he Sandoval County Commission will risk what could be an expensive lawsuit after adopting a “right-to-work” ordinance last week. The ordinance prevents employees from being compelled to join a union or pay union fees.
President of the New Mexico Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, Jon Hendry, said his organization will sue the county as a result of its decision. He argues that the county commissioners’ belief the ordinance will create more jobs is not supported by the evidence.
“The argument over right-to-work or not, there’s nothing that says we’re going to create jobs simply be becoming a right-to-work state,” he says. “It hasn’t really happened. Some of the economies that are doing best in this country are states where there’s a right to negotiate.”
The New México attorney general has already said the measure exceeds the county’s authority and will likely be overturned in court. In 1990, a New México District Court found a right-to-work ordinance passed by the city of Clovis invalid, ruling in favor of the New Mexico Federation of Labor, United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
“Some of the economies that are doing best in this country are states where there’s a right to negotiate.”
Opponents of right-to-work laws say they lead to lower wages, more injuries and deaths in the workplace. But with New México’s unemployment rate one of the highest in the nation, a retired University of New México economics professor, Allen Parkman, thinks it’s time for right-to-work in the state.
“The fact that we don’t have ‘right-to-work’ is a red flag, I think, to the rest of the country,” Parkman says. “This state does not have a pro-business attitude. We’re remote and we don’t radiate, ‘Y’all come and we’re here and we’re 100-percent behind you, we’re gonna support you.’ We just haven’t radiated that.”
Repeated attempts to pass a statewide right-to-work law have failed at the New México Legislature.
by Roz Brown
Public News Service – NM
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