AFSCME Council 18


For Immediate Release
Miles Conway 505-455-2853

Saturday’s Violent Incident Inside Prison Underscores Need for Legislature to Address Crisis of Vacancies at NM Corrections

NMCD in a catch-22: shutting down prison posts that enable safe family visits allows understaffed correctional officers to get needed rest, but has created a more violent prison population

Santa Fe, NM - On Saturday, February 6, just as nearly 100 American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) members were rallying at the state capitol building in support of increased funding to address dangerous understaffing inside New Mexico’s correctional facilities, a near-riot was developing at one of the state-run facilities.

Inmates became violent Saturday afternoon, and caused a critical incident, nearly causing officers to deploy gas and lethal force in order to regain order inside the prison.

AFSCME, who represents NM state correctional officers (COs) and support staff, understands fully the intent of the newly launched New Mexico Corrections Department program, “Operation Recovery and Staff Wellness,” aimed at giving COs much needed recovery time, but the reality is that the program has backfired in its first week.

Correctional officers’ primary goal is to keep conditions inside the prison system safe and calm. Elements of the new program, launched last week, involve shuttering special rehabilitation program posts and family visits one week per month so that officers can rest, and remain focused on critical security.

Current high vacancy rates are addressed by requiring officers work 72 hour work weeks, making adequate recovery time impossible. AFSCME believes that the new program is well intended, but represents a bandaid for a wound that can only be healed by hiring more officers across the state and increasing pay significantly to help stem the high rate of attrition plaguing the department.

AFSCME sees a direct link between Saturday’s incident and Governor Martinez’s policies affecting state employment. Officers are concerned that conditions will worsen if the GOP’s “feel good” bills become law, locking up more people up in prison without giving the department resources necessary to carry out these mandates.

“With money for corrections included in the current proposed budget, we are finally at the point where we can begin to address the issue with low pay and high turnover,” said AFSCME Council 18 Political Coordinator Josh Anderson. “Unfortunately, the Governor’s focus on increasing criminal penalties before addressing the challenges we face in corrections is putting the cart before the horse and could have us, once again, asking our COs to do more with less.”...READ MORE...

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State Employee Union Members Rally at Roundhouse: Call for Return to Reason in State Politics

AFSCME and CWA Union Members Say Skinny Winter Doesn’t Justify Neglect of Public Services Needs

Santa Fe, NM – On Saturday, February 6th, working people from across the state gathered for a rally at the Roundhouse. Over 100 union members rallied and called on legislators to invest in the people and services that make New Mexico run. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Communications Workers of America (CWA) members highlighted the direct impact that state workers have on the wellbeing of New Mexico communities.

Following the rally, AFSCME and CWA members lobbied legislators at the Roundhouse to tell their stories and engage them directly around the issues that matter to New Mexico families.....READ more

On January 11, AFSCME public safety members turned out for Council 18's Annual Public Safety Blue Breakfast & Lobby Day, in Santa Fe. 80+ members participated in the outstanding program of topical issues by recognized public safety leaders, sharing peer-to-peer information, and lobbying our NM legislature. This year marked the largest ever member turnout.

Chaplin José Villegas, Sr., who opened the event with an Invocation that connected faith with the dangerous jobs of our members, was a perfect fit. Chaplin Villegas is the named chaplain for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, City of Santa Fe police and fire departments, and the regional offices of the FBI. He has served as a corrections officer, law enforcement officer, and 911 dispatcher.

The two co-chairs of AFSCME Council 18’s Public Safety Steering Committee, Sammy Marquez, president, Espanola Police Officers’ Union Local 923, and Daniel Dore, executive board member, Metropolitan Detention Center Corrections Officers’ Union Local 2499, shared emceeing duties.

(pictured L toR: Sammy Marquez, Chaplain Villegas, Sr., Daniel Dore) 

The first roundtable discussion focused on victories, opportunities and challenges. The victories reported out were a much longer list and included membership involvement, positive relationship with administration and/or elected officials, overturned unjust disciplines, implementing longevity pay, long-overdue pay increases/winning wage theft grievances, safety upgrades, improved contract language, more trained stewards and facility bids. 

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Time for a unity ride on the Roundhouse! Public services matter! Wages we can sustain our families on are essential. Right to Work laws are a dangerous distraction and an attack on working families.


Feb 5th - AFSCME / CWA Lobby Day

AFSCME Members:
MEET East Side Capitol - 10AMdetails: 505-266-2505 or

Feb 6th - RALLY


Lunch Provided, call Local Presidents for transportation options
details: 505-266-2505 or

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.

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Frontlines: Winter 2016 - AFSCME New Mexico Steward Newsletter


Read the latest NM Works! newsletter for your legislative wrap up, official notification on the 2015 AFSCME People Convention, held May 16 in ABQ.


CLICK to read on Scribd: 
April 2015 AFSCME NM Works! Newsletter

Trouble? CLICK to Download PDF


Click to download and read on scribd. Call 505-266-2505 to make sure you're address is correct to receive a print copy.

January 20th, 2015:

The week of January 12, 2015, the State issued an additional 884 checks, to both current and former employees. To date, the State has conducted six special payrolls and issued approximately 5,800 checks. The next special payroll is scheduled for the week of January 26, 2015.

AFSCME membership continues to seek further information and keep the pressure on to complete the back payments as quickly as possible.'

See the latest update here:

AFSCME Council 18 represents more than 15,000 public employees across New Mexico. We perform many of the state's most important jobs—from childcare providers to corrections officers—and work to make sure our rights, our families and our communities are protected. To learn more about our union and meet our members, please take a moment to watch the following video. 

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