"If I'm working in the trench, and a valve blows, I know these guys have my back and will pull me out. Paying Union dues is the same thing...we must have each others backs." - Joey Sanchez, AFSCME Local 624 Board Member & Volunteer Member Organizer
AFSCME Member Organizers Build Membership and Local Power
AFSCME Local 624, Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, Utility Techs, (L to R) Joey Sanchez, Robert Ramirez, Michael Brown
Member Organizers Spotlight
Santa Fe County Detention Center, Local 1413 President, Daniel Solis and Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, Local 624 executive board member and activist, Joey Sanchez are the June / July volunteer members organizers of the month. They've gone above and beyond to build their Local membership, keep rank and file members informed, and help them find pathways for taking action to improve union careers.
Joey Sanchez, Local 624 Executive Board, spent a long time working as a water utility operator before deciding to become active in his union. "I wanted to see more out of our contract negotiations team," says Sanchez. "But how could I blame those guys if I wasn't involved myself?"
Brother Sanchez began attending meetings and earned a spot on the contract negotiations team. That was only the beginning though according to Sanchez. "I began talking about the union at work. I told the guys, 'don't just trust me, trust yourself. Come to the meetings, make sure for yourselves that we're doing our jobs.'" Read more >>>
"It's ALL coming from Santa Fe" That was the testimony that rang out loud and clear from Judge Garza's U.S District Court today in Las Cruces as State Employees, one after another, testified under oath that the Human Services Department is directing people to violate federal law by denying Medicaid and Food Assistance to New Mexico People in need.
97! That is the number times Deputy Secretary of Child Support Laura Galindo, Income Support Division Director Marilynn Martinez, and ISD County Director Emily Floyd invoked the 5th amendment to avoid self incrimination when asked questions regarding several alleged violations of Federal Law around the failure to deliver medicaid and food assitance.
Full Update Later...
*update May 12, 2016
Las Cruces, NM - New Mexico's public safety-net systems continue to flounder under the Governor Martinez Administration. Evidence is mounting that deliberate and not accidental neglect by administration officials is to blame.
New Mexico may continue to lose experienced Correctional Officers because of the State Personnel Office’s (SPO) flawed implementation of the Corrections department compensation overhaul plan.
The Corrections Department deserves a hearty pat on the back for accomplishing the miracle of improving pay for new recruits and more recent hires during a disastrous budget year. Retaining those newer hires must be a top priority for healing NM Corrections.
However, if security is the number one priority, then SPO has failed in part to abide by the intent of language in the state budget by not also raising the pay of New Mexico’s dedicated career correctional officers.
$400K has been allocated to improve salaries for higher level management. AFSCME members are expressing their opinion that those positions are not truly hard to recruit or retain and not an appropriate use of the department’s limited budget resources.
Nowhere in the plan does it address the remaining 489 COs currently on the job who are theoretically making above minimum, but possibly well below the new midpoint.
CO’s who lobbied hardest for the funding for raises are the very one who will be left out under this current plan.
“These are the same officers who were tasked to do more with less in recent years,”said Rob Trombley, AFSCME Public Safety Coordinator.“The same officers who went above an beyond and kept the prisons safe during a time when chronic vacancies exposed the officers to a greater threat of violence, escapes, and risk of harm to themselves, the public, and inmates.”
During his presentation at the May 11, 2016 Legislative Finance Committee meeting in Santa Fe, Justin Najaka, Director of State Personnel Office, acknowledged that wage compaction between newer COs and career COs is an issue that his office would be addressing with future requests for the fiscal year 2018 budget.
Senator Carlos R. Cisneros (D-Questa) applauded the action by SPO to raise the compensation for the lowest paid at corrections, but also cautioned that the plan will result in some negative consequences due to mid-level paid employees who will see no raise whatsoever.
Pg 126, Line 5 of the state budget [HERE: FY2017 Budget HB2] specifically addresses the purpose of the moneys to improve retention among custody staff. Lines 4 and 5 make it abundantly clear that a top priority of the $4.5 million was to reduce compaction. The reality of SPOs plan will see compaction made worse this year.
New Mexico Corrections Department officials told AFSCME today that their intention is to return to the legislature and request further funding to raise up career employees left behind by this first phase implementation.
In many cases, this newly launched plan will lift newer employees to a pay level equal to far more experienced officers who they're working alongside.
It appears that SPO may be about to miss the mark once again in a move that will cause divisiveness and another crisis in morale as New Mexico’s most senior experienced officers are passed over for a pay adjustment that reflects their experience.
It is 100% true that SPO and NMCD garnered union support and advocacy for the compensation overhaul plan at NMCD by expressly informing the union that more senior corrections officers would realize a pay increase as a component of the overhaul plan.
Cabinet Secretary Gregg Marcantel appeared before the legislature in early 2016 to lobby for the increased funding for NMCD. The Secretary said at the time, “...for the love of god” he needed this funding to avoid a catastrophic failure within the system.
AFSCME appreciates the essential task to raise wages for our newest and incoming Correctional Officers immediately. However, SPOs choice to include upper level management in the plan to boost salaries and avoid altogether long serving COs below midpoint is negligent.
The specter of leaving 489 dedicated COs behind, who deserve and have earned a competitive pay raise, should scare the hell out of anyone who has been paying attention to the realities within our crowded, understaffed, and under-maintained prisons.
CLICK here to READ about the April 28 Court casewhere New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty is requesting a Federal Monitor to oversee ISD. AFSCME members and ISD staff are under federal subpeona to reveal the truth of what is happening within the system.
Watch this page for updates following the Federal Court hearing.
New Mexico Labor Announces 2nd Annual ¡Gracias Bus Tour!
It takes guts to be a working people's champion. Paying lip-service to the working family agenda is one thing, but when the chips are down, taking votes to protect workers' rights, education, the environment, and progressive tax policy takes true grit.
Pressure is immense to vote AGAINST working family interests and, instead, support an out-of-state, corporate CEO agenda.
That is why NM Labor and our progressive allies are heading out on the road to thank the true working peoples' champions in the most public way possible.
You're invited to get on board the ¡Gracias Bus Tour! and join in recognizing NM elected leaders who put people above politics and consistently take a stand for New Mexico working families.
There will be food, fun, stars, and fantastic films!
Tour will cover five cities in four days to thank legislators, build unity around the progressive agenda, and drum up excitement for 2016 elections Progressive author and political activist Jim Hightower is slated to headline the Santa Fe event.
The tour is sponsored by a wide spectrum of Labor and Progressive organizations, and will begin to educate voters on the importance of the 2016 elections for the future of our state.
“This is a critical year for getting our state back on the right track. Working people, the environment, and basic public services have all faced unprecedented attacks under the control of Governor Susana Martinez and the NM GOP-led House,” said New Mexico Federation of Labor President Jon Hendry. “We’re starting now to make sure every voter understands why it is so important for them to get involved and to put their support behind real New Mexico champions in this year’s election. It’s time for New Mexico families to take our state’s progress back into our own hands.”
Thursday, 4/28 - Las Cruces Friday, 4/29 - Truth or Consequences and Los Lunas Saturday, 4/30 - Albuquerque Sunday, 5/1 - Santa Fe
The New Mexico Federation of Labor, AFSCME New Mexico, and AFT New Mexico are joining leaders from across New Mexico and the nation in celebration of President Obama’s announcement to establish the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument as a unit of the National Park Service.
The Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument was the site from which Alice Paul, one of the greatest women’s rights advocates and political strategists in American history, led the National Woman’s Party in securing the right for women to vote through the passage and ratification of the 19th amendment in 1919-1920.
As a National Monument, the site will ensure future generations can explore the important contributions women had in shaping equal rights in our country. The building currently is home to the most extensive collection of suffrage and equal rights movement artifacts in America, including historic documents, banners, sashes, and newsletters.
“The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 18, say ‘thank you’ to President Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. This [National Monument] designation forever bestows a proper recognition upon a pivotal chapter in American history,” said Connie Derr, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 18 in New Mexico. “Every union woman across our nation who continues the struggle for women’s equality will know the history and enduring lessons which the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument can deliver. Its establishment within the National Park Service system ensures that future generations of young women leaders will know of the sacrifice and bravery which our suffragist sisters demonstrated in order to bring about the 19th amendment and set the roots for an American Civil Rights Movement.”
"Generations of working women have benefited from the rights granted to women as a direct result of the advocacy of Alice Paul and countless others who took a stand for equity, fairness, and justice. We, as working women, and in particular union women, have an obligation to continue the struggles that have been on-going for so many years. Our work is not yet complete, but we commit to continue the fight on behalf of all women and future generations to come. The designation of the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument is an important reminder of this on-going work," said Stephanie Ly, President, American Federation of Teachers New Mexico.
“The Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument is a living symbol which reminds today’s generation that we build upon the victories of our predecessors. Today’s fight for equity, through the Paycheck Fairness Act, grew out of yesterday’s effort to win the Equal Rights Amendment and prior to that, the battle for ratification of the 19th amendment. They’re all connected,” said Maxine Velasquez, Secretary Treasurer of the New Mexico Federation of Labor.
Other New Mexicans joining in celebration of the new National Monument include 40 leading women in public service and business who sent a letter to President Obama today thanking him for taking this historic action.
The President used his authority under the Antiquities Act to add Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument to our National Park System as a National Monument. Since its passage in 1906, this bipartisan law has been used by sixteen U.S. Presidents, eight Republicans and eight Democrats, to declare 146 national monuments (prior to today). More information about today’s announcement is available from the U.S. Department of Interior.
AFSCME Local 3999 Union Mtg: Tuesday 3/29 at 5:30PM, AFSCME Hall: 1420 Cerrillos Rd - Let's WORK together to protect our JOBS!
AFSCME Local 3999 PRESS Conference: Wednesday 3/30 at 6:15pm outside City Council Chambers: Advocating for Long Term Protections of City Services
City council is poised to consider new tax measures that would help us deliver city services. These measures are IMPORTANT for us and we need to take action and support sensible measures increasing revenue.
City leaders are reluctant to pass tax increases because they face a lot of organized opposition. On the other hand, unless UNION MEMBERS speak up, councilors can be highly motivated to balance budgets on the backs of workers or cut services.
Only by speaking up, and telling city leaders what we do for our city, can budget cuts prove less painful for our families! SIGN PETITION below:
ensure cuts to vacant positions and services do not adversely affect the health and safety of residents and workers, and are equitably distributed among each sector of public services to include non-union, Management, Fire, Police, and the AFSCME bargaining units
Negotiate in good faith with ALL unions representing Santa Fe City Employees to identify which vacancies will be eliminated in order to minimize disruption of public services
Abandon plans calling for well-paying public careers and services to be outsourced
We are concerned that budget-cutting decisions being considered by City leaders and City Council members will have negative impacts on quality of services provided and public service jobs which city employees count on to sustain their families in and around the City of Santa Fe.
Looking solely at full-time equivalents (FTEs) leads to an incomplete and inaccurate assessment of the city’s efficiency, perpetuating the myth that city government is bloated.
According to data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, total costs of compensation for state and local workers account for about 44 percent of state and local spending. The Chamber of Commerce reported that Santa Fe spends about a third of its budget on wages and benefits, which is certainly not out of line with the national average.
Corrections wins funding for competitive pay at legislature
HB43 PASSES! NM Corrections, Detention, and Law Enforcement Officers will now continue to accrue PERA credit when injured on job
Local 601 Belen PD engages with city leaders, Chief resigns
Doña Ana County votes for legal defense plan
NMCD: TAKING ACTION Makes the Difference in Disastrous Budget Year
Help is on the way for NM Corrections and CYFD. AFSCME Public Safety members can take heart today as Governor Martinez signed the budget containing raises for some of our state's most difficult to recruit and retain jobs, including corrections officers and child welfare inspectors.
A sliding scale wage increase is expected in July.
AFSCME Public Safety members called attention to major safety concerns by delivering to legislators nearly 1,000 petition signatures and written testimonials from COs and their families, held press conferences, wrote letters and visited legislators in the effort to galvanize political will for including corrections raises in a stripped down 2017 budget.
