employees. "During contract negotiations, former Personnel Director Gene Moser said union members were dumb as rocks. With all the delays and misinformation coming out from the state, we're starting to wonder, who is really 'dumb as rocks.'"

Miles Conway, AFSCME Communication Coordinator, requested the board take an active role and Read more >>>

Pregnancy should not cost women their paychecks. But that's exactly what happened to UPS delivery driver Peggy Young when she became pregnant in 2006.


 

President Obama's willingness to act on immigration while Congress dithers and delays is admirable. Read President Saunders' Huffington Post article on it here.


 

We know that money can be a big obstacle when it comes to higher education. That’s why AFSCME provides scholarships to help members and their families reach their educational goals.


 

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!

 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 1.7.4.13) 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

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

Read more >>>

 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 donagale@zianet.com

Sandra Jeff (D-Crownpoint) 505-986-4243 sandra.jeff@nmlegis.gov


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 >>>

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.

Read more >>>

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 

and GO DIRECT!

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!
RSVP at FACEBOOK Event Page

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:

THE FIGHT FOR FAIR RAISES

BACK PAY UPDATE

OUTSOURCING 

PROTECTING OUR PENSIONS

DEFENDING WORKER RIGHTS

MINIMUM WAGE FOR ALL WORKERS

STATE EMPLOYEE MINIMUM WAGE

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

DON'T WAIT TO TAKE ACTION--VOLUNTEER DIRECTLY FOR THE MAYORAL CAMPAIGN THIS SATURDAY, JANUARY 4th!

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 sarah.aagard@gmail.com. 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 www.afscme18.org 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.

“STAND TOGETHER FOR A WAGE INCREASE! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”

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)

*STRENGTH IS IN NUMBERS. STRENGTHEN OUR UNION.
*If you have any question please feel free to contact Kalo Lopez @ 884-7713/ (619)781-7151*

Read more >>>


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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