AFSCME Council 18

Town of Taos Employees Organize Union and Ratify Two Year Collective Bargaining Agreement

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.

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