|AFSCME Council 18|
The Center for American Progress Action Fund and the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) issued reports recently detailing how the right-to-work (RTW) scam hurts workers by weakening collective bargaining and unions’ ability to negotiate good wages and benefits.
Governor Martinez’s Administration is missing a golden opportunity to show state employees some respect this May as AFSCME members mark a two year anniversary since the NM Supreme Court ruled they’re owed $30 million in back pay.
It will be two years this month since over 10,400 current and former New Mexico State Employees were told by the State Supreme Court that they were right, and Governor Martinez was wrong to withhold years of back wages owed to them under a raise promised in the union contract.
Read the May 15, 2013 Story: NM Supremes To Rule on 5 Year BACK PAY Case!"
While 9,000 checks have been printed and distributed, the over one thousand current and former union members awaiting their checks are feeling disrespected by the administration. The state’s standard explanation, that the calculations are “complicated”, isn’t holding water in the face of facts that over $2.3 million taxpayer dollars have already been spent hiring one of the world’s largest crack-squad accounting team, BDO, USA to help with the math.
“The Governor needs to walk through the state buildings right now and explain to the employees why the wage theft repayment has taken over seven years to fully pay back state employees,” said Casey Padilla, president of AFSCME Council 18.
“Governor Martinez and her administration have not provided any reasonable explanation to AFSCME or its members as to why they are dragging their feet to settle this matter,” said AFSCME Council 18 Executive Director, Connie Derr. “What we do receive are emails which stonewall our efforts to get answers, blame the union for delays, and offer the same ‘it’s complicated’ excuse month after month. It is unacceptable to ask these hard-working state employees to continue to hold an IOU.”
“Close to 1,000 checks are left to be calculated and printed, and the rate of disbursement has slowed to a trickle.” said Miles Conway, AFSCME communications coordinator. “In early May, the state produced only 145 checks. At this current trajectory, union members are being asked to wait at least 10 more months before getting what’s owed to them. We’re talking millions of dollars in stolen wages that the government is holding onto while workers are missing out on purchasing power or interest they could be earning on that money.”
In addition, AFSCME has evidence that a small number of the checks weren’t calculated accurately, evidence the state is making every effort to ignore. In the case of approximately 100 Corrections Officers at the Penitentiary outside Santa Fe, the back pay calculation used incorrect figures to determine their June 2008 base hourly pay. This resulted in them receiving a lower back pay percentage than they were owed.
During a meeting in the fall of 2014, AFSCME and representatives from the State Personnel Office and the Department of Information Technology agreed that the State Department of Finance and Administration should push ahead and print back pay checks for the lion’s share of state workers, and the parties would meet again in January 2015, or shortly thereafter, assuming most of the checks were printed, to rectify the pay for Corrections Officers.
The January deadline sailed past with the state only managing to print and distribute less than half of the entire amount. Since then, the spokespeople for the State’s pay plan team have been evasive and indicate they are unwilling to meet and fix their miscalculations without another court battle.
The state has refused to provide individual calculation sheets to members or AFSCME so the accuracy of calculations might be confirmed. Freedom of Information requests have likewise hit a brick wall with the state re-directing state employees back to AFSCME (or CWA).
AFSCME International Economist Mike Messina, who tested and approved of the state’s general methodology following the court ruling, wonders at the games being played by the administration. “Whether the state actually wants to adhere to the supreme court ruling is questionable given its balking at ensuring all state employees will receive the properly calculated amount of back pay.”
AFSCME continues to apply pressure for the expedited resolution to all issues surrounding the fiscal year 2009 arbitration award. Whether through testimony at State Personnel Board meetings, direct communication with the state’s pay plan team, or interaction with the Attorney General’s Office for assistance around the Inspection of Public Records request denials, AFSCME remains committed to ensuring sure every state employee owed back pay receives an accurate check.
AFSCME is more than eager to hear from the Governor’s administration and have them explain, in specific terms, why the flow of checks has slowed to trickle. In the two closing months of 2014, the state managed to generate over 5,000 back pay checks. For the union members still owed money, the Governor should act now and demonstrate some real will and respect for these men, women, and families who devote their careers to public service.
This Weekend! PEOPLE Convention! Still time to sign UP, read below:
Our PEOPLE Convention--AFSCME's big political convention that only meets once every two years--is coming up this weekend. We already have over 70 RSVPs already, so join your co-workers to help chart the course for the next two years of AFSCME's future. Remember, PEOPLE members at the convention will elect our statewide PEOPLE Committee who make key endorsement decisions for the 2016 elections, so don't miss this chance to have a say in who we endorse and support!
Day/date: Saturday, May 16
Hours: Registration and lunch starting at 11:00 a.m.
Convention from noon-5:00 p.m.
Barbeque from 5:00-7:00 p.m.
LET US KNOW IF YOU'RE COMING SO WE CAN PLAN!
Whether you are staying at the Sheraton or not, PLEASE RSVP to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also call Carter at 505-463-8499 or Josh at 505-350-2200 to RSVP or if you have questions.
Remember, you have to be an AFSCME member or retiree who is also a PEOPLE member to attend. AFSCME member's family members are also eligible to join PEOPLE. PEOPLE is our fund that allows us to help elect leaders who will fight for us at the Roundhouse, at city councils, in mayor's offices, at county commissions, and even in Washington, D.C. You can even join PEOPLE at the door!
