|AFSCME Council 18|
AFSCME's Joel Villareal was President of his Local in July 2008, and filed the original grievance on Back Pay.
NM State Employees Expect Hourly Salary Adjustments
Lump Sum Back Pay
Monday afternoon a crowd of AFSCME members and their families rallied through a light spring rain as the Governor's pay-plan team met with AFSCME leadership inside the Joseph Montoya Building in Santa Fe.
AFSCME local members had travelled from across the state to hear first hand how the state's "pay-plan team" was proposing to return tens of millions in back wages.
While AFSCME leadership met with the state, members marched outside with signs saying, “RESPECT”, “2106 Days - Back Pay”, and “Governor Martinez, STOP fighting Workers, Fight FOR Jobs.”
AFSCME's team emerged from the meeting as the rain cleared and made the welcome announcement that the Governor's team had concluded its work and, with the help of BDO USA, LLP, would execute ‘phase one’ of the back pay plan and increase current employees’ wages during the pay period beginning June 7. That means thousands of union state employees will see a bigger pay check on June 20, 2014.
Phase two of the pay plan promises delivery of the long sought after lump sum back pay checks. While the Governor’s team stated those checks would be delivered in July, the actual language of the state's arbitration award plan indicates payment "Early in fiscal year 2015" which begins in July 2014.
The Governor’s plan claims the high cost of the settlement will require the state to “hold positions vacant” and “reduce services.” it's a virtual certainty that the legislature would have allocated more money had they known the exact amount of the settlement and thought it was actually going to be settled in FY '14. Meanwhile, the Governor has given rich out-of-state corporations big tax cuts that easily would have paid for the settlement--and New Mexico still has the worst job growth in the region and third worst job growth in America. In hindsight, perhaps the Governor should have invested in New Mexicans instead of her big Texas and DC donors.
Even though it was the Richardson administration who initially botched the raise guaranteed by AFSCME's union contract, it was Governor Martinez who turned the screw, delayed justice, and wasted major tax dollars to hire New Mexico’s largest law firm and appealed the case twice, all the way to the NM Supreme Court.
"The State's case for denying the back pay has always rested on an indefensible argument; that promises and contracts don't matter," said AFSCME Council 18 President Patrick Gutierrez.
5 years, 11 months, and 6 days of wage theft are scheduled to end on June 7, 2014.
Concluding the press briefing outside the Montoya Building in Santa Fe, Gutierrez began reporting to the crowd, "When AFSCME fights..." and before he could finish, the members roared back, "AFSCME WINS!"
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