House Bill 43 (Rep. Rehm, R-Albuquerque) represented quality bipartisan legislating at its best. Our corrections officers, both at the state and county level, as well as AFSCME police members, will be able to continue to accrue PERA service credit and to continue health coverage if injured in the line of duty. AFSCME is proud to have supported this legislation over the last few years, and we look forward to expanding the number of job classifications covered by this law in years ahead.
Another bill, House Bill 142, which was sponsored by AFSCME friend Rep. Doreen Gallegos (D-Las Cruces), would have enhanced penalties for assaulting CYFD employees. We were proud to partner with CYFD's Secretary to push this bill through the House and through all its Senate committees, but it failed to receive an up-or-down vote in classic cross-chamber, cross-party crossfire on the last morning of the session. We intend to work with several departments to bring the bill up in 2017, and will work to include additional job classifications.
Belen Police Department, AFSCME Local 601 Calls on City Council to Address Issues, Chief Resigns
Local 601 membership, led by President Adam Keck, recently called on Belen City Council and city leaders to create and execute a strategic plan of action to improve conditions within the Belen Police Department. Union members felt that they weren't getting satisfactory response from the chief and that significant changes were necessary in order to improve quality of life in Belen.
The membership, by a unanimous vote at a March 2016 meeting, chose to send a list of our concerns and suggestions for improving conditions at the Belen Police Department (BPD) which would allow officers to better patrol the community of Belen, cause jobs to be safer, and confront the unacceptable, and rising issues of violent crime and drug abuse within our city.
City Council members met Monday to consider the Local's call for action, which you may read HERE. On Monday evening, word reached Local 601 leadership that the Chief had resigned.
The Local looks forward to working more closely with the next Chief to improve policy and the effectiveness of law enforcement in Belen.
Doña Ana County Detention Officers Vote to Join Legal Defense Fund
Detention Officers at Doña Ana County voted by overwhelming majority to join the PORAC Legal Defense Fund. The program provides legal representation for any civil or criminal charge against a member for an act within their scope of employment, which is defined as anything the officer is hired to do, trained to do, or paid to do. The majority of AFSCME Council 18’s public safety locals already provide this AFSCME members-only benefit.
Saturday’s Violent Incident Inside Prison Underscores Need for Legislature to Address Crisis of Vacancies at NM Corrections
NMCD in a catch-22: shutting down prison posts that enable safe family visits allows understaffed correctional officers to get needed rest, but has created a more violent prison population
Santa Fe, NM - On Saturday, February 6, just as nearly 100 American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) members were rallying at the state capitol building in support of increased funding to address dangerous understaffing inside New Mexico’s correctional facilities, a dangerous situation was developing at one of the state-run facilities.
Inmates became violent Saturday afternoon, and caused a critical incident, nearly causing officers to deploy gas and lethal force in order to regain order inside the prison.
AFSCME, who represents NM state correctional officers (COs) and support staff, understands fully the intent of the newly launched New Mexico Corrections Department program, “Operation Recovery and Staff Wellness,” aimed at giving COs much needed recovery time, but the reality is that the program has backfired in its first week.
Correctional officers’ primary goal is to keep conditions inside the prison system safe and calm. Elements of the new program, launched last week, involve shuttering special rehabilitation program posts and family visits one week per month so that officers can rest, and remain focused on critical security.
Current high vacancy rates are addressed by requiring officers work 72 hour work weeks, making adequate recovery time impossible. AFSCME believes that the new program is well intended, but represents a bandaid for a wound that can only be healed by hiring more officers across the state and increasing pay significantly to help stem the high rate of attrition plaguing the department.
AFSCME sees a direct link between Saturday’s incident and Governor Martinez’s policies affecting state employment. Officers are concerned that conditions will worsen if the GOP’s “feel good” bills become law, locking up more people up in prison without giving the department resources necessary to carry out these mandates.
“With money for corrections included in the current proposed budget, we are finally at the point where we can begin to address the issue with low pay and high turnover,” said AFSCME Council 18 Political Coordinator Josh Anderson. “Unfortunately, the Governor’s focus on increasing criminal penalties before addressing the challenges we face in corrections is putting the cart before the horse and could have us, once again, asking our COs to do more with less.”...READ MORE...
Facing Massive Budget Cuts, AFSCME Report Shines a Light on Path Forward to Avoid Drastic Layoffs
“There is no way in hell we’re going to allow this budget to be balanced on the backs of City workers.” With those words, Mayor Javier Gonzales placed himself on firm footing with around 60 AFSCME City of Santa Fe Local 3999 members, who came to hear the Mayor address a projected $15 million dollar city budget deficit.
Local 3999 members, who are responsible for the lion’s share of taxpayer funded city services - including water, streets, transit, solid waste, parks, administration, and even special events, are organizing to include themselves in the imminent budget battle. Gonzales opened his remarks at a Tuesday, January 12 meeting at the Center for Progress and Justice by thanking the AFSCME city workers who
We're right in the middle of the battle for workplace justice everyday, and with the legislative session beginning next week, it is the perfect time to reaffirm our commitment to the labor struggle by attending one of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday events taking place across the state.
WEAR YOUR AFSCME GREENS!
EVENTS for Saturday, January 16, 2016
NM Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative March/Parade
Begins at the corner of MLK and University Blvd with a short program at the end of the march on Civic Plaza (downtown)
[VIDEO] Remember our AFSCME History and the Historic, Tragic, and Victorious moments of April 1963, when Dr. King joined AFSCME for the pivotal "I AM A MAN!" marches and sanitation workers' struggle in Memphis Tennessee
Pre-legislative session training will give you the tools to remain connected, unified, AND effective at the Roundhouse. New Mexico State elected leaders will be on hand to help us build best practices for effective political action.
If you are a public employee, the upcoming legislative session will affect every aspect of your life. We must ALL pledge and prepare to be more active this legislative session. (beginning Tuesday, January 19) The benefits won over the last two decades will be under attack.
If you are OK with having your benefits rolled back to pre-1980, then sit on the sidelines and do nothing. BUT, if you are ready to fight for your rights, to have a voice in your future, then attend the AFSCME Council 18 Pre-Legislative Session Training.
So you say you're disappointed in Governor Martinez for her behavior at her booze fueled annual staff Christmas pizza party? Big deal. AFSCME isn't terribly surprised that our Governor appeared inebriated at her party, nor can we claim shock that she was caught in a lie trying to cover for her rambunctious guests who admittedly threw bottles from a fourth floor El Dorado hotel balcony.After dealing with the Martinez administration for going on six years, half truths and invented realities are par for the course in this Martinez administration.
An $8000 holiday party using taxpayer dollars does outrage AFSCME members at a time when so few have so much, and so many have so little, but it isn’t exactly fresh outrage. Truly, the past six years have been one big party on the taxpayer dime. From the $30 million outsourcing of NM behavioral health to Arizona cronies, or contracts profitizing education by forking over tens of millions to testing companies, the mismanagement of tax dollars is day to day reality.
The primary misdeed for which Governor Martinez should be raked over the Christmas coals is her bullying of a 911 Dispatcher and Santa Fe Police Officer. Her decision to intervene wasted their time, and potentially delayed service for citizens experiencing actual life or death emergencies. It was an inebriated and indulgent power play. When the Attorney General looks into the events of “pizza-gate” it will be this abuse of power and a violation of Governor Martinez’s own state employee code of conduct that warrants scrutiny, not whether she had one and a half or five drinks over the course of an evening.
Certainly, Governor Martinez owes Hotel Lobby staff and security a sincere apology for berating them into revealing the identity of the El Dorado Hotel guest(s) who complained about a noisy early morning party. But the upscale El Dorado Hotel is already geared for dealing with indulgent guests whose revelry crosses the line. Guests pay top dollar for the privilege of having hotel staff tolerate this sort of celebratory behavior.
Every citizen, including the Governor, has a responsibility to understand and respect our emergency services system. Law abiding citizens simply don't call 911 without a clear and present danger or threat to people’s well-being. Further, once 911 has been contacted and public safety personnel have been dispatched, any respecting citizen, buzzed or not, should know better than to phone 911 dispatch and argue over the reasoning for their decisions....READ entire AFSCME reaction to #pizzagate
State Personnel Unveils Plan to Raise Salaries for 6,000 State Employees
Proposed Plan Raises Wages for Corrections, Public Safety, CYFD, IT, and Healthcare Workers Beginning July 2016. AFSCME Continues Work with Legislative Allies to Win Cost of Living Raises for All State Employees
President of AFSCME State Corrections Local 3422, Lee Ortega and AFSCME Corrections Officers (COs) came expecting to hear good news from State Personnel Director, Justin Najaka during today's Legislative Finance Committee hearing in Santa Fe. They were not disappointed.
"Today I'm able to head back to my membership and tell them, 'Yes, after years of AFSCME and our legislative allies sounding the alarm on dangerously low wages, the State Personnel Office has responded to the crisis we're living in,'" said Ortega. "By proposing to raise CO wages, SPO has done something positive which can make officers, inmates, and the general public safer."
The New Mexico state correctional system has been struggling with dangerously high vacancy levels inside our prisons which are expected to reach maximum capacity in early 2016.
SPO Director Najaka presented the administration's plan which calls for around 6,000 state employees to receive wage adjustments by establishing new and competitive minimum salary levels. Najaka said SPO intends to propose a compensation reform package effecting the remainder of state employees next year.
Najaka said that once "new minimum salary ranges are established, the lowest paid workers could see double digit raises."
Final wage increases will take into account employees' experience levels and years of service. Specific percentages were.....
New Mexico's Future Well-Being Depends on Changing Compensation System Today
Commentary by State Senator Pete Campos (D-Las Vegas)
High demands, long hours and low wages are taking their toll on our New Mexico public employees, especially those working in health, child protective services and correctional facilities. The well-being and safety of our friends, neighbors and fellow New Mexicans, as well as the well-being of those they serve throughout the state, are in jeopardy, and we must heed their cries for help.
Senator Pete Campos listens and responds to AFSCME member concerns at an emotional October meeting in Las Vegas. Also pictured: NM House Representative Tomas Salazar, D-Las Vegas.
The New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute at Las Vegas is the only state-owned and -operated psychiatric hospital in New Mexico. Employees care for more than 300 New Mexico residents with a variety of needs, including adult and adolescent psychiatric care; life-long term care; competency evaluations and treatment for patients who have allegedly committed a felony; and outpatient restorative services. However, position vacancy rates are at nearly 30%, leaving the facility severely understaffed, and turnover is high.
To maintain the required staff levels, employees can be mandated to work up to four 16-hour shifts in a week. Many employees work 72 hours a week. Their families suffer,.....
Deep Learning! Laws harming working families are not passed because they make sense for society as a whole. Benefitting only the masters of capitalism, they're written into law thanks to well-funded misinformation campaigns, the propagation of fear, and a divisive jingoism.
Opposition to organized labor is well funded and constantly on the attack against the workers' movement. They're so good at it too. So good, in fact, that many Americans believe their case for eliminating prevailing wages, passing scam "right to work" laws, or eliminating the minimum wage.
Regardless how well crafted, reasonable and appealing their Trojan Horses appear, every challenge and strategic battle that ends up reducing workers' rights has hastened the decline of Western civilization and led to the growth of a societal cancer, inequality.
CLICK below to read an important piece from one of our nation's highly respected and professional writers.
The Decline of Labor, the Increase of Inequality
"...If, in subsequent years, union membership numbers don’t increase dramatically, workers' paychecks aren’t likely to increase very much either. Between the end of the Second World War and the early 1970s, the American labor movement was one of the reliable signposts that defined the parameters of American life. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that these signposts of our culture, economics, and politics are continually fading, even as we assume they will remain planted deeply in our social soil..." READ MORE!
AFSCME Workers at New Mexico State Psychiatric Hospital Launch Petition Demanding Plan of Action to Address Grave Safety Concerns
Las Vegas Behavioral Health Institute (NMBHI) employees gathered at their union hall Wednesday for the second time in a month demanding attention to 30% vacancy levels at NMBHI and associated safety and client service concerns resulting from the regiment of crippling overtime.
