New Mexico Unions Stand Front and Center in National Debate over Rigged Economy on Nob Hill Saturday

From Albuquerque to NYC and St. Paul to San Diego: tens of thousands flood streets in protest of a rigged economy and political system dominated by billionaires and special interest groups.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in a case, Janus v AFSCME. Brought to the courts by these anti-worker billionaires, it represents the biggest attack on Labor in decades.

AFSCME members were among nearly 300 union members, allied organizations, faith leaders and political allies at Albuquerque's February 24 Working People's Day of Action. Rally goers were fired up by the great speakers and danced away the chilly temperatures to the music stylings of local powerhouse “Bandwidth No Name".

The Albuquerque Day of Action was one of dozens in cities nationwide. Read news about the 2/24 rallies from across the nation and listen to great speeches from Albuquerque's Working People’s Day of Action at, on our FACEBOOK page, and on Twitter by searching #UnrigtheSystem and #ItsAboutFreedom.

Read the ABQ Journal Coverage of our Event HERE.

Read AFSCME Council 18 Executive Director Connie Derr's ABQ Journal OpEd HERE

Nearly 250 participants signed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to oppose the billionaire-funded attack on our workplace rights.To download a PDF copy of the petition to circulate in your workplace and community, click here.  

Turn in signed petitions to AFSCME Council 18, 1202 Pennsylvania NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87110, by April 15.

Participating organizations in the ABQ rally included the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops, El Centro Immigrant Rights Organization, the Presbyterian Church, Equality New Mexico, more than 40 labor unions affiliated with the New Mexico Federation of Labor, and solidarity unions, the New Mexico Young Democrats, Voices for Children, and many more.

See lots of great pictures from the rally HERE

One of the youngest activists at the rally, Nate Zemke, son of Sheet Metal Worker, Isaiah Zemke, sported an AFSCME New Mexico "I AM 2018" armband.

Connie Derr, Executive Director of Council 18 (pictured below), opened the rally with a thank you. "I want to thank all of the unions, all my union sisters and brothers, the community organizations, and our faith and elected allies who stand with us today, and every day, for working people. For our communities. For our future."

"Today we come together as one, to stand for democracy, to fight for freedom, and to demand civility. Corporate CEOs are working overtime to rig the economy and the political system, to silence working people. So when we stand together, like we are today, and across the country, we are making it abundantly clear that we are about building the middle class; lifting workers up, not tearing them down; raising standards, not jeopardizing worker safety, strengthening communities. All of our communities. When everyone does better, everyone does better.”

Bill Jordan of New Mexico Voices for Children gave a great rally call and mapped out a path to victory. "Beginning today, we're going to invest in New Mexico...It's a new day in New Mexico and we're coming together to take back our state...We're going to protect voting rights, civil rights LGBTQ rights, women rights, the rights of immigrants and dreamers, and especially the rights of workers."

“We will NOT let them divide us; not by race, by religion, by our country of origin, or by who we love. We will stand together. We have a rich tradition of celebrating our diversity, and we will resist their divisive words. We will hold up our diversity, our culture, and our respect for one another for the rest of the nation to see. If the labor movement taught us anything, it is we have to stick together." [Listen to Bill Jordan's speech here on Facebook]

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller (pictured above left) spoke at the rally. He won his election with overwhelming union support and became Albuquerque's most labor friendly mayor in over a generation. "We are united in the need to BE united. Now is the time we need to stand up. We have all sorts of hard work ahead of us. Things like "right-to-work" and anti-worker initiatives have come back around. We know how to fight, we know how to win, and you have a mayor that is going to keep it out of Albuquerque.

"We are going to end the practice of outsourcing all of the blue collar jobs at City Hall. By getting back to basics we are going to lift up albuquerque and make sure woking families have a future and a career path again in our city. It's gonna take your help...If you believe in the notion of a middle class, or if you believe in the notion of working families, we're going to reach out and working together. It might take four years or it might take eight, but we're going to get there, Albuquerque. [Listen to entire speech HERE]

NM House Representative and Majority Whip, Sheryl Williams Stapleton (pictured above) brought down the house with a fiery speech detailing her fierce and life long support for Labor. "Ladies and gentlemen, we should not be here today fighting for working people after Dr. King died for the same causes. All these years later, here in the 21st century, we are still fighting for the same purpose. But we're not only fighting for this, we're fighting for the future of New Mexicans, the future for our children, and the future of economic development in New Mexico.

"...I am a union sister, it runs in my blood. For the last 24 years, I've been stopping "right to work" in New Mexico. I want you to know, up in Santa Fe, some of them believe that the kool-aid they're drinking is the real thing, and it's NOT." What we have in New Mexico, is a war on unions, it is a war on working families, it is a war against us, and it is a war on civil rights." [Listen to entire speech HERE}]

As #UnrigtheSystem trends nationally and reaches over 5 million people, reports from the ground total tens of thousands of people protesting billionaire-funded attacks on workers, women, and people of color.

AFSCME Local 1413 President, Daniel Solis (pictured above in AFSCME green) attends Saturday's rally.

AFSCME Council 18 and Local 624 (City of ALbuquer President, Casey Padilla (pictured above left) speaks to rally attendees during Saturday's rally.

Elected officials, women’s rights leaders, the Patriotic Millionaires and many more from across the country voiced their support for unions:

·       @civilrightsorg: “Make no mistake: Workers’ rights, including the right to organize unions and engage in collective bargaining, are fundamental civil and human rights.”

·       @repdavidscott: “50 years ago Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood with striking Memphis sanitation workers to demand their freedom to join together in a strong union & be treated with dignity. I’m standing with working families in GA today & fighting to defend our freedoms.”

·       BlueGreen Alliance: “Those pushing Janus are doing so because the freedom to form and join a union is one of the few tools workers have at their disposal to level the playfield field with big corporations.”

·       @Planned Parenthood Action: “We fight for equitable pay. We fight for affordable health care. We fight for quality schools….We rise up and we fight.”

·       Mary Beth Maxwell, Human Rights Campaign: “The history of the labor movement is inextricably bound with advances for civil rights and human rights….Let’s not forget that public servants are often the frontline allies of the LGBTQ community – whether it’s the teacher who sponsors an LGBTQ club at their school, the nurse who provides care for a transgender patient, or the social worker who helped this lesbian mom with her adoption so many years ago.”

New Mexico State University, Local 2393 President Yvonne Mendova (in headband) and Vice President, Linda Landez-Garcia (sunglasses) travelled from Las Cruces and braved the chilly weather to participate in the Albuquerque rally.

In New York, more than 10,000 people swarmed the streets calling for “paid family leave, equal pay” among other protections for working people. The Daily News reports: “[Baxter] Leach, who marched in Memphis as a striking sanitation worker more than 50 years ago along with Dr. Martin Luther King, galvanized the crowd with a few simple words. ‘I want to tell you all. To get what you want you’ve got to stand up. You can’t sit down,’ the civil rights icon said.”

In Philadelphia, kids and students joined the rallies, with signs reading “The Only Thing That Stops a Bad Guy With Power is Good Guys With Power” and “Save My School So U Can Save My Future.”

Solidarity! Union Now, Union in the Future, and Union Forever!

AFSCME Council 18