There is a dangerous resolution that jeopardizes everything from our right to organize to Medicare and Social Security that has made a last-minute push through the Senate. We have to stop Senate Joint Resolution 12, which calls for a national constitutional convention, and we need calls and emails now.
Gov. Martinez is still looking to cut state employee pay, or even furlough or lay off state workers. Now is the time to act.
With nine days left in the session, Democratic legislators have stepped up to close our deficit by closing loopholes and giveaways to big corporations. Unfortunately, Gov. Martinez is already threatening to veto new revenue--she won't even close the special loophole that allows people who make their money investing on Wall Street to dodge half of New Mexico taxes.
Just because Gov. Martinez won't close big loopholes for her friends doesn't mean she doesn't have a plan:
Here's her plan: cut pay for state employees by 3.5%. How much is that?
Brothers and Sisters, if you're ever going to be active, this is it. Take this seriously. Gov. Martinez already exempted teachers from the pay cuts because she got so much bad press and so many calls and emails. Many of you have already made calls and sent emails, but now we need ALL of us.
Call and email to say "don't cut state employee pay to balance the budget". Tell a personal story if you want to. If you can come up to the Roundhouse, call or text Carter at 505-463-8499 and we'll get you in front of key legislators. Don't go down without a fight. Take action TODAY!
While the budget is the big game in town for thousands of AFSCME members and other state employees, we've been logging victories for workers in other areas. This week we worked with our legislative friends to win committee votes for:
*A Corrections Officer, Detention Officer, and Probation and Parole Officer Bill of Rights (a unanimous vote).
*A bill to end taxpayer giveaways to developers on a party line vote (with Democrats supporting us and Republicans all siding with Barclays Bank of London and their cronies).
*A bill to improve staffing levels in hospitals across the state, with AFSCME District 1199 nurses leading the way.
Please do your part by calling legislators about budget cuts this week, using your own phone and time. As always, be kind to the workers answering the phones.
Despite millions of big corporate dollars trying to buy elections, privatize our jobs, and eliminate unions, House Labor and Economic Development Democrats voted unanimously to support public sector workers. Not one Republican stood with us on so-called "right to work", and only one voted against privatization.
A big part of being involved in legislation--or any part of life--is to thank those who help us along the way.
So first, thank you to each and every one of you who called, emailed, and attended committee hearings to testify against these awful bills.
Second, let's please call and email these legislative heroes and leave a simple message of "Thank you for voting against right to work and privatization!" You'd be amazed how much it means to representatives and senators, who are used to being asked to do things and are rarely thanked.
CALL and Thank Legislators Who
Protected State Employees Now.
House Labor and Economic Development Committee Chair, Representative Bill McCamley speaking at 2016 AFSCME Red & Green Rally, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Call and all members of House Labor.
Notorious anti-union "Right to Work" legislation and privatization bill that outsources public services to be heard tomorrow, Saturday, February 25th, 9:00 a.m. at Roundhouse in Santa Fe.
Congressman Ben Ray Luján holds Town Hall on Saturday in Santa Fe to discuss healthcare and bad legislation that threatens care for New Mexicans
Join us at the House Labor Committee (will likely be held on the House Floor because we're expecting hundreds of people) to kill the anti-worker so-called "right to work" bill and to stop privatization of public sector jobs.
Take a moment to remember why so-called "right to work" is a total scam that makes the rich richer while exploiting and endangering working Americans.
If you want to testify, it's easy. Just line up when the committee chair asks you to. If you're unable to attend, please make calls or send emails today!
For "right to work", tell your story about how having a union has helped you and your co-workers--it could be about how important health care is, your retirement, or fairness at work.
For the privatization bill, make sure they know you don't want big corporations to take over your work, largely for the same reasons we don't want "right to work". If you don't want to testify, just having you there in AFSCME green sends a powerful message to legislators that we care about our jobs, our pay, and our benefits.
Sadly, all the Republicans in the House Labor Committee support lowering your pay, gutting your benefits, and privatizing your jobs. We're going to need a big showing by the House Labor Democrats to hold onto our jobs and rights.
One of the reasons why we lost the privatization vote in House Transportation is that, frankly, big business made calls and showed up in bigger numbers than we did. Thank you to those who did call--we need you and many more of our members and family members to make calls and emails now.
Ask them to VOTE NO on House Bill 275 (privatization) AND on House Bill 432 (so-called "right to work"). And we'll see you this Saturday in the Roundhouse. WEAR YOUR AFSCME GREEN!
Republican State Representative Larry Larranaga has tried for years to hand over public services to private, for-profit companies. If he succeeds, virtually every city, county, university, and state employee in New Mexico could lose your retirement, health care, and take a big pay cut.
Make Phone Calls and Write Emails NOW! (see below for committee targets)
This year, Rep. Larranaga's bill is House Bill 275, and it's being heard in the House Transportation Committee tomorrow, Thursday, February 16. He has all the Republican votes locked down, and since it's a 5-5 committee, that means that we need all 5 Democrats to be present and to vote "NO" on House Bill 275.
Don't let the big corporations take away your health care, retirement, and pay, just to fatten their profits. Make the calls NOW, and ask that each of these representatives votes NO on House Bill 275. Make the calls on your own phone and on your own time (like during lunch or a break), and be kind to the workers answering the phone. Thanks!
Budget negotiations are continuing, and we're pressing leaders in both chambers to just say "NO" to pay cuts. But Gov. Martinez is insisting that YOU give up $1,000-$2,000 of pay every year to make up for her deficit -- Governor Martinez's staff said just today that they intend to either cut pay or furlough workers.
Well, not if we fight back hard enough! Keep calls going to Gov. Martinez' office at 505-476-2200 and say "balance the budget WITHOUT pay cuts to public employees!"
See another action call below: STOP Privatization of public sector jobs.