Las Vegas Local 1380 members, NMBHI employees invite you to join them in demanding a plan, [L to R] - Tommy Jaramillo, Patrick Espinoza, Donna Montaño, Adam Chavarria (Local President), Richard Archuleta (Local VP)
NMBHI is the state’s main psychiatric hospital where employees care for over 300 New Mexico citizens requiring all types of psychiatric care; including forensic division for felony offenders, adult and adolescent psychiatric care, life-long term care, and community based services.
The decision to circulate a petition and go public with concerns was made by AFSCME Local 1380 members at a September meeting after the Department of Health proved unresponsive to employee concerns. At the heart of issue is the 72 hour work week and unacceptably high vacancy rates harming staff and the delivery of client care at NMBHI.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, New Mexico Council 18, representing 46 Local unions across the state, has concluded its biennial convention. Held in Albuquerque at the United Association Local 412 Plumbers and Pipefitters hall, AFSCME also celebrates its 40th anniversary in New Mexico this year.
Local 624, Albuquerque blue collar, transit and water authority, was a founding local for AFSCME in New Mexico, chartered in August of 1970, shortly prior to a wildcat strike which turned violent and involved police riot squads. Flash forward to 2015, AFSCME now represents law enforcement and other public safety employees.
The convention convenes once every two years when AFSCME Council 18 delegates from all its local unions gather to elect its leaders, attend workshops, and hear from its local and national leadership and community leaders.
AFSCME Member Activists from Western U.S. and Hawaii Gather in Albuquerque for AFSCME Strong "Coaches" Training
In 2014, AFSCME New Mexico led the Western region for the AFSCME Stronger! campaign effort by signing up 1,700+ new union members and moving veteran members to action.
That's why on Friday and Saturday, June 25, 26 three dozen AFSCME members and activists from across New Mexico and Western States, including Hawaii, gathered in the AFSCME Lujan Union Hall in Albuquerque for the first in its series of two-day intensive action trainings. The AFSCME Stronger! Coaches training has been developed to give activists the skills necessary to build an active union membership, and share the vision that workers are Stronger Together!
Connie Derr, executive director of Council 18, opened the training with a message on the urgency of what's at stake for workers in our country in general, and New Mexico specifically. "New Mexico union members won major victories this year with the defeat of scam right to work legislation and other anti-workers measures. Now is the time to step it up because our adversaries are throwing everything they've got at us.
"AFSCME and the labor movement are the strongest, most effective voices for working people in America," said Sister Derr. "These battles aren't always a joy, but they're necessary. Attacks against good wages, rights at work, retirement security; these attacks are as personal as they get. AFSCME is dedicated to winning these battles."
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.
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.
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.
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.
FREE and FUN May Day events begin tonight in Santa Fe.
May first marks a working class holiday celebrated since ancient times around the world. May Day originated in Europe as a festive holy day to celebrate the end of winter and the return of the sun and fertility of the soil.
Our modern version of May Day as a working class holiday evolved from the struggle for the eight hour work day. May 1, 1886 saw national strikes in the United States and Canada for an eight hour day called by the Knights of Labor. Clashes between police and striking workers resulted in many deaths. In Paris in 1889 the International Working Men’s Association declared May 1st a holiday to commemorate those who died in their fight for workers rights.
TONIGHT in Santa Fe: Join in the gala opening for the Santa Fe Labor Film Festival and watch the major motion picture: Cesar Chavez: gala begins at 5:00 PM, 1420 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe.
Festival events are happening all weekend and are completely free for AFSCME members.
For more info: go to SantaFeLaborFilmFestival.com. All events take place at Center for Progress and Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe
New Mexico Voice of Labor Radio "SF Labor Film Festival Segment" LISTEN online: show originally aired on KABQ 1350AM Progressive Talk Radio
International Workers' Day Picnic and Play Day, Saturday May 2nd
What a year in the fight for immigrants' rights and workers' justice! This year, El CENTRO is going to celebrate May Day a bit differently than previous years, with an informal picnic and play day with our members to celebrate our victories, share a picnic and play together (volleyball, pick-up soccer, frisbee, tug-of-war etc..!). As a member and/or ally of El CENTRO, please join us and free to take your members and families.
WHAT: International Workers' Day Picnic and Play-Day
WHEN: May 2nd, from 11am-2 pm
WHERE: ABQ, Roosevelt Park (Coal and Spruce SE)
We will give away hotdogs, and invite you to bring a dish to share, bring something to grill (feel free to bring a gas grill or you can use ours), and bring your blankets, chairs, and games (balls, frisbees etc....)
Internationally Acclaimed ‘Shadows of Liberty’ Documentary to Make NM Debut at the Santa Fe Labor Film Festival Sunday 5/3 and Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice on Monday 5/4
On MONDAY, MAY 4, at 7:30 PM at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice (202 Harvard SE, Albuquerque, NM, 87106) the Shadows of Liberty Coast to Coast Screening & Media Reform Action Tour will come to town for a special screening sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, Central New Mexico Labor Council, Central New Mexico Move to Amend, Common Cause New Mexico, DocFactory, KUNM 89.9 FM, the Southwest Organizing Project, and Veterans for Peace.
Santa Fe Labor Film Festival screens Shadows of Liberty Sunday May 3 at 5:00 PM at the Center for Progress and Justice.
Shadows of Liberty is dedicated to the journalists and information freedom fighters, the heroes of our time, who dedicate their lives to our right to freedom of information - the central pillar of a free society. Shadows of Liberty provides a platform for voices that have been silenced and in doing so, attempts to inspire change and accountability. This film champions the idea of an independent media where truth and integrity are the norm, not the exception.
Whoever heard of Democrats ambushing a plan to invest public money on programs supporting working people? Elected leaders missed the game winning field goal and a chance to put people to work when the sensible capital outlay bill was botched this legislative session.
Media outlets are claiming Senate Bill 159, containing $264 million in shovel ready public works funding, fell victim to partisan brinksmanship. The fact is, New Mexico Senators voted 40-0 for the bill with every single Republican voting yes. That should clue us in that darker political motives were responsible for the bill’s demise. SB159 would’ve created thousands of jobs and built or refurbished our state’s vital infrastructure.
The investment represented a shot in the arm which our sluggish economy needed to jump into a higher gear.
Crafted in a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation by New Mexico’s Senate, the bill was strategically derailed by Governor Martinez and her loyal, staunchly anti-worker House GOP at a time when citizens are hungry to see the recession disappear in our rearview mirror. Read more >>>
The right-to-work scam was voted down by the pro-worker majority on the New Mexico Senate Public Affairs Committee - a huge victory for labor and community activists.
SANTA FE, New Mexico – The right-to-work scam was voted down by the pro-worker majority on the New Mexico Senate Public Affairs Committee, a huge victory for labor and community activists who were speaking out against the controversial proposal in public hearings, rallies and town hall meetings.
By blocking the measure, the committee took a giant step toward saving New Mexico’s economy, and reaffirmed the importance of workers’ fundamental right to join together to advocate for better working conditions.
This legislative session marks the first time the right-to-work scam was introduced in New Mexico since 1979 and 1981. In both years, then-Gov. Bruce King vetoed bills passed by the Democratic-controlled Legislatures. The current governor, Susana Martinez, a Republican, supports the legislation.
Labor and community groups will continue working together to support a “Ready to Work” package of bills creating more than 70,000 new jobs. The package includes funding for job training, local roads and highway jobs to improve infrastructure, and investment in schools by providing them with the necessary tools to prepare children to be part of a 21st century workforce.
The safest and most electric place to be in New Mexico today was at AFSCME Council 18's 6th Annual Public Safety Blue Breakfast, in Santa Fe.
More than 70 public safety officers from around New Mexico, including state and county adult and juvenile corrections officers and probation and parole officers, University campus police, municipal police officers, and municipal and regional 911 dispatchers, came to the state's capitol to network, share information, hear from experts in the public safety field, then lobby their elected officials at the state's Roundhouse.
The theme of this ever-growing annual legislative event was, "The Public Safety Life: Finding Balance in a High Stakes, High Stress Profession".
Presenters included Dr. Troy Rogers, a clinical psychologist with an expertise in police psychology and law-enforcement, and PORAC Legal Defense Fund Plan Administer Ed Fishman and PORAC trustee and police officer Kerry Condon. AFSCME International's assistant director of research and collective-bargaining, Mike Messina, presented on national trends and federal legislation affecting public safety.
"There were several new locals who attended today, which is a great indicator that...
Relations had grown chilly between Union Detention Officers and Management at Bernalillo County Metro Detention Center over the past year and a half. On January 5, New Mexico Second Judicial Court’s Judge Malott agreed with AFSCME Officers, saying that management actions had “left the union voiceless,” and ordered the county back to the negotiations table with the union.
Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center Officers believe County Manger Zdunek has back-room engineered a retaliation campaign against 420 (mostly union) detention officers after they won a July 2014 prohibited practice complaint against management for unilaterally changing the shift bidding process.
MDC Detention Officers of AFSCME Local 2499 have protections in their contract giving them rights to bid over the posts they work and a choice of when to schedule their weekends with family.
The problems began in March 2014 when MDC management circulated a chart dictating what posts each employee would be assigned to in violation of a 2013 memorandum of understanding with the union.
Local 2499 President and MDC Lieutenant Stephen Perkins said, “Management and the union had already struck an agreement on how officers could bid for posts and days off. It had been working well for 18 months. In March, all that went out the window for no operational purpose.”
Believing that the unilateral change was a violation of the officers bargaining rights, the local took the dispute before the Bernalillo County Labor Board who ruled in the union’s favor and directed the county to return to the negotiations table. That is when the real retaliation began according to union members.
The county ignored the board’s order and never sat down to negotiate changes to the shift bid process. Instead, the county doubled down....read on, click below
Congratulations AFSCME membership of Locals 624, 2962, and 1888!
After a five year struggle, Albuquerque city employees have a NEW contract. The new agreement guarantees them a long overdue raise without sacrificing any workplace rights so vital to a career in public service.
Members from all three Locals began lining up to vote today at six a.m., with the final voters running in with less than a minute left to cast their ballot.
"We're proud of the way the membership has been willing to fight all these years. The sacrifices we made to hang onto our rights were substantial, but in the end, not only have city employees carried the day, public services won as well." - Deb Rainaldi, President Local 2962, Clerical / Technical Employees
"We refused to be bullied or bought off. We also give credit to several of our city councilors who stood by our side in this fight for workers' rights." - Tomas Romero, President Local 1888, City Security Employees*"
"This is an example of how when we stick together, the members can win. AFSCME members don't back down" - Casey Padilla, President Local 624 - Blue Collar / Transit employees
"Because of the strength and commitment demonstrated by the three locals, all AFSCME members stand taller, not only in New Mexico but across the country. In the fight for workers' rights, AFSCME never backs down. Council 18 staff representative Rocky Gutierrez and Chief Legal Council Shane Youtz deserve a lot of credit as they were instrumental in this process." - Connie Derr, AFSCME Council 18 Executive Director
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.'
Following a multi year campaign by AFSCME members at New Mexico Department of Transportation, wages have been increased for some personnel. Career employees who were earning below the midpoint in their salary range have received up to a 10% raise intended to bring them up to midpoint.
New Mexico State Government's compensation structure has been lagging behind surrounding states for years at most every agency.
Until recently, the Martinez administration had only addressed that problem by hiring new workers at an inflated and higher rate of pay.
While this solution works just fine for those entering public service for the first time, it's been responsible for a huge decline in morale among career public employees.
While new employees are recruited using a "temporary recruitment differential", the state personnel board rarely approved "retention differentials" for the men and women who have dedicated their careers to New Mexico.
The result, veteran snow plow driver of 15+ years can be training a new green employees just out of school who earns 3-4 dollars more an hour.
NMDOT employees appreciate the move which put extra money into their pockets beginning December 26, 2014.
Thousands of other state employees are living under the same scenario. From CYFD to Corrections, AFSCME members continue to speak out and demand their agencies respect the work AND the worker, by compensating them fairly for longevity and experience!
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.
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 >>>
Communication channels between the State and AFSCME continue to bottleneck at State Personnel. During the October State Personnel Board meeting, AFSCME Council President Patrick Gutierrez and Executive Director Connie Derr protested the slow pace of the disbursements and urged the board to prioritize the work.