The Sheraton Uptown has been kind enough to provide us with a specific link for our PEOPLE members (or those who want to join PEOPLE on or before Saturday, May 16th) who want to book a hotel room for our May 16th PEOPLE Convention.
AFSCME PEOPLE member attendees can make reservations through Sheraton's Central Reservations at 1-800-325-3535 referencing the AFSCME rate for May 16th at the Sheraton Uptown in Albuquerque or by using the link here:
For anyone over an hour and a half away from Albuquerque who attends the full convention, we'll pay for your hotel room at the Sheraton Uptown (at Louisiana and Menaul NE) based on PEOPLE member double occupancy at our special AFSCME rate. That means that if you have two PEOPLE members in the room, your whole room is paid for. If you want to bring someone who is not a PEOPLE member or if you want a room to yourself, we'll pay for your half of the room. YOU WILL HAVE TO MAKE YOUR OWN RESERVATIONS AND PAY, AND KEEP THE RECEIPT TO SUBMIT FOR REIMBURSEMENT.
AFSCME is getting a very good rate of $83 (about $94 after all taxes and fees), but the rooms will go quickly, and there's no guarantee that if you wait too long the rooms (or rooms at the AFSCME rate) will still be available. No incidentals (movies, room service, etc.) will be eligible for reimbursement--we'll have free lunch and dinner at the PEOPLE convention.
LOCALS CAN ALSO PAY FOR HOTELS FOR PEOPLE MEMBERS CLOSER THAN 1.5 HOURS FROM ALBUQUERQUE OR IF THEY DON'T WANT TO DOUBLE UP.
by Mark Flournoy, Local 3422 President, Casey Padilla, AFSCME Council 18 President, Rob Trombley, AFSCME 18 Public Safety Coordinator, Connie Derr, Council 18 Executive Director
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5187 creating "National Correctional Officers' Week." AFSCME New Mexico takes this first full week in May to honor the demanding work and sacrifices of correctional officers and correctional personnel nationwide.
In 1996, Congress changed the name of the week to National Correctional Officers and Employees Week. The names of 585 correctional officers are engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C.. These courageous heroes are forever remembered, and their light continues to shine through their memory, and through the selfless men and women who continue to serve each day.
AFSCME New Mexico would like to commend and thank the men and women who dedicate their careers and put their lives on the line everyday to help rehabilitate incarcerated youth and adults.
While citizens are quick to support the high profile needs of law enforcement and the courts, this week offers an opportunity to draw attention to the very serious and ongoing need to fund and support corrections officers who deal with society’s most challenging population day in and day out.
As New Mexico continues to suffer under staggering poverty levels, and finds itself in the midst of the mental health services breakdown, the general public needs to understand that incarceration is where the rubber meets the road. New Mexico corrections officers are increasingly dealing with inmates who have mental illness and assaults on officers are on the rise.
Across the state, we’re seeing incidence of inmates falsely accusing corrections and detentions officers of assault skyrocket. Most inmates are there to rehabilitate. But to be honest, many who are inside to serve long sentences have decided they have nothing better to do than imagine the officers as the enemy, and dream up ways to target them.Read more >>>
A year long organizing drive culminated Friday, May 1 as members of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFSCME Local 513 Town of Taos employees, voted overwhelmingly to ratify their first contract.
The Friday vote, taking place at Taos Town Hall, was conducted by AFSCME Council 18 representative Chris Armijo and Council 18 President Casey Padilla.
While relations between Taos workers and management had in general been harmonious, employees decided it was time to organize and form their union in order to guarantee workplace rights and benefits with a legally binding and lasting agreement.
“We’ve achieved our goals,” said Richard Vigil, newly elected President of Local 513 and public utilities operator for Taos. “We negotiated for essential workplace rights that were missing, including a grievance and disciplinary procedure that guarantees workers have representation should they face intimidation or retaliation if they blow the whistle on wrong doing.
“We all feel blessed to live in a place as beautiful and historic as Taos. Our union makes it possible for us to advocate for one another with one voice. We’re going to fight that town workers get to share in the prosperity and make sure employees have the tools needed to keep Taos running smooth.”
Also included in the contract is language establishing a labor - management committee, an article protecting employees who become whistleblowers, and annual procedures for negotiating wages and benefits.
Town manager Rick Bellis is expected to present the tentative contract for approval at a council work session next week.
Read the latest NM Works! newsletter for your legislative wrap up, official notification on the 2015 AFSCME People Convention, held May 16 in ABQ.
CLICK to read on Scribd:
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The week of January 12, 2015, the State issued an additional 884 checks, to both current and former employees. To date, the State has conducted six special payrolls and issued approximately 5,800 checks. The next special payroll is scheduled for the week of January 26, 2015.
AFSCME membership continues to seek further information and keep the pressure on to complete the back payments as quickly as possible.'
See the latest update here: http://www.spo.state.nm.us/fy09-union-lawsuit-information.aspx
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.
© American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO. All rights reserved.
Photographs and illustrations, as well as text, cannot be used without permission from AFSCME.