PUBLIC SAFETY UPDATES
Meanwhile, there's lots of other action. Earlier today, in a unanimous, bipartisan vote, the Consumer and Public Affairs Committee passed House Bill 44, which toughens penalties against people who attack CYFD workers. That bill now goes to the House Judiciary Committee.
We're also working with our Corrections Officers to pass a CO Bill of Rights similar to that which police officers already enjoy. This bill will ensure fair treatment and due process during internal investigations.
AFSCME is also coordinating with the Association of Counties and bill sponsors to ensure that our Juvenile and Adult Corrections and Detentions Officers have the ability to protect themselves, staff, and inmates by separating violent inmates from others when needed.
CLICK HERE to read statement by AFSCME Public Safety Local Presidents opposing restrictions on isolation / separation of inmates.
ACT NOW TO STOP PRIVATIZATION OF YOUR JOBS!
So far we've been able to protect our members' jobs against privatization in at least one of the bills relating to infrastructure, Senate Bill 143. It's being sponsored by...READ more
Gov. Martinez gave her state of the state address today, and while there were some positive general statements, the overall message was a big disappointment.
Let's first find common ground: Gov. Martinez claims she wants to find bipartisan solutions to our budget problems. She also said good things about some of our members--mostly those who work in public safety, including those in CYFD and the Department of Corrections.
Talk is nice, and we agree that those who work for the state, who are already understaffed and underpaid, deserve our respect, thanks, and support. While Gov. Martinez gave respect and thanks, it's on the support issue--changing talk into action--that we need to move her.
She still plans to ask for YOU--everyone reading this who works for the state or for a university, or for public schools, to take a 3.5% pay cut to balance the budget. And nobody else. Her budget has even MORE corporate tax cuts coming next year, and it protects loopholes for Wall Street gamblers and out-of-state corporations.
So while everyone likes a nice compliment, not many of us would take a compliment if it was backed up with "hey, now fork over $2,000--each of you and your families--to pay for Wall Street loopholes."
People who make their money in the stock market pay HALF of what you do in personal income tax. And she's asking you to fork over thousands of dollars? Every year? That's not just wrong, it's hypocritical for someone who says she cares about our public safety and other workers.
The good news is that your union is already at the Roundhouse talking to both Democrats and Republicans...
After creating a $300 million deficit at a time when other states are running surpluses, Gov. Martinez announced yesterday that she plans to make up the deficit by taking anywhere from $700 to $2,000 from each and every state and university employee in New Mexico.
Call Gov. Martinez' office [505-476-2200] and tell her that public employees should not pay for her deficit. "Please don't balance the budget by using pay cuts of any kind--including pension pay swaps--on public employees"
Show respect to the person answering the phones!
The centerpiece of her proposal to make up her own deficit is to enact a 3.5% pay cut for every state and university employee. She's calling it a "pension pay swap", but all it means is that you take home less and the state keeps all that money--none of it actually stays with the pension funds. It's a pay cut, pure and simple.
Here's what the Martinez cuts mean for you:
The worst part is that there are so many easier, fairer fixes that are better for our economy than picking the pockets of hard-working families. She could close the Wall....
The 2016 elections gave New Mexico's workers a bigger, stronger voice in Santa Fe, but presented new threats to workers' rights with a right-wing takeover of Washington.
To those of you who voted, no matter who for, thank you for participating. And special thanks to our army of volunteers, who made New Mexico the brightest spot in the entire country for pro-worker candidates and policies.
We'll have more on how to fight back against the new anti-union world of DC in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, here are the results from the 2016 elections.
President: AFSCME-endorsed Hillary Clinton carried New Mexico's five electoral votes by 8.5 points, 48.4%-39.9%. Former NM Governor Gary Johnson took just over 9%. Donald Trump, who has pledged to make so-called “right to work” the law of the land and to appoint judges who will decimate worker rights, won a decisive victory. Our best hope is that Senate Democrats can slow down the onslaught of anti-worker legislation in Washington, but their job will be a difficult one.
CD1: In this recently swing seat, close AFSCME ally Michelle Lujan Grisham routed her opponent 65%-35%.
CD2: Incumbent Republican Steve Pearce, a consistent opponent of workers, easily fended off his challenger, Merrie Lee Soules, 62%-38%.
CD3: DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan, one of AFSCME's strongest friends in the state, coasted to a 63%-37% win.
Due to the scandal-driven resignation of Secretary of State Dianna Duran, the office was up for election out-of-cycle for statewide races.
AFSCME-endorsed candidate Maggie Toulouse Oliver won convincingly (56.6%-43.4%) over Nora Espinoza, giving New Mexicans competent and fair elections for the next two years until she has to run again.
State House of Representatives
While at least one race is too close to call, AFSCME endorsed candidates will re-take the New Mexico House of Representatives. We successfully fended off challenges to two of our champion incumbents and even won a very difficult open seat in HD 32
AFSCME endorsed candidates did better than expected, winning at least four and possibly picking up six, giving working families as high as a 39-31 majority depending on...
New Mexico can rise up on November 8th. I don't know about you, but I'm deeply troubled by the continuous and dangerous cuts to public services being pushed by Governor Martinez and her allies.
These cuts are holding New Mexico down.
Please make your plan to be a voter. Our UNION votes can tip the scales and help elect candidates pledged to protect our jobs from outsourcing, our pensions from becoming 401Ks, and our communities from cuts.
AFT President Randi Weingarten and NM Senator Michael Sanchez rally union members for GOTV effort in Valencia County
Opportunities to Volunteer
UNION Members Turn Out Big-Time to WIN Valencia County!
Over 75 Union members representing AFSCME Locals, teacher's union members, public safety locals, and many building trades showed up in Belen last night to hear from working family champ, Senator Michael Sanchez and National President for the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten. Members then hit the road and knocked on doors to mobilize union voters across Valencia County.
