AFSCME Council 18

Amidst Public Safety Crisis, AFSCME Fights Sheriff Houston's Move to Outsource Court Security

***UPDATE 11-20-2013***

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.

Original Story:

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 state certified 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!” 

The Sheriff never contacted AFSCME regarding the proposed changes under after the contract with G4S was signed. Nothing was presented in writing. Instead, the Sheriff employed stealth tactics, obtained funding from the commissioners to “expand” an existing contract with G4S security and plans to replace sworn deputies with private security guards beginning November 1, 2013.

“We never bargained specific proposals to give up these bargaining unit positions,” said Local 1661 President Richard Sawin. “The Sheriff says he is moving ahead in violation of the intent of contract language and in violation of NM Statute.”

G4S security guards cannot be sworn in as public servants. One of the world’s leading security firms, G4S is under intense scrutiny across the globe for cases of flagrant neglect, mismanagement resulting in costly tax payer bailouts, abuse, and death.

According to Simon Reed, British Police Federation, “It is very clear that these [G4S] private contracts are built upon an expectation that the public sector will step in to pick up the pieces if private industry fails to deliver.”

(Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

AFSCME Members can expect a hearing or decision on the injunction order from the Courts soon.

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