Personnel Director Najaka indicated that the calculations were proving more complex than initially thought, and that a schedule for running more special payrolls would be posted in early November.
A special payroll was run on October 30th, but not announced in advance. Dates stretching into 2015 have been floated, but a schedule for those payrolls effecting approx 6,000 current and former state employees was not published as promised.
Out of patience, member driven protests are popping up across New Mexico. Click HERE to watch KVIA El Paso coverage of Southern New Mexico Union Employees taking their grievances to the street.
One question was answered, IF you received a check stub that detailed a lump sum payment, BUT DID NOT receive the actual check, send your SHARE ID number and a note to email@example.com
Further, a smorgasboard of requests for detailed information on the back pay remain unanswered.
HOW MANY, and WHICH employees have received checks?
WHO are employees to contact if they suspect a mistake has been made?
WHEN will employees without SHARE ID numbers confirm they're eligibility for a check?
WHAT are the dates for running special payrolls, or
WHAT is the contractors estimated time frame to complete calculations?
Membership calls have been mounting, demanding AFSCME Council 18 take the Governor back to court and seek sanctions and enforcement orders. Despite the globally felt frustration over the delays, AFSCME's legal team continues to believe that a court action would be lost, result in significant delay, and only allow State attorneys to break out the red tape. This could change in an instant if AFSCME learns that checks have been deliberately delayed for political or retaliatory reasons. Incompetence on the administrations part is not strong enough grounds for a court order
AFSCME has Inspection of Public Records Requests pending regarding details of the back pay issue and the contractor who was hired to validate the calculations. Through that information we hope to discover where the hold ups lie.
Please contact AFSCME if you hear a rumor or substantial information regarding distribution of the back pay AND continue to contact the Governor's Office (505) 476-2200, and State Personnel Legal Counsel (505) 476-7759 to request answers to questions we've posed above.
Council 18 hears your calls, and shares your deep frustration. Help us keep the heat on.
AFSCME New Mexico began the work to build a more effective communications and political action team on November 15 at the Ben and Carmen Lujan Union Hall.
The training was lead by Josh Anderson, AFSCME 18 Political Coordinator, and Miles Conway, Communications and Mobilizations coordinators. Members were joined by ABQ City Councilors Diane Gibson and Isaac Benton, and NM House Rep Christine Trujllo who acted as trainers to help members learn effective lobbying techniques.
The workshop [ELITE Level 2, Part 1] focused on building workplace and political power through effective modern and traditional communications tools. From the water cooler to cyberspace, workers must get their message our there to win the Day!
The workshop is offered twice a year in Albuquerque, but options are available for Locals to host the workshop in your region, just contact AFSCME by EMAIL to schedule a training for your local or region.
Political Action, Email, Social Media, Online Activism; in some form or another, it is all here to stay. Every New Mexico Local is called upon to identify a designated politcal and communications point of contact and help get them involved in the ELITE series trainings.
We're building a green communication machine in preparation for the 2015 legislative session and beyond.
The communications section of the training reviewed numerous methods by which local unions can communicate with the membership to keep them informed, the ability to inform members and mobilize to action in short notice, reach non-members and move them to membership status, and many other purposes.
The political action section of the training focused on lobbying our electeds -- the how, when, why, where, and substance of the conversations. Lobbying takes place at every level of government where we have members -- with boards of regents and presidents of universities, with city and county governments, and with statewide electeds.
There were no dates given at Friday's State Personnel Board meeting for when the presses would be up and running to print the remaining 6,000 back pay checks owed to NM Union State Employees. SPO Director Justin Najaka expected to post a schedule for running more batches of checks by next week.
No word on how many batches might be necessary or whether the Governor had on her radar what has become the "back pay fiasco" of the decade.
Pictured is AFSCME Council President Patrick Gutierrez, Local 477 President Cathy Townes, and Council 18 Trustee Tirizio Lopez outside the State Personnel Office, Oct 24, 2014.
Also attending and commenting at today's State Personnel Board were Council 18 staff, Local 477 (SF Area) and 1211 (ABQ Area) leaders and membership.
AFSCME Council Executive Director Connie Derr said, "There has been no rhyme or reason to the methods used in the distribution of the checks. To correct the record, AFSCME offered to distribute the checks early on in the process and that offer was refused."
Council President Patrick Gutierrez added, "the state asked the union to share the updates and target dates with membership, but when this turns out to be misinformation, it make us out to be the liars."
One high level state manager, who wished to remain anonymous, told AFSCME that BDO USA, LLP., the powerhouse east coast company hired to validate the calculations, was grinding the process to a crawl.
The manager said BDO, who is being paid over $2 Million for their work...
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.
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."
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!
On Wednesday, Oct 1, the United States District Court for New Mexico reprimanded Mayor Berry’s Administration for wrongly attempting to delay justice for Albuquerque’s City Workers by removing from state court AFSCME’s petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO).
AFSCME’s emergency restraining order was filed September 20, 2014 to prevent the Administration from continuing to implement their last contract offer on Albuquerque City Employees.
AFSCME contends that the Administration bargained in bad faith to impasse, that the contract they’ve imposed causes irreparable harm to workers, and that the Administration lacks the legal right under Albuquerque’s Labor Management Relations Ordinance (LMRO) to implement such changes to the contract.
The Federal Court ordered the case back to New Mexico’s Second Judicial District Court and placed sanctions on the City for “ignorance of New Mexico law,” meaning, Albuquerque taxpayers will pay for the Administration’s sloppy legal activity by covering AFSCME’s attorney fees.
The TRO could be heard in state court as early as Thursday, 10/2/14.
Read on for Excerpts from Federal Court Order today and the complete Order....
On Friday, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) filed for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and permanent injunction in response to the City unilaterally imposing their last contract offer on three AFSCME Locals.
“By imposing the city’s last contract offer the City stands to inflict irreparable harm onto Blue Collar, Transit, Clerical, and City Security employees by robbing them of several basic workplace rights. ABQ Mayor Berry, CAO Perry, and the management consultant, John Martinez, have buried their head in the sand to the time-honored practice of contract dispute resolution: arbitration,” said Connie Derr, AFSCME NM Executive Director.
On Monday, the City claimed that AFSCME’s TRO petition has raised a federal question and moved the case to U.S. District Court. Union attorneys strongly claim there is no federal question, and the City’s move is only an attempt to delay and obfuscate the matter.
“There is no federal question,” says AFSCME chief counsel Shane Youtz. AFSCME will file today to have the case remanded to state court.
Message From Connie Derr, Executive Director, AFSCME Council 18
Today, City of Albuquerque Mayor Berry showed his contempt for city employees by imposing the city’s last, best contract offer. While the city’s last offer includes AFSCME’s hard-fought 3% increase for city employees in AFSCME locals 624 blue collar and transit, 2962 clerical and 1888 security, it eliminates many fundamental worker rights.
KOB Coverage:Union representatives: Raise long-overdue, process may have been illegal
ABQ Journal: Mayor announces raises after years long impasse
The primary attacks on workers’ rights --
1.) the city can now fill a vacancy by an outside applicant over a city employee;
2.) The language allows the city to bring discipline against an employee regardless of when the alleged activity occurred;
3.) The city no longer will have to inform an employee when he/she is placed under investigation – is extremely dangerous for all city workers. The administration is now able to target any employee and build a case for termination, regardless of when the act occurs. The city’s language disregards the value that city of Albuquerque employees bring to their job day in and day out.
To now give outside applicants the same preference as a city employee is a disservice to the taxpayers, the public services we provide and most certainly, to city employees.
By taking the action to impose their last, best offer, the Mayor, CAO Perry and the over-paid management consultant, John Martinez, have buried their head in the sand to the time-honored practice of contract dispute resolution: arbitration.
Arbitration allows a neutral, third party to decide contract disputes. The city’s action of unilateral imposition of a contract is NOT collective bargaining. Clearly, the administration must realize that if they agreed to arbitration, their contract could not be justified and therefore took the position of a bully and imposed the contracts on our three unions.
Brothers and Sisters – let’s appear en masse at Monday’s City Council meeting, at 5:00pm, to let our elected officials see and hear us. Let’s tell them that we deserve our wage increase, but do not deserve having our workplace rights stripped from us.
We must ask them to support contract impasse arbitration now!! And also call KOAT-TV 7, KRQE-TV 13, and KOB-TV 4. Whether you are a city worker or not, tell them that you support the 3% wage increase, but do not support Mayor Berry stripping public employee workers of their deserved rights.
Together we must STAND UP for workers’ rights!! We will not be bullied by Mayor Berry, Rob Perry or this administration.
Enough is enough!
In solidarity, Connie Derr, Executive Director
AFSCME Council 18
Jayne Brown is AFSCME NM Volunteer Member Organizer of the Month!
Talking "union" is a skill that every AFSCME steward and activist must possess to build strength for their Local by educating membership on our issues. We wish there had been a microphone recording AFSCME Sister Jayne Brown for the past month, because she is on a roll. In the past month, Jayne, a Financial Analyst for NM Human Services, has signed up a dozen new AFSCME members for her Santa Fe Regional State Local 477.
We asked for her secrets of organizing success.
"I have two more signing up this week, said Brown. "I go speak with the workers whenever I have time. I introduce myself as their steward and talk with them about how, working together, we can help make the workplace better. I make sure to tell them about the events we hold. Being active in the union isn't only about facing the battles for workplace justice, we have fun when we celebrate as a community."
"I make sure new members understand our history of representation and political victories, and how we act as a union to stand with our brothers and sisters in other Locals, other unions, and the community," says Brown.
Congratulations and THANK YOU to Organizer of the Month, Union Sister Jayne Brown for taking ACTION, and building AFSCME Stronger!
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 22.214.171.124) 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!
It is time the Governor put her PAY-PLAN Team on mandatory O/T, just as many other state employees are assigned every week. A higher priority is warranted. Checks must be calculated and mailed.
Govenror Martinez broke her long silence on the back pay issue on KOAT news CLICK HERE. Notabley, the Governor says, "It's extremely complicated."
Mandatory overtime and worked weekends are becoming the norm due in many sectors of state government due to high vacancies and huge workloads. AFSCME sees no reason that the Governor should not call on the skilled pay-plan team at SPO, DFA, and DoIT to increase its hours on the project.
Higher urgency is warranted to pay off the substantial balance owed to New Mexico's career public servants.
The Union Members of AFSCME have won in NM’s highest court. Over 10,000 of New Mexico’s finest public servants and / or their families, must be paid back now.
New Mexico Taxpayers are picking up the bill for politicians across New Mexico who opt to hire for-profit consultants to negotiate labor agreements in place of human resource departments who are traditionally tasked with the job.
Public human resource bureaus and in-house legal teams have an incentive to reach collective bargaining agreements with unions; getting employees back to work with the knowledge of their terms, conditions, and benefits of employment.
The for-profit consultants now in vogue all the way from Taos to Hidalgo County have no motivation to conclude negotiations. While State, city and county management, and school boards argue that taxpayers are getting a good value for their money, the facts fail to back it up.
“The longer negotiations drag out, the higher their billable hours stack up,” said Miles Conway, AFSCME NM Communications at last nights Albuquerque City Council meeting. “That is a disincentive to reach agreement.”
Management Associates Inc., by far the most popular labor relations company operating in New Mexico, has contracts for labor management relations with State, County, and Municipal Governments and School Boards across New Mexico.
City of Albuquerque
100 AFSCME Union Members showed up to last night’s Albuquerque City Council meeting to demonstrate their frustration with Management Associates’ and the Berry Administration’s handling of the collective bargaining agreements.
City Council has approved a total of 6% in wage increases...
For over half a decade, AFSCME has continued to wage the battle for New Mexico State Employees to receive justice and be awarded back pay promised in their union contract.
For four years, Governor Martinez has spent massive amounts of taxpayer money fighting against, appealing, and delaying that justice.
By refusing to communicate openly on the back pay award, and what delays state employees could expect, Susana Martinez has shown her disrespect toward the workers who provide the public services taxpayers expect and deserve.