"We are fighting for the heart and soul of our country, if we work hard enough we can take back the New Mexico House of Representatives, and strengthen the Senate. We have $17 billion in New Mexico's permanent fund, and a bill that would help fund early childhood education to help make sure our children are not hungry, that they end up in our universities and not our prisons. The Governor won't even allow this good bill to be heard.
The Governor's policies will never lift up New Mexico. She is spending $2 million to attack me because I've played my part in stopping the worst kind of legislation. If I'm reelected we will continue to have Labor's back because you have always had our backs. I'm never going to break and don't you doubt it! We don't simply talk about family values, we LIVE family values!"
Michael Sanchez, New Mexico Senate District 29
"We're here to walk for Michael. Why is the Governor spending as much as they can find to fight Senator Michael Sanchez? Because he takes the moral route, not the easiest route. Susana Martinez cuts and cuts and cuts, and tries to undermine anyone who tries to be a check and balance. Every single one of our beliefs rests on Senator Sanchez's shoulders, and the broader community needs to know what that means!"
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
GET OUT THE VOTE New Mexico!
UNION members and retirees can earn $12/hour volunteering to help elect pro-worker state legislators, a secretary of state, and president.
Gov. Martinez and the House Republicans tried to balance the budget largely by cutting workers' pay and stealing from the pension fund. Thanks to your calls, emails, and AFSCME being at the Roundhouse throughout the session, our Democratic allies in the House and a bipartisan coalition in the Senate were able to stop pay-cuts, furloughs, layoffs, and pension raids -- for now.
State agencies must now figure out how to handle nearly $190 Million in cuts to this year's operating budgets. The 60 day legislative session beginning in January will be brutal IF WE DON'T TAKE BACK THE HOUSE in November!
This has gone on long enough! Here are three things every Union member needs to do right now:
Gov. Martinez and House Republicans have succeeded in hacking public service budgets straight to the bone while coddling the wealthy and large out-of state corporations. Not one solitary tax loophole was closed. The rich and powerful friends of the Governor were held harmless from paying their share during this crisis.
Step up to the plate if you like your job! For the price of ONE cup of coffee a week, you'll help take back the NM House of Representatives for working New Mexicans."
- Ken Long - President Local 1211, Department of Transportation, Highway Maintainer
WE CAN pass fair taxation laws, and close ridiculous tax giveaways for the rich so that wicked and harmful cuts to public services end.
Gov. Martinez and House Republicans have bankrupted the state over the last few years, turning a healthy $300 million surplus into a $460 million deficit. Those of you working for the state or a university live through those cuts every day.
We must now brace for more cuts in 2017, because Republicans insist on not only keeping all the tax cuts they've given to rich Wall Street gamblers and out-of-state corporations, but they actually just voted to lower corporate tax rates further over the next few years.
Most agencies will now face cuts of 5.5% to this year’s budgets. University costs are going to go up, and every last bit of reserves and unspent money is gone.
We hate saying that one party or the other is to blame, but every single Republican in both chambers voted to lower corporate tax rates during this crisis as we struggle to keep public services afloat. Democrats voted overwhelmingly to make rich out-of-state corporations pay their fair-share and help solve Gov. Martinez' mess.
Instead of Republicans giving money to rich Wall Street players and big corporations, we should be taking that money and using it to prevent crimes by investing in the work that AFSCME members do, from CYFD to police to corrections to social services to K-12 and higher education.
To distract voters from the economic disaster Republicans have brought upon our families, Gov. Martinez will try to make this election about the death penalty.
Whether you agree with the death penalty or not, the truth is that New Mexico has only executed one person in the last 30 years and spent over $100 million on death penalty cases. As we attempt to solve this budget crisis, it is a huge distraction from the high crime and terrible economy Gov. Martinez, House Republicans, and Albuquerque Mayor R.J. Berry have created in New Mexico.
"I fight every day to protect and better the lives of New Mexico children whose lives have turned upside-down.
We don't have to take more cuts if we don't want to. We don't have to risk paycuts, cuts to our facility resources, or layoffs in the next fiscal year.
We cannot stand by and watch our state get driven into bankruptcy and high crime.
Join PEOPLE. GO vote on the entire House and Senate this year, and for governor in 2018."
- Ben Chavez, President Local 1536, YPO II, Intake Officer - Bernalillo County Youth Services Center
The last day to register (or re-register at your new address if you've moved) is Tuesday, October 11th. You can go to www.sos.state.nm.us to register or re-register, but do it today, and make sure you have a plan to vote on or before November 8th.
There are over 50,000 Union-family voters we must reach. So far, over 100 of your fellow union members have volunteered. We've held 3,700 phone conversations and knocked on 1,100 doors, but it's not enough!
50,000 votes is enough to change the face of state politics and help New Mexico return to a more working family-friendly agenda. With your help, we can knock on EVERY UNION DOOR, speak with every union family member, and WIN big in NOVEMBER!
AFSCME members, here's some truth. There are some candidates who support working families and our public service careers better than others.
Last night New Mexico primary voters came out in record numbers and placed a slew of working family supportive candidates onto the November ballot, and New Mexico women led the way.
If you're motivated to protect our pensions, see fair raises, and have the tools necessary to perform our jobs, then get motivated, get registered to vote, and start volunteering for the working family candidates who support New Mexico, and support your careers.
Here is the wrap up from last night's NMPrimary!
Secretary Clinton carried New Mexico with 52% of the vote. AFSCME members and staff volunteered in phonebanks and canvasses for Hillary for America in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces, as well as emailing and mailing our entire membership multiple times about the endorsement.
DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan (CD3) and Democratic incumbent Michelle Lujan Grisham (CD1) were unopposed. The sister of AFSCME ally and State Senator Bill Soules, Merrie Lee Soules, was unopposed in her quest for the Democratic nomination in CD2 to take on Tea Party Republican incumbent Steve Pearce. There are no U.S. Senate races in 2016 in New Mexico.
MEET East Side Capitol - 10AMdetails: 505-266-2505 or AFSCME18.org
Feb 6th - RALLY
MEET EAST ENTRANCE, State Capitol 10AM
Lunch Provided, call Local Presidents for transportation options
details: 505-266-2505 or AFSCME18.org
We believe in a better and rising New Mexico. Now we need the Governor to believe and invest budget surpluses in NM families - NOT ineffective tax cuts for wealthy few!
Be there February 5th and 6th, We're the Red and Green Machine! We're CWA and AFSCME union members and we mean to be seen. Take action in 2016.
Before the Lobby / Rally Events on 2/5 and 2/6, please take a moment to write a letter in your own words to your home town state legislators.
CLICK HERE to write letter in support of New Mexico public employees providing the services which tax payers expect, pay for, and deserve. Its time! 2016 is a year of hope where we'll fight to make major improvements for NM public services and our jobs.
Only 6 days until the Albuquerque City Council elections end--let's put candidates in office who care about workers and our families!
***see below for paid member-volunteer opportunities CALL 505-262-2629
MAKE SURE YOU ARE A VOTER!
First rule of "I'm a Voter" club: VOTE! If you're registered in the City of Albuquerque, please vote for these candidates, endorsed by AFSCME members who work for the City of Albuquerque or Water Utility:
District 2: Ike Benton (unopposed incumbent)
District 4: Israel Chavez (challenger)
District 6: Pat Davis (open seat)
If you're registered to vote anywhere in the City of Albuquerque, you can vote at any of the 12 locations around Albuquerqueweekdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October 2nd. EARLY VOTING ENDS THIS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2ND! The two sites listed below are the most convenient for most voters in the competitive city council districts:
Easiest site for most voters in District 4: North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center, 7521 Carmel Ave. NE (on Wyoming north of Paseo del Norte)
Easiest site for most voters in District 6: Veterans Memorial 1100 Louisiana SE (at Gibson)
After this Friday afternoon, your last chance to vote will be on Tuesday, October 6th, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. We'll send out the longer list of Tuesday's polling locations before Tuesday.
VOLUNTEER AND RECEIVE A $12/HOUR STIPEND!
We need to make sure as many members and retirees as possible know how important it is to elect Israel Chavez in District 4 and Pat Davis in District 6. Union members and retirees will earn a $12/hour stipend for phoning, canvassing, and lit dropping over the next 6 days. Everything is run out of the AFSCME Hall at 1202 Pennsylvania NE (just north of Mountain). Call 505-350-2200 for info.
Wednesday, September 30th: Phonebanking, 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 1st: Phonebanking, 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 3rd: Lit drop (this means you don't have to knock on doors or talk to voters--just leave our member-to-member literature with information about our endorsed candidates and voting information)
10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Please show up by 10:00, and we'll get you a packet that fits the length of time you can lit drop. We want to make sure all of our members get literature by the end of Saturday and that all of our packets are finished, so if you want to stay a bit longer than usual and earn more, we'll make sure you get a bigger list of members to drop off lit for.
Monday, October 5th: Phonebanking, canvassing, and lit drops, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 6th--last day to vote: Phonebanking, canvassing, and lit drops, 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
The next 28 days are critical for all AFSCME members, because WE get to determine how well protected our pensions for all public employees are and WE get to decide how the largest city in the state--which employs thousands of AFSCME members--is run.
PERA ELECTION--SEND IN BALLOTS NOW!
Our PERA retirees have to have ballots received by the Santa Fe post office by noon on Friday, September 18th, so get you ballot in the mail today! Please consider voting for AFSCME retiree Gerald Chavez--our active and retired members on the PEOPLE Committee overwhelmingly voted to endorse Gerald Chavez on the recommendation of our Retiree Chapter because they believe Gerald has the best experience and vision to protect the PERA fund for years to come!
ALBUQUERQUE ELECTIONS--VOTING STARTS TODAY!
Even though the last day to vote for Albuquerque City Council is October 6th, you can early vote starting today. You never know when you'll have a sick kid, have to travel, face bad weather, have other commitments, or simply be too busy on the last day of the election to vote, so we strongly encourage everyone to vote as soon as possible. Plus, traffic will be tougher than usual on October 6th because of Balloon Fiesta, so take advantage of early voting!
Everyone in Albuquerque gets to vote this year, because there are important bond questions city wide. But of particular concern for our members, we have two contested races for city council, and need both of our PEOPLE Committee members' endorsed candidates to win to be able to override Mayor R.J. Berry's vetoes.
Our members have endorsed the following candidates:
Our PEOPLE Convention--AFSCME's big political convention that only meets once every two years--is coming up this weekend. We already have over 70 RSVPs already, so join your co-workers to help chart the course for the next two years of AFSCME's future. Remember, PEOPLE members at the convention will elect our statewide PEOPLE Committee who make key endorsement decisions for the 2016 elections, so don't miss this chance to have a say in who we endorse and support!
Hours: Registration and lunch starting at 11:00 a.m.
Convention from noon-5:00 p.m.
Barbeque from 5:00-7:00 p.m.
LET US KNOW IF YOU'RE COMING SO WE CAN PLAN!
Whether you are staying at the Sheraton or not, PLEASE RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
You can also call Carter at 505-463-8499 or Josh at 505-350-2200 to RSVP or if you have questions.
Remember, you have to be an AFSCME member or retiree who is also a PEOPLE member to attend. AFSCME member's family members are also eligible to join PEOPLE. PEOPLE is our fund that allows us to help elect leaders who will fight for us at the Roundhouse, at city councils, in mayor's offices, at county commissions, and even in Washington, D.C. You can even join PEOPLE at the door!
