|AFSCME Council 18|
AFSCME Welcomes State Personnel Plan Improving Compensation
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 not available, but implementing the plan next year would cost between $11-13 million. The Legislature will have the opportunity to approve or vote on changes to the proposal during the legislative session, beginning January 2016.
Please send a letter to your legislator HERE! Encourage them fund the plan and invest in our New Mexico families, not more corporate tax giveaways which aren't working to lift our economy.
"A real crisis has been manufactured," said Connie Derr, AFSCME Council 18 Executive Director. "The State has been unable to retain good employees who are leaving for better paying jobs. At the same time, the next generation of skilled public servants are not being attracted into state service. The high vacancies resulting from the Governor's inaction have been terrible and unacceptable."
AFSCME members have been active for years, calling for improvements to the State's overall compensation structure which has grown less and less competitive as years pass. AFSCME Corrections Officers give credit to the New Mexico Corrections Department and Secretary Marcantel who has raised the alarm on deficient wages again and again at the legislature and with the Governor's administration.
AFSCME Correctional Officers have appeared at public meetings, signed petitions, written letters, and met with legislators to increase knowledge around safety concerns. COs took their concerns to the streets in recent months, holding informational pickets in Santa Fe, Los Lunas, and Las Cruces calling for wages to be increased.
AFSCME will continue to apply pressure on the administration and encourage the completion of an entire compensation overhaul project. "Our state must make the wages of ALL New Mexico State Employees fair, and competitive," concluded Sister Derr.
Please continue to send LETTERS to your NM Legislators HERE!
Solidarity. When AFSCME Fights, AFSCME Wins!
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