AFSCME is pleased to share with you this statement from our endorsed candidate for Governor, Attorney General Gary King. Attorney General King follows the progress of Labor in New Mexico closely. He understands our issues and makes a pledge to stand with us, as we stand with him, to be New Mexico's next Governor.
Read his message to AFSCME members, then click on the link below and find out how you can help Gary King, Deb Haaland, and Labor's 'Warriors for the Working Class' win their elections and take OUR New Mexico forward!
- August 15, 2014
"I know how hard you work for our state, the dedication you show every day to deliver public services and keep our state running, especially during tough times when resources are scarce.
I also understand the frustration every public employee feels at having a Governor who won't communicate with you and won't demonstrate the level of respect you deserve for your chosen career in public service.
That is why, as your Governor, it will be my priority on day one to settle the back pay issue and get public employees the money they're legally owed.
Just as important, unlike Governor Susana Martinez, I'll communicate with public employees, so you'll know what progress is being made.
I pledge to sit down anew with the unions representing state employees, find common ground, and negotiate contracts in good faith.
There is too much uncertainty in New Mexico these days. With my leadership, you can be certain to have a governor that respects what you do, and understands the true value and power of team work."
Attorney General Gary King
Candidate for New Mexico Governor
Click Here (PDF) for info on Labor 2014 and make your pledge to help elect candidates who understand and support Labor!
This August, AFSCME Local 624 Celebrates 44 Years of Justice, 44 Years of Balancing the POWER between management and frontline workers, 44 Years of building a CONTRACT that protects the dignity of a career with the City of Albuquerque.
It's a tradition under attack, and we need every AFSCME Sister and Brother to TAKE ACTION!
The stakes could not be higher as the Berry Administration continues to wage all-out war on the rights' of union workers, and the rights' of working class Albuquerque.
It's a distraction.
The attack on Labor is not saving taxpayers a penny. Rather, it has cost tax payers millions, as Berry uses City lawyers to fight no-win situation arbitrations, hires for-profit union busting consultants, and continues to outsource good paying city jobs to the lowest bidders.
Attend the City Council Meeting on August 18th, 4:30 pm. Demonstrate to City Council that our contract matters, our workplace rights matter.
After 4 years of ZERO raises and ZERO respect, the Berry Administration should cease wasting tax payer money on their attacks against labor. Settle the contract, call off the lawyers, and let's get back to the task of healing our city.CLICK HERE for the Flyer
On July 23, AFSCME New Mexico roared into the south by winning two union elections, one in Grant County and one in Roswell, NM.
The first election, conducted by the New Mexico Public Employee Labor Relations Board (PELRB) via a mail in ballot, saw Corre Camino, the Grant County Public Transit drivers voting to form their union by a wide margin of victory.
Second, in a private sector victory, Roswell Superior Ambulance EMS workers voted UNANIMOUSLY to join AFSCME and begin to negotiate their union contract. The National Labor Relations Board conducted the two day election.
AFSCME Council 18 organizers were joined by national organizing staff, Iva Jo Peters who worked with the EMS crew to form a strong internal organizing committee.
2014 marks 30 years since Taos County took over the regions EMS services. AFSCME Local 1193 has 13 full-time EMS professionals who, along with support staff and other EMS part time crew members, remain on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
There are certain things that an emergency medical technician (EMT) cannot be trained to learn. Some skills you’re born with. The ability to walk into chaotic situations where people’s lives are on the line while remaining cool and collected, that is one.
The Taos County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers walk into these situations everyday. AFSCME Council 18 was invited along for a ride-along earlier in 2014 when EMTs Dewey Shields and David Varela entered a house full of family members shouting information, three or four dogs as nervous as the family members, and of course the patient, an elderly family matron who needed to get to a hospital immediately.
AFSCME Taos County Local 1193 EMT’s Varela and Shields have 34 years of experience between them. They quickly stabilized and began communicating with the patient to get....read more
Yesterday, on a gorgeous northern New Mexico day, the blue and white collar employees in the Town of Taos voted to organize with AFSCME Council 18. The election, conducted by New Mexico Public Employee Labor Relations Board (PELRB) Executive Director, Thomas Griego, concluded at 1:00pm on July 10, with over 80% of the eligible employees voting. By 2:00pm, the Town of Taos employees had a union when AFSCME was declared the winner.
Barring any challenges, which are not expected due to a high voter turnout and wide margin of victory, the new union of Town of Taos employees will be certified by the PELRB on August 5.
The town employees had a strong organizing committee. Elias Padilla, an electrician with the town and a key member of the committee, said, “We’re feeling good about winning the election to form our union with AFSCME. A lot of people wanted the union. There are benefits we have now that should be written into a contract, and some benefits we’ve lost over the years that we can work toward reclaiming through the union.”
Council 18 Staff Representative Chris Armijo led the campaign and was elated with the results. "With a few minor exceptions, this was a very positive campaign, which bodes well for the collective bargaining relationship this new AFSCME local union will have with the new town administration."
The organizing committee was supported by AFSCME’s Taos-area activists including Taos County Local 1193 President Rebecca Parraz and members David Martinez and Rachel Romero, Erica Parraz, and Northern State Employees Local 2890 President Tony Barajas.
Council 18 President Patrick Gutierrez, who served as AFSCME’s election observer, noted, “you could see the excitement and pride as workers came in to vote. This is an exciting day for Taos working families.”
"The workers' victory today comes on the heels of Santa Fe County Detention Officers' voting overwhelmingly to join AFSCME (on June 12)," said Council 18 Executive Director Connie Derr. "By organizing with AFSCME, the working conditions and benefits for
Taxpayers Foot the Bill for Advise from Management Consultant
For more than three years, San Miguel County scheduled its officers at the County Detention Center to regular rotations of on-call duty, but without pay. On July 9, the practice, which violates the Fair Labor Standards Act, cost the county -- and its taxpayers -- close to $70,000.
AFSCME Council 18, which represent San Miguel County Public Safety, including the officers at the facility, objected to the practice and requested to negotiate a policy that would be in compliance with the FLSA. Dina Holcomb, a principle partner in Management Associates, served as the county's lead contract negotiator and refused to bargain on the issue, insisting the county was not obligated to pay the employees for an on-call assignment. On-call is a practice where an employee is required to be available to return to work as needed on their time off.
Last Year, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of
Detention Center is 3rd Santa Fe County Group to Choose AFSCME
In a testament to the adage that workers in a tough job need a tough union, the 100+ corrections employees at the Santa Fe County Detention Facility voted to organize with AFSCME Council 18. The two-day election concluded at 7:00pm on June 12 and by 8:00pm, AFSCME was declared the winner.
The new unit joins SF Co Detention Medical Support Staff, who voted to join AFSCME earlier in the year.
The unit, consisting of detention officers in the adult and juvenile facilities, corporals, sergeants, booking clerks, teachers, therapists, case managers, electronic monitoring officers, and life skills workers, had been represented by the New Mexico Coalition of Public Safety Officers, a small independent association with a handful of public safety bargaining units. The workers sought AFSCME representation after the association repeatedly made decisions affecting the employees but without their knowledge or input.
“The management of the detention center were very 'hands-on' in this election,” said Connie Derr, executive director of AFSCME Council 18, “which is a clear violation of the Public Employee Bargaining Act. We raised our concerns on several occasions with the county administration, but they made no attempt to rectify the matter. Instead of filing formal labor board charges, AFSCME and the organizing committee knew there was enough support to win the election outright. And that is exactly how it turned out.”
New Mexico State Personnel Office (SPO) has launched a page of resources on their website for state employees to determine their eligibility for the back pay. Here is some of the latest news:
1. The Hourly adjustments due to appear on June 27 paycheck have NOT been frozen. Phase one implementation is on track.
2. Department of Finance Adminstration (DFA) is in the process of choosing an AUGUST date for an OFF-CYCLE payroll to issue the lump sum checks. DFA expects the checks will be direct deposited or issued via paper checks just like employees would normally expect. DFA has pledged to TELL US when the August date is picked.
DFA reports that the delay from the previously expected July date is due to close out work of FY14 which necessitated pushing the date back slightly.
The state has mapped out an appeal process to address issues where employees received ZERO pay adjustment, but not a process when calculation mistakes occur.
AFSCME continues to work with SPO on how those calculation appeals should take place. For now, AFSCME encourages members to work with their HR bureaus, obtain their payroll history reports, and communicate with State Personnel by email. Phone calls are unlikely to be returned.
While most NM State Employees are spotting their raises in SHARE, the implementation is also promising to generate quite a few headaches as the state and AFSCME struggle to make sure everything goes according to plan.
The fight for AFSCME members to receive the CORRECT amounts in back pay will continue. Beginning on June 7, State of New Mexico AFSCME represented employees who worked for the state, and were off probation, in or prior to fiscal year 2009 should have begun earning a higher hourly rate of pay. This is to comply with the Supreme Court ruling confirming NM State Personnel had underpaid the union raise in that year. The new hourly rate will show up on the June 27 paychecks.
After waffling over the ruling for months, Governor Martinez put her pay plan team together and it seemed things were moving along smoothly. The state even spent millions hiring one of the country's largest east coast accounting firms, BDO, to handle to overwhelmingly complex calculations.
Now, a few days into the new pay period, state employees are able to log into the SHARE system and view their new hourly pay rates. For most the news is good and, as expected, hourly rates have gone up between .13 and .50 cents an hour.
However, for many, the pay hasn't risen at all, or has gone up by a pittance of one or two cents an hour. AFSCME and state employees identified the trouble a mile away, when members supposed to receive back pay were not appearing on a preliminary list of eligibles.
AFSCME is doing a huge amount of the state's work for them by explaining the back pay process to employees. AFSCME staff are literally taking thousands of phone calls from union and non union workers to go through a list of questions and determine if a state employee is eligible for the back pay. AFSCME is only able to "ball park" what percentage they might expect their hourly pay to go up by..
Often, after going through the list of frequently asked questions, the employee needs more information to determine why they are not on the list for back pay. This is where things really come off the rails. READ more...
What if you spent at least $125 an hour for a labor negotiator who billed you for two years but never settled any contract disputes?
You would be a New Mexico taxpayer.
Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration hired an Albuquerque company, Management Associates Inc., to head the state’s negotiating team in contract talks with employee unions.
No mention of Management Associates’ contract exists on the state’s Sunshine Portal, even though the website is supposed to contain public documents. But an open-records request turned up 75 pages of the company’s invoices. The total charges to taxpayers were more than $166,000, the records showed. The company’s payments were capped at $125,000 a year.
As the media directs public attention to the high profile battles at city hall, the real struggles of Albuquerque’s working men and women continue to be ignored. The majority of City workers have not seen a raise in over four years and it is possible that newly budgeted raises will fail to make it to their paychecks.
While news coverage heralds another year of raises for City employees, the untold story is that the Berry Administration could, once again, block raises for a majority of workers unless the union caves in and agrees to wholesale destruction of workplace rights.
The mayor has proposed a 1% increase in wages, and city council recently approved a 3% increase across the board. AFSCME staff representative and lead negotiator for ABQ city unions, Rocky Gutierrez says, “The way we see it, it threatens to be more of the same. They [Berry Administration] will aim to loc raises up in negotiations unless we give up the farm.”
The administration hasn’t stopped there. Even though Albuquerque’s budget picture has improved since the onset of the recession, the administration continues to turn the screw by imposing unnecessary and vindictive furlough days on lower paid city workers.
Social Media Policy Would Land ABQ City Employees in Unemployment Line for Tweets and Facebook Posts
We’ve grown to expect anti-worker policies and treatment at the hands of Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, but attacking Albuquerque City Employees’ 1st Amendment Rights is beyond the pale.
The Berry Administration launched a cannonball into the first amendment pool by proposing a policy threatening city employees (and prospective employees) for their social media activity. Essentially, through the city’s newly proposed social media policy, Mayor Berry demands the power to fire anyone who posts anything which “impairs harmony among co-workers.”
"The Berry Administration wants employees to have zero rights, their message is if you work for the City, you can't be an American." Casey Padilla, Executive Vice President of AFSCME Council 18 and President of Local 624, ABQ City Blue Collar Union.