The Sheraton Uptown has been kind enough to provide us with a specific link for our PEOPLE members (or those who want to join PEOPLE on or before Saturday, May 16th) who want to book a hotel room for our May 16th PEOPLE Convention.
AFSCME PEOPLE member attendees can make reservations through Sheraton's Central Reservations at 1-800-325-3535 referencing the AFSCME rate for May 16th at the Sheraton Uptown in Albuquerque or by using the link here:
For anyone over an hour and a half away from Albuquerque who attends the full convention, we'll pay for your hotel room at the Sheraton Uptown (at Louisiana and Menaul NE) based on PEOPLE member double occupancy at our special AFSCME rate. That means that if you have two PEOPLE members in the room, your whole room is paid for. If you want to bring someone who is not a PEOPLE member or if you want a room to yourself, we'll pay for your half of the room. YOU WILL HAVE TO MAKE YOUR OWN RESERVATIONS AND PAY, AND KEEP THE RECEIPT TO SUBMIT FOR REIMBURSEMENT.
AFSCME is getting a very good rate of $83 (about $94 after all taxes and fees), but the rooms will go quickly, and there's no guarantee that if you wait too long the rooms (or rooms at the AFSCME rate) will still be available. No incidentals (movies, room service, etc.) will be eligible for reimbursement--we'll have free lunch and dinner at the PEOPLE convention.
LOCALS CAN ALSO PAY FOR HOTELS FOR PEOPLE MEMBERS CLOSER THAN 1.5 HOURS FROM ALBUQUERQUE OR IF THEY DON'T WANT TO DOUBLE UP.
GOOD BIPARTISAN PRO-WORKER BILL PASSES SENATE JUDICIARY
House Bill 341 (Representative Hall, R-Albuquerque) passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a unanimous, bipartisan vote a few minutes ago with AFSCME testifying in support. This bill provides for repayment of student loans for CYFD employees, depending on years of service and size of debt.
With all of the difficulty recruiting and retaining workers in CYFD, who do some of the hardest, most stressful, and most important life-or-death jobs in the entire state, this is a truly good piece of legislation. Taxpayers win, workers win, and New Mexico's kids win. CYFD Secretary Monique Jacobson and Director Helen Quintana have been very supportive, and the bill was presented tonight by strong AFSCME ally Representative Doreen Gallegos (D-Las Cruces).
HB 341 still has to pass the Senate Finance Committee, but funding for the bill is already included in the budget so hopefully we'll keep our momentum going to the Senate Floor, which is the last stop after Senate Finance. It would be nice to manage at least one or two positive pieces of legislation out of a session where it seems like mostly workers are fighting for their most basic rights and for the right of employee organizations to even exist.
FOUR AND A HALF DAYS LEFT--LET US KNOW IF YOU HEAR OF ANY SURPRISE ATTACKS
It's eerily quiet on the so-called "right to work" front. We defeated the bills in Senate Public Affairs a week ago, and there's a possibility--knock on wood--that the bills are done for the session. On the other hand, we know the big money corporations and their political minions don't give up easily. They could try to sneak this terrible legislation onto the floor using a number of different tactics, so if you hear anything (and sometimes workers are the first to hear--we guarantee you they aren't tipping their hand to those of us in the Roundhouse), please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Another possibility is that Governor Martinez may bring up so-called right to work in a special session, especially if Sen. Phil Griego's vacant seat is filled by an anti-worker extremist. Either way, let's all be vigilant and sound the alarm as soon as possible if we hear anything.
1st Call to Action: Join New Mexico Voices for Children to champion kids and THEIR WORKING PARENTS' rights DURING OUR WEEKLY MORAL MONDAY, 12 noon on the EAST side of the ROUNDHOUSE.
2nd Call to Action: All COMMUNITY PARTNERS, union affiliates' leadership and office staff COME UP THIS TUESDAY BY 12:30 PM and have your voice heard on Anti-worker Legislation (House Bill 75) before the House Judiciary Committee (Room 309).
Labor 2014 is in full swing in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Cruces! We started our phonebanks in Santa Fe and Las Cruces, and of course Albuquerque is going strong. We can't do it without you! (Psst...there's always good food and snacks, too!)
We're going to do everything we can to protect that quality of life and to improve it by making sure that Gov. Martinez and her anti-worker allies don't roll back decades of progress for working families.
We HAVE to let other union members know which candidates have been on our side, and which want to end any type of worker rights.
For union members and retirees only, we'll be paying a $12/hour stipend for phonebanking and canvassing in the Labor 2014 member-to-member program starting on Tuesday, September 2nd in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Cruces.
#OurNewMexico #SaveNewMexico #Labor2014
Labor 2014 - Get Out the VOTE!
Even though the House has yet to pass a budget, given how close we are to the end of the session, the Senate has taken the highly unusual step of going forward with their own version of the budget before the House version is sent to them.
The Senate Finance Committee just finished adopting a budget, and the 3% across the board raise for state employees has survived yet another hurdle. The university employee across the board raise is 1.5% with legislators in both chambers and both parties expecting universities to make up the other 1.5% from their other revenue sources (which we're hearing may be a difficult battle, but that's the explanation for why university raises were 1.5% instead of the 3% for state employees).
Get calls and emails in to senate leaders outside of the Senate Finance Committee and ask them to SUPPORT a 3% raise for state and university employees in the budget. Please continue being professional but firm as you have been throughout the session. Regardless of whether this becomes the final budget, we want as many versions of the budget as possible to contain a 3% raise for public employees as the session comes to an end (and in preparation for a possible special session). Thanks!
