In this update:
KRQE's Larry Barker showed up for the 8th Annual AFSCME Public Safety Blue Breakfast and spoke with AFSCME Corrections Officers about the dangerous conditions they face everyday
For years, it has been a central focus of AFSCME Council 18 to pressure Governor Martinez's administration to address unsafe vacancy levels inside our state prisons. Working with our legislative allies, we succeeded in raising the pay for the newer recruits in July 2016, but the experienced career officers continue to be underpaid and overworked. This has led to high turnover and continuous high vacancy levels.
On March 20, KRQE aired a "Larry Barker Investigates" piece on the crisis at the state prisons. The public airing on Governor Martinez's neglect of the system puts more pressure on her administration to find solutions.
2017 AFSCME Public Safety Blue Breakfast is Biggest and Best Yet
Around 100 AFSCME members from across New Mexico attended AFSCME Council 18's Eighth Annual Public Safety Blue Breakfast in Santa Fe, at Garrett's Desert Inn, on February 23, 2017.
Opening Ceremony at AFSCME Council 18's 2017 Public Safety Blue Breakfast. CLICK HERE to see photos from this year's event
AFSCME corrections and detention officers, emergency medical professionals, security officers, police officers, sheriff's deputies, 911 dispatchers, and probation and parole officers met to celebrate their rewarding and difficult careers, learn from one another's experiences, hear the latest information on AFSCME's battles for safety, and take political action on issues affecting public safety jobs.
"We gather here every year to build power and demand a higher level of respect for public safety careers from our Governors and legislators," said Connie Derr, Council 18 Executive Director (pictured). "Life has been tough under the Martinez administration, as well as numerous anti-worker counties throughout the state. We will continuing to organize new members into our union and deliver strong representation. If we are to keep New Mexico communities, families, and ourselves safe, then we have no other choice but to keep up the struggle."
AFSCME members heard from several national experts in the field of public safety. Keynote speaker, Craig Floyd, CEO and founding president for the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund in Washington D.C., gave a moving tribute to public safety personnel. He spoke on the national movement to improve public perception of law enforcement officers. Council 18 and its affiliate Locals raised $5,000 for the memorial fund which was presented to Mr. Floyd during the event.
AFSCME International President, Lee Saunders sent a strong video message [CLICK] to the 8th annual gathering of Public Safety officers. AFSCME International union stands behind New Mexico public safety 100%.
US Attorney, Damon Martinez spoke on how the U.S. Department of Justice makes New Mexico communities safer. Bernalillo County District Attorney, Raul Torrez, spoke on his commitment to relentlessly pursue justice and prosecute crime wherever it exists. Members heard from the Legal Defense Fund administrator, Ed Fishman, on their efforts to strengthen rapid and effective legal representation for AFSCME members.
Immediately following the morning session, AFSCME members went to lobby their legislators on important legislation affecting our careers. Legislators in both the House and Senate passed Memorials declaring February 23, 2017 as "Correctional Officer and Detention Officer Day."
On March 21, The New Mexico public employee labor relations hearing officer conducted a hearing on Council 18's petition to bring collective bargaining rights to the lieutenants at San Miguel County Detention Center.
A decision on the accretion petition is expected by mid-April. When approved, the Lieutenants will be covered by the existing collective bargaining agreement between the county and Afscme Local 3103 which covers all officers through the position of sergeant.
You may be a star! Council 18 is working with New Mexico Union filmmakers to produce short pieces that highlight the amazing work you do everyday. Watch for opportunities to come tell your union story on film.
First under the lights, Daniel Dore , Secretary-Treasurer for Local 2499, Bernalillo Co. Metropolitan Detention Center
Thanks for reading, "Solidarity is how we win!"