Mayor Berry continues to have strangely high approval ratings, but now that his leadership has landed Albuquerque in a negative national spotlight, he’s making a move to limit exposure arises from the voice of people who know him best, ABQ City Employees.
As reported by Dan McKay in today’s ABQ Journal, sections of the new policy prohibit the use of “insulting, abusive or offensive communications,” whether the person is on or off duty.
Peter Simonson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, says the proposal isn’t legal and calls the proposal unconstitutionally vague.
On April 25, Council 18 filed yet another Prohibited Practices Complaint (PPC) against the State of New Mexico. This PPC is a result of the State’s recent refusal to provide to AFSCME the necessary information regarding our represented members.
For decades, the State of New Mexico complied with its statutory duty to provide the bargaining unit information to Council 18 so it can discharge their duty of fair representation.
The information includes names, positions, tool numbers, pay scale, home address, and worksite data, including all basic information for the union to be able to monitor its bargaining unit.
Now, the State decided to quit providing the information. “This is just another petty, mean-spirited action by the State,” said Connie Derr, executive director of AFSCME Council 18. “The State Personnel Office....
NM State Employees Expect Hourly Salary Adjustments June 7 Pay Period -
Lump Sum Back Pay Checks will Follow
Monday afternoon a crowd of AFSCME members and their families rallied through a light spring rain as the Governor's pay-plan team met with AFSCME leadership inside the Joseph Montoya Building in Santa Fe.
AFSCME local members had travelled from across the state to hear first hand how the state's "pay-plan team" was proposing to return tens of millions in back wages.
While AFSCME leadership met with the state, members marched outside with signs saying, “RESPECT”, “2106 Days - Back Pay”, and “Governor Martinez, STOP fighting Workers, Fight FOR Jobs.”
AFSCME's team emerged from the meeting as the rain cleared and made the welcome announcement that the Governor's team had concluded its work and, with the help of BDO USA, LLP, would execute ‘phase one’ of the back pay plan and increase current employees’ wages during the pay period beginning June 7. That means thousands of union state employees will see a bigger pay check on June 20, 2014.
Why They Fought -
Today's Labor Movement
MUST NOT Let Our Elders Down
An AFSCME, United Steelworkers, and IATSE led commemoration for the 60th Anniversary of Salt of the Earth [film] and 1952 victorious Empire Zinc Strike took place 3/15 in Grant County, New Mexico. While we have come far in the struggle for equality and workplace justice since the 1950's, the work is never done.
This wasn't your modern day informational picket line. This was a blood and guts struggle for basic rights and respect.
Mrs. Sierra fought to protect her people from tear gassing, shootings, and company sponsored violence. Ms Valencia was run down, literally, by a scab car on the day the company tried to break the women's picket line. Mr Flores worked in the mines and was a key activist in the struggle.
Women took over the picket line when Empire Zinc got a court injunction preventing the men from picketing. The women did not falter, eventually winning the two year strike.
Every union member should honor the sacrifice of those who came before us and dig deeper, find greater strength to be vocal and involved in today's battles.
Many Unions, the New Mexico Federation of Labor, and participating civic organizations took part on the 15th and paid tribute to the elders who are still with us and remained lifelong activists.
We honored the memory of miners passed, women, and families who stood up for equality and justice in, then segregated, Grant County NM.
Yesterday, two families lost their sons, and AFSCME lost two members from our Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility family in a vehicle rollover.
The young men were in the prime of there lives, and every AFSCME member sends out our hearts to the family and friends.
R.I.P. Noel Reyes and Jesus Felix.
Visitation: 4-9 p.m. Sunday, March 16, 2014
Vigil at 7:00 p.m. at Sunset Funeral Home-Americas (El Paso, Tx
Funeral Mass: 10:30 a.m., Monday, March 17, 2014 at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, El Paso, Tx. (Approx 1 hr drive from Las Cruces) Interment: Mount Carmel Cemetery.
Services entrusted to Sunset Funeral Home Americas.
Visitation & Vigil: 7:00 p.m. Sunday March 16, 2014 at Perches 'West' Funeral Home,6111 S. Desert Blvd, El Paso, Texas
Funeral : 9:00 a.m., Monday, March 17, 2014
6809 Third Street, Canutillo, TX
Interment: 11:30 AM @ Memory Gardens .
Services entrusted to Perches 'West' Funeral Home
New Mexico Department of Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel immediately sent in counselors to help shocked co-workers deal with the tragic news.
Send messages of support and condolences to the co-workers and families through Local 3422 President Patricia Martinez. firstname.lastname@example.org
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Thousands of state workers have said the state still owes them back pay -- as much as $50 million worth.
When the economy tanked in 2008, state salaries of more than 10,000 people were frozen and stayed that way for years. Those workers said they were promised that money and had the contracts to back up that sentiment.
Problems at CYFD are Nowhere Near as Simple
as Martinez Administration Tries to Make it Sound.
CYFD and HSD workers deal with some of the worst things society has to offer. Call after call, you may see children and adults who are living in very poor conditions, parents who are unable to provide affection and care for those children, drugs tearing families apart, children who have been hurt so badly that they will contend with lifelong emotional issues.
Deaths, shakings, abandonment, broken families, children crying, you name it, CYFD Investigators and support staff are facing it on a daily basis.
Lack of Appropriate Training
CYFD workers have their education, some social work experience, and then about 2-3 months of training. Most CYFD Investigators receive assignments before training has ended. The training itself covers little of the reality faced. Most workers come in with minimal real-world interviewing skills.
Children are not easy to interview. Neither are adults, especially when...
When will we get our back raises and retroactive pay? That is the question on everyone’s mind. Until recently, when retirees or former state employees called the State Personnel Office to ask about a time frame for pay back, SPO was giving out the cell phone number for AFSCME Communications.
Nothing would please AFSCME more than to have those answers.
Time is Flying By Governor!
On our last update, we reported that the ball was in AFSCME’s court, as Mike Messina, our Int'l Labor Economist, dissected the state’s math formula to see if all the right people were going to receive the correct amount of money.
Messina found some errors. After talking through the changes with staff of SPO and NM Department of Information Technology, the state has rewritten the computer code to correct the errors.
The State Pay-Pan Team will now retest the revised code, requiring several phases. Anyone familiar with the SHARE system won’t be surprised to hear that several glitches were encountered during the first round of testing.
AFSCME was told last in early February that additional staff have been assigned to work on the pay plan and that testing would be complete within a few weeks. As of 3/4/14, AFSCME has received no word from the pay-plan team
The ball is in the state’s court. As reported in the previous update....
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.
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.
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.
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.
Youth Care Specialists and Direct Service Employees in Protective Services First to See a Bump in Pay
It took over two years of constantly sounding the alarm, and in the end, a terrible tragedy thrust AFSCME Members' struggle into the public's eye.
CYFD investigators had been appearing before the State Personnel Board and passionately warning the Governor that CYFD investigators were understaffed, over-stressed, and drowning under huge numbers of caseloads.
In January 2013, AFSCME members brought a petition calling upon State Personnel and the Governor to address wage disparity, retention, and recruitment issues creating serious staffing, morale, and public safety concerns.
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.
Town Hall Meetings on Status of Back Pay Coming January 2014
On Wednesday, AFSCME attended a presentation by the State Personnel Office (SPO) and Department of Information Technology (DoIT) staff detailing their two (2) PHASE plan to settle the back pay lawsuit.
As of October, the state has dedicated sufficient professional staff to research and carry out necessary computer programming to calculate the back pay, adjust the raises, and resolve the issue.
SPO / DoIT presented their logic [formula] to pull lists of AFSCME members who will be eligible to receive the salary adjustment
SPO / DoIT presented their logic [formula] to calculate the percentage of underpayment for each bargaining unit member who will receive a salary adjustment
AFSCME Economist Mike Messina travelled from D.C. to review the state's methodology. Brother Messina has begun his review of the state's formulas and will be in direct contact, not with SPO lawyers, but compensation personnel and DoIT programmers to expedite improvements and changes to the state's methodology. Once satisfied, the unions will sign off on the state's plan.
SPO has proposed to the Department of Finance Administration their methodology for the salary adjustments, and is waiting to hear back from DFA if all effected agencies have sufficient budget surplus to increase wages per the settlement. (Legislative Finance Committee Director David Abbey reported at the 12/12 meeting that their research has determined that agencies have sufficient funds top cover the settlement)
SPO Legal Counsel reported that once DFA signs off on the budget issue and AFSCME approves the methodology, that the permanent wage increases (NOT lump sum retroactive payments) could go into effect in a matter of weeks.
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.
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*
Congratulations to the Santa Fe County Detention Centers Medical Support Staff who voted to join AFSCME on Friday, November 22. The vote was overwhelmingly for AFSCME. Every vote cast FOR Union was a vote for AFSCME, with ZERO votes cast for a competing association, and only one vote for no union representation.
Medical support staff braved icy roads and a big New Mexico snowstorm (even on their day off) to cast their ballots Friday.
The LPNs, RNs, Nurse Practitioners, Physicians Assistants, and Pharmacy Techs were led in their efforts by an incredible, strong internal organizing committee.
“We are excited,” said organizing committee member, Jessica Narvaiz, RN. “We need strong representation and AFSCME is the union for the job. The entire campaign was quick and smooth, AFSCME was there for us when we had no place else to turn.”
It’s good news for NM State Employees. State personnel office spokesperson Enrique Knell confirmed in today’s ABQ Journal front page story that the state is not waiting on a court enforcement order to begin issuing back pay checks.
Instead, Knell confirms that the delay is due to “time-consuming calculations necessary to determine the appropriate pay for each of the estimated 10,000 employees who qualify for a repayment.”
AFSCME members, please talk to your colleagues TODAY and make sure they are full union members. Your non-union member co-workers need to understand just how hard AFSCME fights to support them everyday and over the long haul.
The Sheriff and Local President have met and agreed on the following language below as a binding agreement.
1. BCSO will not privatize any of the Court Security Staff positions during the term of the current CBA;
2. The sheriff will restore full deputy commissions to the CSS members;
3. The sheriff will meet with Richard Sawin within a week to negotiate in good faith towards a MOU or other agreement regarding continued temporary use of deputies on sheriff’s overtime and methods for filling vacant CSS positions.
4. AFSCME will dismiss its complaint filed October 28, 2013 without prejudice.
Richard Sawin, Local President and the sheriff have met and reached agreement on continued use of sheriff's deputies to fill shifts temporarily. AFSCME has withrawn the court injunction.
AFSCME Council 18 has filed for a permanent injunction to prevent the Bernalillo County Sheriff from outsourcing the jobs of sworn NM State Certified Deputies to the world’s largest and most notorious private security firms.
In violation of New Mexico law requiring Court Security Officers to be sworn deputies, and rules in the union collective bargaining agreement, Sheriff Dan Houston had moved ahead with plans to privatize the court security specialist jobs at the County District Court and Juvenile Detention Center.
“The Sheriff cannot, on his own, decide to skimp on the safety of citizens, employees, and judges who use the County Courthouse,” says Rob Trombley AFSCME Staff Representative. “There is a very good reason why the NM statute reads like it does. Our union members are required to receive the same training and maintain the same certification that New Mexico requires of it’s sworn peace officers. The public deserves no less!”
On Monday, October 28, AFSCME Members from Department of Transportation (Dist. 6) attended the State Personnel Board meeting to raise the alarm that submarket pay and wage disparity issues are resulting in low morale and costly disruptions to DOT operations across the state.
It’s a familiar story at many state agencies. While state personnel aggressively promotes higher recruitment salaries to attract new and younger workers, they’re being trained and mentored by career employees who are often paid lower hourly wages.
In the face of fewer experienced and trained personnel, management rushes to put newer recruits into rotation and, at times, onto job assignments they’re not prepared to handle unsupervised. This has resulted in unexpected costs to the department as mistakes become more common.
AFSCME Representative Joel Villareal appealed to the board to use every mechanism at their disposal to address gross wage disparity. “When you start paying new people more than the one’s who have been there through thick and thin, it starts causing serious problems.”