A few minutes ago the House Appropriations and Finance Committee voted 11-6 to table the last surviving double dipping bill on the House side this session. Your calls and emails made a big difference in protecting our pension plans from upper management raiding PERA for their own gain.
Meanwhile, yesterday the Senate voted on almost a pure party line vote to allow New Mexican voters to decide whether we should raise the minimum wage and to protect the minimum wage in the constitution (Senate Joint Resolution 13). Only Sen. John Arthur Smith (D-Deming) joined the Republicans in opposing the minimum wage, so your calls to Sen. Papen, Sen. Munoz, and Sen. Griego paid off.
This weekend's action is to call and email two representatives and ask them to SUPPORT Senate Joint Resolution 13:
And please continue your prayers and thoughts for Representatives Ernie Chavez (D-Albuquerque) and Philip Archuleta (D-Las Cruces) as they try to recover in time to make critical votes affecting hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans.
We were joined in the Roundhouse Rotunda by State Senators Michael Padilla, Tim Keller, and Howie Morales as well as AFSCME's endorsed candidate for mayor of Santa Fe, Javier Gonzales.
Council 18 President Patrick Gutierrez and Executive Director Connie Derr gave rousing speeches.
Afterwards our members split into four packs to cover each and every one of the 112 legislators' offices in the Roundhouse and Annex, led by our lobby team of Patrick Gutierrez, Casey Padilla, Linda Garcia, Adam Chavarria, Barb Pardo, Eric Simon, and Benito Lujan (Mark Flournoy has also been doing great work on our lobby team but had to be out of the Roundhouse today).
The message was simple: when times were tough, we all took across-the-board cuts to balance the state budget. Now that we've had back-to-back years of major general fund revenue growth, it's time to start making up for some of those sacrifices. Governor Martinez has offered a ZERO percent across-the-board raise. Nothing. Legislators, many of whom are being told that any real raise will be vetoed, have only come forward with a 1.5% raise proposal. It's up to all of us to let them know that anything less than 3% just puts us further behind.
We knew it was coming, it's just hard to believe it when it actually happens. Gov. Martinez is moving full steam ahead with her plan to freeze state employee pay with 2 exceptions: a small number of job titles (mostly limited to only some public safety) and small increases to be given out on the basis of who political appointees like best.
THIS IS WRONG! When state and university employees were asked to sacrifice over the last five years to balance the budget, the cuts were across-the-board. When inflation goes up at about 2% per year, the cuts to real take home pay are across-the-board.
Go direct to your Legislators with the Issues Affecting REAL New Mexicans!
AFSCME green shirts will dominate the Roundhouse on Tuesday, January 28, at 9:30 a.m. in the Rotunda of the Roundhouse. Be there to hear inspiring words from our legislative allies and make your voice heard as you and your sisters and brothers talk to legislators about the issues that are important to us!
Happy New Year! We hope you had a great holiday season with your families and are rested and ready to take on the challenges of 2014.
From governor to state legislators to city and county elections to federal races, there will be plenty on our plate this year. And that's to say nothing of the legislative battles we'll face at the Roundhouse and in city council and county commission chambers all over the state.
The first big races of the year will be our municipal races (other than Albuquerque, which just finished in November). AFSCME Local 3999's PEOPLE Committee has made endorsements for the 2014 Santa Fe City Council and Mayoral races, and they are as follows:
Mayor: Javier Gonzales
District 1: Signe Lindell
District 2: Dual endorsement: Mary Louise Bonney and Rad Acton
We are in the process of setting up a member-to-member campaign, some of which will be in conjunction with the Northern New Mexico Central Labor Council. While that structure is being established, our members and retirees are still free to volunteer (no stipend available due to campaign finance laws) for Javier Gonzales' campaign for mayor:
WHAT: Kickoff canvass for Javier Gonzales for Santa Fe Mayor
WHERE: Gonzales for Mayor HQ, Center for Progress and Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Rd. (across from the Indian School)
DATE: Saturday, January 4th
TIME: 10:00 a.m.
RSVP: If you know you'll make it, please RSVP to Sarah Aagard at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you decide to join us at the last minute, you're still welcome! Either way, let them know you're an AFSCME member or retiree or family member. Thanks!
Who squashed YEARS of raises for AFSCME's hard working ABQ city employees? Answer: Mayor R.J. Berry
What's the only entity that has the authority to put a CHECK on how Berry spends your tax dollars? Answer: ABQ City Council
Who has the power to elect a Warrior for Working People -- Diane Gibson -- to City Council on November 19th? Answer: YOU!!!
In his first major act following re-election, Mayor Richard J Berry saw fit to give his top executive a 22%, $33,000 raise. By doing so, Berry confirmed what AFSCME has been saying all along; that he is out of touch with the plight of everyday working Burquenos who struggle to pay the bills, keep a roof over their heads, and food on the table.
Representative Georgene Louis (Dist 26) delivered the keynote message for a telephone press conference spelling out how Sequestration has begun impacting New Mexico's public and private sector employees, services, and the economy. "The budget debate we are hearing out of Washington seems disconnected from the reality and the needs we see here in New Mexico," said Representative Louis. Seven leaders from labor and community organizations joined the call hosted by AFSCME Council 18 and described the real peril our state faces as effects of sequester cuts take hold.
The press conference took place prior to a rally in downtown Albuquerque organized by the American Federation of Government Employees outside the Social Security Offices. The actions in New Mexico were part of nationwide efforts this week by labor and progressive organizations to begin putting a face to sequestration.
State Rep. Georgene Louis and Community Members Hold Press Conference Call
to Outline New Mexico Specific Sequestration Cuts and Potential Effects of the Ryan Budget
ABQ, NM- In New Mexico, the impact of sequestration is just now being realized, and the proposed Ryan Budget could lead to even more job killing cuts for the state. AFSCME Council 18 and other community members will hold a tele-press conference call on March 20, 2013 at 9:30 AM to discuss sequestration and the Ryan Budget.
