AFSCME Council 18

6th Annual AFSCME Public Safety Blue Breakfast


The safest and most electric place to be in New Mexico today was at AFSCME Council 18's 6th Annual Public Safety Blue Breakfast, in Santa Fe.

More than 70 public safety officers from around New Mexico, including state and county adult and juvenile corrections officers and probation and parole officers, University campus police, municipal police officers, and municipal and regional 911 dispatchers, came to the state's capitol to network, share information, hear from experts in the public safety field, then lobby their elected officials at the state's Roundhouse.

The theme of this ever-growing annual legislative event was, "The Public Safety Life: Finding Balance in a High Stakes, High Stress Profession". The presenters included Dr. Troy Rogers, a clinical psychologist with an expertise in police psychology and law-enforcement, and PORAC Legal Defense Fund Plan Administer Ed Fishman and PORAC trustee and police officer Kerry Condon. AFSCME International's assistant director of research and collective-bargaining, Mike Messina, presented on national trends and federal legislation affecting public safety.

"There were several new locals who attended today, which is a great indicator that our increased focus on public safety issues and needs is building power in this profession," said Council 18 Executive Director Connie Derr, who chaired the event.

"This was my first blue breakfast as president of the City of Espanola Police Officers' Union Local 923," said Sammy Marquez. "They presented valuable information. As a new appointee to AFSCME's National Law Enforcement Advisory Committee, I am committed to do everything I can to help our union keep law enforcement officers safe."

Adam Keck, president of the City of Belen Police Officers' Union, Local 601, also a first-timer at the blue breakfast, said, "It was energizing for me to see so many of my sisters and brothers who do do the same work that I do and knowing that we have each other's back, regardless of where we work."

Several elected officials stopped by the blue breakfast to acknowledge the difficult and dangerous work that public safety officers perform. Senators Howie Morales and Linda Rodriguez and Representative Eliseo Alcon each stressed that they and many other elected officials in the Roundhouse are fighting hard against the anti-worker legislation that has been proposed.

Local 3422 Santa Fe Penitentiary of New Mexico Corrections Officers President Mark Flournoy, who is also the local's statewide department of corrections' president, said, "Council 18 brought their A game to this training. My members loved it and we are looking forward to next year." He added, "It was good to hear, but long overdue, that there a house bill is being proposed to provide compensation for PNM CO's who are or were suffering from PTSD from the 1980 riots."

HB435, which was just introduced by Representative Eliseo Lee Alcon, is a frightening reminder that public safety officers' lives are on the line every minute of every day. There is no advance notice of harm that may befall them. All New Mexicans have a continual debt of gratitude to the officers for the work that they do on our behalf.

Senator Nancy Rodriguez on GOP actions in NM House. "What they're doing over there is ugly and it hurts New Mexico workers. The way they're going about it is sloppy and it's giving us [Senators] the ammunition we need to stop this anti-worker legislation in the Senate. I stand with Unions, I always have, and we're working hard in the Senate to restore, not diminish the power of workers."

Edward Marc Fishman, Legal Administrator, Public Safety Protection,"...when public safety officers need legal representation, we'll be there immediately when a critical incident occurs, whether that's at 3:00 in the afternoon, or 3:00 in the morning..."

Senator Howie Morales, "...when we talk about the issues that are out there, we have to make sure we hold our ground. It was you guys [unions] that shared in the sacrifice and helped New Mexico pull out of the recession.

I stand here, not as a politician, but as a person who understands the power of the union. It was the unions, not the big corporate bosses, who made sure our family had food during the Mining strikes in Grant County. Stand up and be proud of who were are and the accomplishments we've made."

AFSCME Labor Economist, Michael Messina, "The anti-worker forces have overstepped, they're attacking our basic rights, and it is rekindling the labor movement. It is up to us to take advantage of our opportunities to educate members on their rights."

Representative Eliseo Alcon on justice and safety for NM Corrections, has introduced an important bill, HB435, bringing compensation for COs still struggling with PTSD from the 1980 prison riots.

On GOP anti-worker bills, he asked, "Does the lamb go with the wolf when he goes hunting chickens? No, because we know he's going for the lamb after he kills the chickens."

 Troy Rodgers, Psy.D on Wellness in Public Safety - High Stress / High Stakes Profession - "Understand that you cannot ignore the negative effects of this job; instead, learn to restore your soul every day."

6th Annual AFSCME Public Safety Blue Breakfast

In Unity,

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