AFSCME Council 18

Council 18 Elects Leadership at Convention

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.

LEEThe International President for AFSCME’s 1.6 million members nationwide, Lee Saunders, addressed the convention on Saturday. In calling his union members to build stronger coalitions and take action, Saunders said, “In all my 37 years with AFSCME, I have never seen the viciousness of the attacks that confront working families today. The entire trade-union movement cannot engage in this fight by ourselves, that is why we we continue to build alliances with other social justice, faith based, immigrant rights, student, conservation, and other organizations. If they stand with us, if they fight alongside us, then we stand with them and fight alongside them.

“We will never be able to compete with the money generated by the Koch brothers of the world. But we will be engaged, and we will not engage in this fight by ourselves.I accept this challenge and AFSCME accepts this challenge, because we accept what is at stake for our union, and what is at stake for our country.”

Delegates heard from a panel of local, state and federally elected leaders Saturday morning. The participants on the panel, which was titled, “Politics is an Action Word”, included US Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, Senator Michael Padilla, Representative Brian Egolf, Albuquerque City Councilor Diane Gibson, Santa Fe City Councilor Carmichael Dominguez and Dona Ana County Commissioner Billy Garrett. Every panelist echoed the need for union members to be civically engaged. Senator Padilla said, “During the 2015 legislative session, when we faced the right to work attack, we stood strong. But the more my fellow senators heard your stories, heard from you on the issues, and how right to work would harm your families, the easier our work became to win the battle.”

Council 18 Executive Director Connie Derr stated, “More than 80 percent of our local unions from across the state participated at this convention. The delegates voted on policies, resolutions and demonstrated democracy at its best.”

CPThe key business of the convention came on Sunday morning, as union members arose before dawn to cast their ballots and select who would lead the New Mexico Council for the next two years. Casey Padilla was elected to continue his tenure as President of the statewide council. A City of Albuquerque solid waste employee, Padilla is also President of City of Albuquerque Blue Collar, Transit and Water Authority Employees’ Local Union 624. The ballots finished counting at 11 am and winners were announced. Complete election results listed below.

AFSCME represents over 15,000 public employees across the state, negotiating and enforcing their collective bargaining agreements. AFSCME is also among the most politically engaged member organizations, lobbying to support minimum wage increases, pay check fairness, and against anti-labor legislation such as “right-to-work.”

AFSCME Council 18 Executive Board:

Casey Padilla - President

Ken Long - Exec. Vice-President

Maxine Velasquez - Treasurer

State Vice-President - Tony Garcia

State Exec. Board Members - Mark Flournoy, Adam Chavarria, Tony Barajas

Local Gov’t & Private Sector Vice President - Benito Lujan

Local Gov’t & Private Sector Exec. Board Members - Roberta “Bobbi” Larez, Mike Dorin, Ben Chavez

Higher Education Vice President - Yvonne Mendoza

Trustees -  Jerry Vargas, Tirzio J. Lopez “T-Lo”, Celesty Tsosie

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