The massive and arbitrary budget cuts known as sequestration will seriously hurt New Mexico. The state is bracing for massive job losses, vital services cuts and a state-wide economic slowdown. The GOP backed Ryan Budget could mean even more bad news for New Mexico.
We say it a lot, but bears repeating, everything is at stake for AFSCME members during a New Mexico or Federal legislative session.
A huge thank you to Carter Bundy and Josh Anderson for their unrivaled tenacity, fighting not only for AFSCME members, but ALL workers' rights. They survive and thrve on little sleep for sixty days and are right back to it this Monday morning, keeping the foot on the gas for our green machine.
Our lobby team of Stephen Perkins, Eric Allen, Barb Pardo, Joaquin Maestas, Linda Landez Garcia, and Tony Garcia were some of the best lobbyists in the building. YOUR Member emails, phone calls, and visits, kept pressure on Legislators to remember public employees, and all working people, before every vote they took.
Gov Martinez's Last-hour Corporate Tax Breaks Would CRUSH County and City Budgets
NO DEAL IS BETTER THAN A BAD DEAL
Less than 11 hours remain in the legislative session, and it looks like Governor Martinez' threats to veto the budget are causing legislative leaders in both chambers and in both parties to cave on important tax and revenue issues. Of course, that is the power of a Governor--having veto power makes her the most powerful person in the state--but it looks like Senators and Representatives may be willing to give away the store to out-of-state corporations to avoid a special session.
The legislature would be better off calling Governor Martinez' bluff on the budget. If she then signs it, that's fine. If she doesn't, then the legislature can come back in a special session to see if we can get a budget without big corporate tax giveaways. No deal is better than a bad deal.
Call House and Senate leadership and ask them to OPPOSE 3 THINGS:
1. OPPOSE CORPORATE TAX RATE CUTS;
2 OPPOSE "SINGLE SALES FACTOR" CALCULATIONS; AND
3. OPPOSE ENDING HOLD HARMLESS PAYMENTS.
Our Department of Transportation members can breathe easier tonight knowing that a massive privatization bill--with almost no protections for taxpayers or employees--was just defeated on a 7-3 bipartisan vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Thanks to everyone who called and emailed!
5 of 6 Democrats voted with workers and taxpayers, and 2 of 4 Republicans also voted for fiscal responsibility and against special insider deals.
ONE MORE TERRIBLE PRIVATIZATION BILL NEEDS YOUR CALLS AND EMAILS NOW!
Two nightmare privatization bills are moving through the legislature. These bills are some of the worst in the country and allow for privatization of everything from janitorial and groundskeeping work to senior center staff to parks and rec staff to libraries to DOT employees to K-12 workers to museums to water utilities to wastewater to almost anything else done by public sector workers. Senate Bill 273 has the added nightmare of allowing toll roads and bridges all over our state.
If you're a state, university, city, county, water utility, or K-12 employee, the sleeper issue of this legislative session is that big developers and out-of-state companies are pushing legislation (HB405) that allows for privatization of virtually any job associated with operating or maintaining any public building, facility, infrastructure, water utility, road, rec center, senior center, or almost anything that taxpayers pay for.
On a party line vote, with all Democrats voting for and all Republicans voting against, our nurses in AFSCME 1199 won a major victory in the House Health, Government, and Indian Affairs Committee when House Bill 445 (sponsored by Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque) passed 6-5...read more
Governor Martinez has made it crystal clear that she'll line item veto a 3% raise, and she'll only accept even a 1% raise if the legislature caves to her on other issues that would hurt labor (and our education sisters and brothers in particular). But that doesn't mean we're not going to stop fighting for a bigger raise...read more
Senate Bill 27, which is the good PERA reform bill, and Senate Bill 115, which is the good ERB reform bill, are still awaiting hearings in Senate Finance....read more
AFSCME is fully committed to protecting the rights of Public Defender attorneys and support staff as the legislature finalizes the Public Defender Department's move to becoming an independent entity. Many PD attorneys and staff are represented by AFSCME, and the constitutional amendment in no way was intended to strip workers of their rights.
Just this afternoon the House floor voted to pass House Bill 2 (the budget bill) with the 1% raise in tact. We will be supporting an improvement to a 3% raise in the Senate, although there's no question Governor Martinez will veto a 3% raise. We'll get a good sense of who our friends in the Senate are, though.
Senate Bill 115 (Sen. Ingle, R-Portales) provides a long-term fix for the Educational Retirement Association, and has now been in Senate Finance for a week.Senate Bill 27 (Sen. Munoz, D-Gallup) puts PERA on a path to solvency and has also been in Senate Finance for a week.
The hold up has primarily been due to pressure from Governor Martinez to force employees to take a bigger hit in pension reform. The bills already put most of the changes on future hires, with less on current workers and least on retirees.
Employers are on the hook for a very small part of the PERA Board and ERB solutions. We need calls into the Senate Finance Committee asking them to vote FOR Senate Bills 27 and 115 with NO AMENDMENTS.
Put in emails and calls this week, and we may get the bills heard next Monday.
The House also has an ERA reform bill (HB 64, Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque) that has stalled in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee due to a battle among legislators over completely unrelated education funding.
This is what we call cross-fire in the legislature, and our education pension reform bill just got caught in it. However, there are many paths for that bill to be revived, and once the budget is finished in the House we expect HB 64 to be up for consideration again.
Thanks for your calls and emails in support of protecting our pensions--your activism paid off last night. Earlier Monday evening the Senate Judiciary Committee, with 9 of 10 members voting, approved the good PERA solvency bill (Senate Bill 27, sponsored by Sen. Munoz, D-Gallup) on a 9-0 vote.