AFSCME City Employees Cannot Be Denied Rights to Representation
The City of Albuquerque’s long standing efforts to deny AFSCME members the right to representation during investigative interviews has hit a wall in Judge Malott’s Second Judicial Court. A clear message has also been sent to Governor Martinez who has been fighting to deny this foundational union right since taking office.
Weingarten Rights, as held by the U.S. Supreme Court, say it is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act for an employer to deny an employee’s request that a union representative be present at an “investigatory interview.”
In the opinion and order, AFSCME v. City of Albuquerque Parks, Judge Malott writes that New Mexico’s Public Employee Bargaining Act [PEBA] language is derived from the National Labor Relations Act [NLRA] and, “absent cogent reasons to the contrary”, well-settled, long-standing interpretations on Weingarten Rights in the NLRA should apply to PEBA.
Its TIME to stop crying over spilt milk. The Union Members of AFSCME have won in NM’s highest court. 15,000 of New Mexico’s finest public servants must be paid back. It is time to end 5 years of wage theft, pay the fine, and write the checks.
The calculations are many, but the math is simple. AFSCME Member respectfully request you state publicly when the checks will begin to be written and mailed.
October 1 saw yet another incident involving an inebriated and aggressive passenger aboard an ABQ Ride bus. This time, passengers and the driver were fortunate that ABQ Ride Transit Security Officers were close by and able to intervene.
With transit security officers cut by 50% in recent years and the Albuquerque Police Department also dangerously understaffed, drivers report response times during an emergency can take 20 minutes or more.
“Confrontations involving passengers can escalate to violence in a matter of minutes.” Said Phillip Torres, AFSCME Local 624 transit safety committee (ATSC) member.
A policy preventing drivers from leaving their seat to confront violent passengers has left many of them in a pickle. Drivers are supposed to be primarily concerned with the dangers outside the bus (traffic and distracted drivers) however, they take the safety of their passengers seriously. When an aggressive person boards a bus and accosts passengers, drivers are forced to choose between following policy or protecting a passenger.
AFSCME Community Team (ACT) volunteer for the mobile food pantry drive for unemployed and underemployed union members, Friday, Sept. 27.
We will be doing this every 4th Friday of the month through the end of this year. While there is an income guideline for this service, we encourage all of our brothers and sisters in need to come.
The life of teenagers in Española Valley is spent in large part inside the walls of middle school and high school. What happens inside those walls is known mostly only to the teenagers, teachers and administrators.
There is one other person, though, who is called whenever there is a need beyond what the school can handle administratively. This is the school resource officer for the Española Police Department, Michelle Talache.
“I love my job,” Talache said. “I love going to work in the morning, and I love the kids. Most of the kids are great kids, it’s just that handful, and it’s just their behavior.”
Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, Mayor Richard J. Berry announced an annual transit operational cost savings of about $180,000 to taxpayers. The press release says a drop of transit related calls to the 311 Citizen Call Center through the use a next generation technologies is responsible for the cost cutting.
The 24 hours following that announcement saw a passenger stabbed aboard an ABQ Ride bus, and a spontaneous informational picket by drivers calling to “alleviate the tension between passengers and drivers,” according to Will Gutierrez, ABQ Ride Motor Coach Operator (MCO).
"Today (9/20/13) an AFSCME driver called dispatch requesting APD or Tranist Security remove an aggressive and threatening passenger from their bus." reported Elizabeth Maestes, ABQ Ride MCO, and Chair Designee of AFSCME Transit Safety Committee. Dispatch flat old told our operator, 'We cannot do that at this time'. That's a violation of our standard operating procedure and a huge safety risk."
AFSCME State Union Members Closer to Receiving Back Pay
Following a meeting on August 14 with the general counsels from Governor Martinez' office as well as the StatePersonnel Office, Council 18 is "cautiously optimistic" that the reimbursement of AFSCME union members underpayment is on track.
In the meeting with Countil 18 attorney Shane Youtz, Council 18 President Patrick Gutierrez and Council 18 Executive Director Connie Derr, the State assured AFSCME (and CWA) that it had begun the complicated calculations to figure out the back pay for approximately 13,000 state employees. as well as the impact to PERA rates, and pay rates going forward.
AFSCME New Mexico-Led Labor Alliance Calls on Mayor Richard J Berry to Rescind CABQ Request for Proposals to Outsource Good Family Jobs to the Lowest Payer
Mayor Berry's Administration should immediately move to rescind the Request for Proposals (RFP) to take over Land and Hardscape Maintenance of Albuquerque's International Sunport and Double Eagle Airports.
Albuquerque's City Parks and Recreation Department Aviation Division has been escalating the beauty and elegance of the Sunport Landscaping since 1983. As the gateway to our Duke City, the highly licensed, certified, career employees who maintain the landscape features cannot be replaced by Albuquerque CAO Perry's vision for a small number of minimum wage employees.
Current City Aviation Div Parks Employees maintain Federal Background Check Security Credentials. They're licensed by New Mexico's regulatory bodies to apply insecticide, safely handle fertilizer, ensure OSHA compliance on the job, and maintain federally regulated standards on Storm Water Pollution.
These are NOT the employees to replace with temporary minimum wage employees
Berry Administration Seeks Right to Decimate Collective Bargaining Rights For AFSCME Council 18 Founding Local
AFSCME members are encouraged to attend this Supreme Court Hearing on August 12, 2013.
Court begins at 9:00 a.m. (Arrive by 8 ensure you get a seat)
On one hand, Berry administration officials want to ensure that there will be NO evergreen clause in our contracts to protect employee rights when contracts expire and negotiations go long. On the other hand, the administration also fights against any push towards impasse arbitration where an impartial third party could rule on contract negotiation issues when two side struggle to reach agreement.
It's a perfect storm, putting Albuquerque's Public Servants between a rock and hard place. The Mayor seeks to extinguish fair and equitable collective bargaining by unilaterally imposing his version of the contract without any recourse from the union.
"The result of this case will ripple out and effect public employees across New Mexico and the Nation. As Public Employees, we don't have the right to strike. The Evergreen Clause and Final Binding Arbitration are powerful tools for our union that balance the power between Labor and Management. Without them, Berry will reopen a dark chapter in the fight for workers' rights," said Casey Padilla, President Local 624.
Lowest Paid County Workers in NM Resort to Public Assistance to Make Ends Meat While Delivering Substantial Project Savings
When Valencia County Commissioners identified Palomas Road and Avenida Valencia for improvement, the costs to complete the work through county contractors Albuquerque Asphalt ran into the hundreds of thousands. Public works director Kelly Bouska had a better idea; Valencia County’s own blue collar employees had the skills and equipment to do the job themselves, and at a significant savings for taxpayers.
“This was an opportunity to showcase our road crew’s skills, the men and women of Valencia County public works have the expertise to do the work,” said Bouska, “and I knew we could save the county money by completing the job in house.”
The Court of Appeals today remanded the pay plan decision back to Judge Mallott in the State District Court. This action officially allows us the opportunity to make application to the District Court for both an enforcement order and an application for attorneys’ fees on behalf of the Union. Our counsel is already working on the applications and we will let you know when the Court takes action.
New Mexico’s Supreme Court previously ruled through an Order of Affirmance that the State Personnel Board breached the union contract by inappropriately distributing legislative appropriated funds resulting in thousands of state employees being shorted on a July 2009 negotiated wage increase. The incredibly speedy decision comes only two weeks after hearing arguments from union and state attorneys and sets the stage for union employees to receive back pay in amounts ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Two-term Governor Dave Cargo passed away earlier this week at age 84. He was a champion of workers, unions, and the little guy, and until his last years continued to be one of the best Republicans in the history of our state for standing up for workers.
He will be deeply missed by all of us. If you can, please try to attend his viewing from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Roundhouse on Thursday, July 11, and/or the funeral service at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, July 12.
President Lee Saunders Calls On New Mexico to engage: “We’ve got to take it to the streets and embrace the old ways with more militant action”
Election of New Executive Board, Rally at Civic Plaza, ?State and National Leaders all Highlight Three Day Event
11 year old Khrissy Reeves couldn’t imagine she would ever see a trash truck dance, but that was exactly what she and New Mexico members of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees were treated to Saturday night. Khrissy is daughter of Roswell Corrections Officer Sean Reeves, a Chaplain, AFSCME steward, and newly elected executive board member of AFSCME Council 18. Earlier in the day, Khrissy led 200+ AFSCME members in the pledge of allegiance as the 2013 AFSCME-New Mexico Biennial Convention convened.
Court Prevents Martinez Administration from Sacrificing Public Safety for Minimal Budget Savings
The State of New Mexico First Judicial Court has ruled for the Union and against the Martinez Administration’s decision to remove security guards from six Human Services Department (HSD) field offices. (Read the Order Here) The Court found substantial evidence supporting a previous order of the New Mexico Public Employee Labor Board (PELRB) that security guards must be reinstated.
In 1996 an HSD income support specialist was attacked and stabbed repeatedly by a client who believed she was to blame for reducing his food stamp allotment. In response to the attack, security guards were put in place and had remained on the job at all field offices until the May 2011 move by the Martinez administration to eliminate the security at an approximate $157K annual savings.
AFSCME is the fastest growing union in the country for a reason, results! Fighting tirelessly to protect our defined benefit pensions during legislative sessions, winning funding for raises at the roundhouse, and waging the marathon battles to protect public employee rights and benefits through grievances, court battles, and direct action.
New Mexico’s public employment numbers and services have suffered alongside other sectors of our economy. Combining other factors, including ten years of regressive tax policy, below national average school testing results, some of the lowest graduation rates in the nation, diminished federal funding, and a drastically cut state budget, NM’s table is hardly set for an economic recovery. Read more >>>
Not an Illusion: $20 Million Dollars / 10,000 NM State Employees
Attorney Youtz laid out a simple and elegant position for the Justices and the 100+ AFSCME members crammed into a capacity NM Supreme Court Building. “Is the State bound by a legal agreement when the legislature appropriates enough money [for the raise] and breeches the contract by using that money elsewhere? For example, if the state enters into a contract to purchase, at a specific price, CAT tractors, and later decides to pay less, CAT has a legal right to hold the State to that agreement and be paid.” Read more >>>
New Mexico’s public employment numbers and services have suffered alongside other sectors of our economy. Combining other factors, including ten years of regressive tax policy, below national average school testing results, some of the lowest graduation rates in the nation, diminished federal funding, and a drastically cut state budget, NM’s table is hardly set for an economic recovery.
Negotiations with the State of New Mexico and Council 18 on a successor agreement continue to drag. The stretched-out negotiations are directly attributable to the state’s insistence on eliminating fundamental worker rights’ and ignoring years’ of fine-tuned language which benefit the state and provide a fair working environment.
The Supreme Court of the State of New Mexico is scheduled to hear oral argument in the State employee pay plan litigation on May 15, at 9:00am. AFSCME members are encouraged to attend the one-hour hearing to listen to the State argue against employees' contractual pay increase and for the Justices to see the faces of the affected workers.
"Right to Work" in the news lately. Turn down big$ corporate background noise, here's what the debate is really about…less freedom for workers, not more
RTW laws make it easier:
-for Corp CEO's to avoid paying benefits
-for Corps to engage in downsizing, constantly reminding those who stay that "they're lucky to have a job."
-treat the workers who make CEO success possible like numbers who are easily replaced
-destroy unions as we know them, tip the balance more in corporate favor at expense of middle class
Following years of unaddressed grievances and safety concerns, City of Albuquerque Transit Officers will hold a press conference Monday describing issues leading to a unanimous vote of no confidence (VNC) against Superintendent Clarence E Decker and Lt. John F. Baker.
Transit Officers are a component of Albuquerque’s public safety system. Officers do not carry firearms, but are called upon to engage and intervene in violent confrontations on City Buses. “The work is very dangerous and stressful, but we’re part of the safety net for Albuquerque citizens,” said AFSMCE Local 1888 President and Transit Officer Judy Garcia. “Management’s flippant disregard for officer safety and refusal to run our division professionally is extremely frustrating.”
Transit Officers will hold the press conference on April 1, 2013, at 4:30 pm, directly outside Vincent E. Griego Council Chambers, basement level of Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center, One Civic Plaza.
