by Kevin Brown | March 13, 2015
SANTA FE, New Mexico – The right-to-work scam was voted down by the pro-worker majority on the New Mexico Senate Public Affairs Committee, a huge victory for labor and community activists who were speaking out against the controversial proposal in public hearings, rallies and town hall meetings.
By blocking the measure, the committee took a giant step toward saving New Mexico’s economy, and reaffirmed the importance of workers’ fundamental right to join together to advocate for better working conditions.
“I’d like to thank the members of the Senate committee who voted against this attack on the working men and women of New Mexico,” said Casper Cly, a member of the Laborers International Union of North America. “As a young man in the workforce, I strongly oppose legislation that would take away our voice and representation.”
The bill was defeated just a day after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker defied thousands of Wisconsinites by signing a right-to-work bill into law. New Mexico legislators, fortunately, saw the bill for what it really is—an attack on the middle class. After hearing more than two hours of public testimony from concerned citizens on Sunday, the eight-member committee voted to table the bill by a party line, 5-3.
“We are so grateful to the senators who helped to ensure the prosperity of New Mexico’s economy tonight by voting down terrible right-to-work legislation. We also want to thank the senators who protected the committee process and voted to stop the fast-tracking of HB 75 on the Senate floor, as well as the House members who fought valiantly to oppose right-to-work in their chamber,” said Brenda Watson, a librarian and member of AFSCME Local 477. “We look forward to all our elected officials working together toward solutions to benefit all of our state now that this distraction has been put to rest, and we will take action to protect against any Hail Mary moves to bring these dead bills back to life.”
This legislative session marks the first time the right-to-work scam was introduced in New Mexico since 1979 and 1981. In both years, then-Gov. Bruce King vetoed bills passed by the Democratic-controlled Legislatures. The current governor, Susana Martinez, a Republican, supports the legislation.
Labor and community groups will continue working together to support a “Ready to Work” package of bills creating more than 70,000 new jobs. The package includes funding for job training, local roads and highway jobs to improve infrastructure, and investment in schools by providing them with the necessary tools to prepare children to be part of a 21st century workforce.
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