New Mexico Democrats Stand With Working Families Against Anti-Worker Legislation

NM Dems applaud defeat of so-called Right to Work bill, will continue to oppose attacks on prevailing wage

New Mexico Democratic Party Chair Debra Haaland issued the following statement following this week’s Senate Public Affairs Committee vote to table SB269:

“New Mexico Democrats are proud to stand with working families in opposing so-called right to work and other anti-worker legislation. Corporate CEOs and out-of-state interests who are pushing these types of bills across the country don’t know New Mexico like we do. Everyday heroes like teachers, nurses and firefighters have families who count on them, but right to work laws lower their wages. Right to work just creates government overreach into important conversations between working people and their employers that keep workplaces safe and running soundly. SB269 is just wrong for New Mexico.”

That same evening, New Mexico’s Republican-controlled House voted to approve HB200, a bill to amend the state’s prevailing wage law. The vote, carried along party lines, would do away with a system of paying construction workers and other skilled craftsmen according to mutually negotiated collective bargaining agreements.

New Mexico’s current prevailing wage law has been on the books since 2009. Governor Martinez challenged the law in the court, attempting to prevent its implementation, in the first years of her administration. This past summer, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that the law would stand, and that the state must immediately begin enforcing the law which pay workers on state projects over $60,000 a prevailing wage determined through collective bargaining.

Writing for the court, Justice Petra Jimenez Maes said that the director of the state labor relations division’s “delay in setting new rates and his failure to comply with the act is inexcusable.”

Haaland condemned House Republicans for their votes:

“It’s no secret that New Mexico is last in line when it comes to recovery from the recession. Lowering wages for those who are already working doesn’t get us any further ahead. The economic consequences for weakening prevailing wage would be devastating for working families. We will continue to fight HB200 as it moves over to the Senate.”