Please call and email the NM Senate Finance Committee today and ask them email them to ask them to SUPPORT Senate Bill 27 with NO new amendments.
AFSCME activists took to the Roundhouse on Wednesday, Feb 6, and held a rally and press conference in the rotunda of the Roundhouse at 11:00 a.m. Then we sent out our Green Machine (wear your green!) to talk to legislators about key issues we face, like finally getting a raise after 4 years of pay cuts and saving our pension funds for decades to come.
100's of postacards were delivered to legislators,
Send a postcard to your State Legislators today! CLICK Here
TAKE TWO minutes add your own message to AFSCME Council 18's 2013 Legislative Message.
We're disappointment that Governor Martinez has put forth a budget proposal containing 0% raises for classified employees after 4 years of pay cuts. CLICK to send a postcard.
The state has balanced the budget on public employees’ backs over the past four fiscal years through the pension swaps, furloughs, and layoffs. We have smaller paychecks today than we did in 2008.
“The administration’s claim that an expiring 1.5% pension swap wasn’t a pay cut is dead wrong. That was money that used to be in my pocket, and the state used it to shore up the budget over the past four years,” Tim McGrew, AFSCME Council 18 Steward at Department of Aging and Long Term Services.
These pay cuts generated over $200 million for the general fund over four years.
The state has balanced the budget on public employees’ backs over the past four fiscal years through the pension swaps, furloughs, and layoffs. State employees have smaller paychecks today than they did in 2008.
“The administration’s claim that an expiring 1.5% pension swap wasn’t a pay cut is dead wrong. That was money that used to be in my pocket, and the state used it to shore up the budget over the past four years,” Tim McGrew, AFSCME Council 18 Steward at Department of Aging and Long Term Services.
We have been busy meeting with legislators, other lobbyists, and allies in preparation for the legislative session, and start off in a good position to end the pay cuts to state and university employees this year.
We've also built a strong coalition to reform pensions in a way that minimizes impact to current retirees and members, but pension reform is always a brutal battle, and we're going to need a strong, unified, active membership in order to preserve the best funds in America and to keep the retirement that our retirees and active members have earned. "Earned" is the key word: PERA and ERA are not handouts, they're something our members have earned over years of hard work, and we need those benefits there for decades to come.
Good Jobs for Santa Fe 2013 // SF City Council ACTION! Let's bring the city together - Good Jobs For All
Tuesday, January 8th at 5 pm
City Council Finance Committee meeting at City Hall, 200 Lincoln,(corner of Marcy and Lincoln)
Sunday, January 6th, at 5:00 - 8:00 pm.
Center for Progress and Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Road
We need to fight as hard as we can against repeal of the Community Workforce Agreement. If we lose this, we will be on a slippery downward slope toward “right to work” in Santa Fe. If the City Council thinks it can do this, the next step will be eliminating the automatic cost of living in our City minimum wage law. And after that, we will see the elimination of city collective bargaining. Union members should be concerned and involved.
Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone has enjoyed the relatively lower-activity window between the election and now. But elections are only the beginning.
We don't participate in elections to help one party or to elect friends. We participate to get results to make sure our members have the resources to provide the best quality services possible to New Mexicans. And you can't do that without battling at the legislative session for adequate staffing levels, adequate pay, preserving basic benefits like health care and retirement, and allowing workers a voice on the job.
We don't have an Election Day in New Mexico anymore--we have an ELECTION MONTH. You can vote NOW at your county clerk during normal business hours. November 6th isn't Election Day--it's the last day of Election Month. Don't wait for the last day to vote!
I just early voted Wednesday at the Santa Fe County Clerk's office. It was quick, easy, and now I don't have to worry about my boy getting sick on election day, last-minute lines, a northern NM snowstorm, or anything else--and we can spend all of our time on November 6th getting the folks who haven't voted early out on the last day of the election. Plus, if you vote early, campaigns will take you off of their calling and walking lists--and we'll have fewer voters we can concentrate on in November.
AFSCME has just released 3 videos featuring Richard Hayes, Temo Fuentes, and Joan Raymond, the public employees who picks up Mitt Romney's trash, and provide services to Romney's home and neighborhood in La Jolla. Please watch the videos and consider sharing them via social media.
These rallies are important to show politicians and the world that many of us understand that our problems have been created by Wall Street gambling and a lack of regulation, not by the hard working families of New Mexico and America--who are the ones suffering the most right now. If you're sick of the giant multinational corporate ownership of politics, this is just the start of how we fight back. Read more >>>
On Tuesday, October 4, the City of Albuquerque will hold its electionsfor four city council seats and bond issues. Polls are open from 7a.m. to 7 p.m., and you can find your polling location at www.cabq.gov under City Clerk.
American workers at events across the country this week urged their elected congressional representatives to quickly pass The American Jobs Act, President Barack Obama’s plan to put Americans back to work.
“It is time to rebuild the economy for those who have been under attack for decades – the middle class,” said Nellie Rosales, a worker at New Mexico State University and a founding member of AFSCME Local 2393 (Council 18).“The American Jobs Act will help put unemployed Las Cruces residents back to work, rebuilding our roads, bridges and schools. It’s time to get this country back on track, where hard work and responsibility are embraced.”
Albuquerque—Today the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) announced its support for Congressman Martin Heinrich’s bid for the Democratic nomination for United States Senate. New Mexico members on AFSCME’s political committee, PEOPLE, voted unanimously to recommend a national endorsement of the Congressman. Read more >>>
Elections directly affected the pay of our members, health care for all New Mexicans, and almost had a devastating impact on current workers' retirement plans. We're up against a combination of anti-government radicals in the Tea Party, monster insurance companies, huge out-of-state corporations with armies of lawyers and accountants to scam the state out of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, and politicians who take our members and the work they do for granted. Read more >>>