Hidalgo County Public Safety Employees have voted unanimously to form a union. AFSCME becomes the exclusive bargaining representative for Hidalgo County Public Safety Personnel. The March 21 secret ballot election, held at the Ena Mitchell Senior Citizen Center in Lordsburg, was run by the State of New Mexico Public Employee Labor Relations Board.Employees gathered 90% of their co-worker’s signatures on a petition triggering the election. Local Union leaders will next request dates to sit down with County management and bargain a contract spelling out terms and conditions of employment for employees.
County Sheriff’s Deputies, Dispatchers, Detention Officers, and Corporal Detention Officers who are NOT probationary, managerial, confidential, or supervisory will be protected by that contract once it is ratified by members and adopted by the county commission.
Following the January meeting, SPO Director Gene Moser and Labor Relations Sandy Martinez spoke amicably with AFSCME membership and set a date to meet over the issues, brainstorm solutions, and share information.
Sadly, just 48 hours before the meeting, SPO contacted AFSCME Council 18 to say the meeting was "OFF" and would not take place under any circumstances.
Reasons for calling off the meeting varied depending on what questions were posed to Mr. Moser. Reasons he echoed at today's Personnel Board Meeting; discussions of wage parity must take place at bargaining, our grievances can only be handled legislatively, or finally, there is no money in the budget to give career employees the raises that would result in pay equity with the very new hires they're training.
"SPO has never put the pay classification topic on the table during bargaining and to say otherwise, is untruthful.
You hear it too often in Washington, and we’re just plain sick of it.
“We have to cut programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to reduce the federal deficit.”
The truth is, our tax system is rigged with wasteful tax giveaways that benefit the richest Americans and big corporations — handouts that are subsidized by cutting back on vital programs that most Americans rely on.
Thomas Griego, Hearing Officer for the Public Employee Labor Relations Board (PELRB), writing in his recommended decision (PPC case 124-12 AFSCME v. RLD) seems to have lost patience with the Regulations and Licensing Department's "unreasonable persistence in punishing union officials" trying to do their job.
The 19 page recommended decision orders RLD to recognize AFSCME Union Steward and RLD Field Inspector, Jason Davis. The decision follows a long pattern of anti-worker conduct and bullying behavior at the department.
Listen to Interviewwith Jason Davis, AFSCME Steward and Electrical Inspector for New Mexico’s Regulation and Licensing Department [this month's Union Made Member Profile]
APD career employee and AFSCME Council 18 Executive Board Member, Patricia French has been voted the new Chair of the Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) Board. Ms. French earned the trust of other PERA board members who voted she lead PERA through some of the most difficult changes in its history.
Ms. French, on the PERA board since 2005, begins her one year term as the legislature takes up bills aimed at putting the PERA fund on track to 100% solvency by 2041. PERA board members have spent over two years working on a plan to protect the fund following a number of devastating market years which saw PERA retirement plan's unfunded liability grow significantly.
"The plan we've sent up to the Roundhouse has been carefully thought out," said French, "the decisions we made will strengthen the fund for everyone, current and future retirees, for many years to come. You can't make eveyone happy, but this plan puts us on track to achieve sovency by 2041, protecting one of the top ten public pension systems in the country."
PERA's plan to shore up the fund (viewed HERE) calls on all stakeholders to share in the sacrifice and protect the retirement for all.
AFSCME Council 18 Board has endorsed the PERA Solvency Plan.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was deeply committed to community service, gave his life in service, and urged all of us to serve our communities. He said “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'”
Heavy Lifting for CYFD Investigators as SPO Contiunes to Drop Ball
AFSCME Local leaders representing Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD) delivered over 100 petition signatures to the January State Personnel Board meeting. The petition called upon State Personnel to address wage disparity, retention, and recruitment issues creating serious staffing, morale, and safety concerns across state government.
CYFD Child Protective Service workers (CPS), staff at JPPO, and JPTC mentor confined and at-risk youth, find placements, and conduct home checks for high-needs children. “Staff at these sites are 100% dedicated and committed to assisting NM youth feel safe and valued. We mentor them in life skills and provide resources and tools necessary to steer themselves towards productive futures,” says Corina Barron-Sifuentes, President Local 3320. ?
“We have been in full contract negotiations with the hospital since May and it is unclear why a not for profit hospital that is financially doing well, who’s unrestricted net assets DOUBLED between the end of FY 2006 and the end of FY 2011, has 66+ days cash on hand, and plans to build a $146 million new hospital utilizing “internal resources” would not budget for a wage increase for its employees?” stated Nicola Trevisan, a social worker, and staff representative of1199NM, National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, to the Board Of Regents of the University of New Mexico.
America re-elected President Obama and Vice President Biden—giving them added strength in the fight to create jobs and opportunity. The voters have given a mandate to protect vital programs like Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, end tax cuts for the wealthy and strengthen the middle class.
During Tuesday’s interim legislative committee meeting Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) Executive Director Wayne Propst said, “PERA is a bit like a patient…in critical condition.” The question for Union PERA / ERB (Educational Retirement Board) members is, do we attach the oxygen, stabilize the heart, and get our patient breathing, or, endanger the patient’s life by standing around debating what needs to be done in order to ensure our patient will play pro-football again.
New Mexican women stand in solidarity and demand the resignation of Sheriff Houston for his disparaging remarks and illegal actions against women
AFSCME Members working under Bernalillo County Sheriff Dan Houston have a list of grievances a mile long. Well aware of a disdain for the labor movement, AFSCME members mount active resistance to his clandestine efforts to diminish worker’s’ rights and voices on the job. It was not a surprise when Albuquerque Journal broke a story October 11, detailing Houston’s disparaging remarks directed at women working in his department.
The New Mexico Court of Appeals issued a decision in favor of AFSCME and CWA on an important issue affecting wages for both state bargaining units. The decision affirms previous arbitration awards and a State District Court decision in the Unions’ favor requiring the State to issue back pay checks to employees in an unknown amount, but which is estimated to be in the $5 – $10 million range. Depending on where Union employees fall within their pay band, the back pay due could rise into the thousands. Read more >>>
Dedicated union employees working for Emergency Medical Services, Adult and Juvenile Detention Facilities in Taos County are experiencing what we refer to in the labor movement as a "runaway shop". A runaway shop is characterized as a workplace where quality of management has been corrupted and managers have fallen into a cycle where unwarranted discipline is dispensed rampantly; where management engages in systematic retaliation against employees who are perceived as questioning compromised management style....read on.
"Those are the lessons we learn from labor, when there's someone in need, we step forward." Congressman Lujan shared these words while accepting an award on behalf of his father, Speaker Lujan, for his lifetime of work fighting for working people.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 18 represents city, county and state workers throughout the state. In the metro area they represent the City of Albuquerque, City of Rio Rancho and Bernalillo County.
“Valencia County Manager Bruce Swingle is a tactical man, but he is fair and bargained with us in good faith.” Andres Nevarez, Valencia County Detention Center Officer and negotiator with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2745, share these words following ratification of their first union contract. Read more >>>
by Miles Conway, Communications Specialist for AFSCME Council 18
You would think a 77-year-old taking care of 54 million souls would show signs of weakening or slowing down. Quite the contrary, the Social Security Act of 1935 is looking strong and fit in spite of constant attacks by privileged elites who’ll never have need of the modest safety net it provides for retired Americans AND their families.
The New Mexico Court of Appeals issued a decision Wednesday, Aug. 8, in favor of AFSCME and CWA on an important issue affecting wages for both state bargaining units. The decision affirms previous arbitration awards in the unions’ favor which require the state to issue back pay checks to employees. Read more >>>
Local 1661, which represents the men and women who serve as security specialists in the Bernalillo County Courthouse and the Juvenile Justice Center filed a complaint wth the county's Labor Relations Board, charging Sheriff Dan Houston with delaying negotiations. The Albuquerque Journal covered the complaint in a short story Aug. 4. Read more >>>
The New Mexico Department of Corrections is appealing an arbitrator's ruling to return to his job state prison employee and Local 3422 member Cayetano Trujillo. The Albuquerque Journal North covered the story. Read more >>>
In response to an AFSCME petition, Judge Valerie Huling ordered Gov. Susana Martinez to remove the names of non-exempt state employees from the state's Sunshine Portal. The Albuquerque Journal covered that decision July 24.. Read more >>>
The Alamogordo City Commission voted unanimously at its June 26 meeting to approve a collective bargaining agreement extension with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 3818. The extension will include a 3 percent pay hike for the coming fiscal year. Read more >>>
If state appellate judges uphold the rulings of their predecessors in a three-year-old lawsuit, New Mexico may be on the hook to pay millions—if not tens of millions—of dollars to current and former state employees. Read more >>>
2012 Local Union Leadership Training
Thanks to all those who came out to AFSCME Council 18's 2012 Local Union Leadership Training!
The Light of New Mexico recently published an op-ed by AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Lee Saunders that speaks out about the concerns of AFSCME members and working families here in New Mexico and across the country.
Times are tough for working families in New Mexico. That's why AFSCME Council 18 will be gathering school supplies throughout the state in February and March. We will then donate the collected supplies to several areas where school children are in financial need. Read more >>>
New Mexico and AFSCME Remember Dr. King!
Thanks to all those who came out to support the MLK marches in Las Cruces and Albuquerque!! (Photos by Rob Trombley and Robert Collazo)
The Albuquerque Journal recently published a very important and timely op-ed piece written by AFSCME International Secretary-Treasurer Lee A. Saudenrs. The op-ed, published on Martin Luther King Day, discusses the shared goals and long-standing relationship between the Civil Rights movement and AFSCME here in New Mexico and across the country. Click the link above to read the full text or download a copy of the op-ed
There are two parades honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. scheduled for January 15 -- one in Albuquerque and one in Las Cruces. It is so important for AFSCME members to participate in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Annual Parade events as the civil rights and labor movements are tied together. As you all know, Dr. King was in Memphis, TN, in support of the striking sanitation workers of AFSCME Local 1733 when he was assassinated. Please click the article for all the details and to download copies of the event flyers
KOAT, KOB, KRQE, the Albuquerque Journal, KUNM and the Associated Press ALL covered our "Clean Water Jobs Coalition" press conference on Monday that brought together a wide variety of environmental, labor, and consumer groups, as well as local elected officials, in support of water infrastructure projects here in New Mexico. Click "Read more" to get links to several of the stories. Read more >>>
A Historic Win for Public Employees and Working Families!
Yesterday was a truly important day for public employees and working families across the country because Ohioans overwhelmingly voted to repeal Senate Bill 5—Gov. John Kasich's attack on middle-class jobs that was designed to destroy collective bargaining rights in Ohio.
For months, AFSCME members and other public employees have been working tirelessly to overturn this anti-worker bill. Our victory sends a clear message and represents a turning point in the collective work to protect good jobs and workplace rights.
We want to congratulate everyone who helped create this historic day and look forward to more victories in the future!
AFSCME Council 18 is speaking out against Governor Martinez's vindictive decision to cut flex time for state employees. Both the Albuquerque Journal and Channel 13 covered the story. To watch the video, click below. To read the Journal story, please click the headline above.
Gov’s Team Demands End to 25 Years of Gains for State Employees!
Don’t Let This Happen to Your Public Workers.
In the first bargaining sessions with the State, its negotiators told New Mexico’s public employee unions— the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the Communications Workers of America (CWA), and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)—to rip up all but a couple of the pages in their contracts.
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.
Hundreds of community members, union allies and elected officials from across New Mexico attended a vigil in Santa Fe on July 24 in support of their brothers and sisters at CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center who are fighting to win a fair contract with the hospital.
A group of AFSMCE members, along with labor and community allies, deliverd more that 500 signatures to Gov. Susana Martinez's office on Tuesday demanding Brother Lee Ortega be reinstated after he was fired by the New Mexico Corrections Department for blowing the whistle on the department's plans to hide a serial sexual harasser.
The AFSCME Blog is your source for news and updates about legislative battles, success stories and struggles, upcoming conferences and conventions, and more from the national union and our members across the country. Read more at http://www.afscme.org/blog