AFSCME Council 18

CALL TO ACTION: Berry Takes a Swipe at The First Amendment, Proposes Orwellian Social Media Policy

Social Media Policy Would Land ABQ City Employees in Unemployment Line for Tweets and Facebook Posts

We’ve grown to expect anti-worker policies and treatment at the hands of Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, but attacking Albuquerque City Employees’ 1st Amendment Rights is beyond the pale.

The Berry Administration launched a cannonball into the first amendment pool by proposing a policy threatening city employees (and prospective employees) for their social media activity. Essentially, through the city’s newly proposed social media policy, Mayor Berry demands the power to fire anyone who posts anything which “impairs harmony among co-workers.”

"The Berry Administration wants employees to have zero rights, their message is if you work for the City, you can't be an American." Casey Padilla, Executive Vice President of AFSCME Council 18 and President of Local 624, ABQ City Blue Collar Union.

Mayor Berry continues to have strangely high approval ratings, but now that his leadership has landed Albuquerque in a negative national spotlight, he’s making a move to limit exposure arises from the voice of people who know him best, ABQ City Employees.

As reported by Dan McKay in today’s ABQ Journal, sections of the new policy prohibit the use of “insulting, abusive or offensive communications,” whether the person is on or off duty.

Peter Simonson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, says the proposal isn’t legal and calls the proposal unconstitutionally vague. 

TAKE ACTION: Send a Letter to ABQ Area Papers and Media Outlets NOW!

READ the Controvertial Policy Proposal Here (PDF)

“Obviously, those are subjective determinations about what makes speech insulting, abusive or offensive,” he said. “But the government certainly doesn’t have the authority to prohibit employees when they are off duty from having those kinds of communications...”

For the Berry Administration and their cohorts, like Governor Martinez, the move represents glaring hypocrisy. Both politicians ran on a promise of transparency and an open process, and both go to great lengths to avoid sharing public information that could implicate them in activities that run counter to the public interest.

Martinez and Berry share tactics, fund raising sources, and even staff. “Governor Martinez and Mayor Berry constantly try to overstep their authority and manipulate the law for their own gain.  This latest ploy by Mayor Berry and his administration will not stand," said Connie Derr, AFSCME Council 18 Executive Director

In a rare alliance, AFSCME is finding support among Tea Party-style activists who are crying foul on the Administration’s overreach in crafting a social media policy shredding city employees' first amendment rights.

Please call the Mayor’s Office Right between 8-5 at 505-768-3000 Tell him, “I’m an American, I have first amendment rights, and intend to keep using them. Please abandon your proposed policy that violates my rights as an American, as a tax payer, as a union member to express my opinions freely!”

The Mayor’s anti-free speech policy goes up for public comment tomorrow, Friday, May 16 2014, 2 pm at City Hall.

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