With a new governor and a labor-friendly legislature in place, AFSCME New Mexico won many key victories for working people throughout the state.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham earlier this month signed the fiscal year 2020 budget passed by the New Mexico Legislature. The budget includes significant investments across all state agencies to help with recruitment and retention.
Lawmakers rewarded the hard work and dedication of the women and men of AFSCME Council 18 by including 4 percent raises for all state workers and higher education employees. This is the largest across-the-board raise that state workers have seen in over a decade.
To help reduce turnover and retain behavioral health and mental health staff at the state Department of Corrections, a 10 percent raise was included in the budget. This is a significant step toward achieving the goal of ensuring that the state continues to hire and train workers for those critical positions.
"The bottom line is that elections matter and who we have in office matters to each and every one of our members. We appreciate the hard work of our allies in the legislature and are excited to finally have a governor that puts people before politics, and supports a budget that invests in vital public services and the hard men and women responsible for making our great state run,” said Connie Derr, executive director for Council 18 and an AFSCME International vice president.
Other legislative victories achieved by AFSCME and our pro-worker allies include:
- Raising New Mexico’s statewide minimum wage from the current $7.50 per hour to $12 per hour by 2023.
- Working to shore up the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) and Educational Retirement Board funds, which will each receive an increase of 0.25 percent in employer contributions. A task force set up to work on PERA solvency will include AFSCME.
- Preventing excessive limitations on solitary confinement so New Mexico corrections officers are protected on the job.
- Helping pass HB85, legislation to prohibit counties from passing local “right to work” ordinances designed to drive down wages and weaken workers’ rights in the workplace.
- Passing legislation to ensure that New Mexico becomes the fifth state to guarantee coverage of pre-existing conditions. This means even if President Donald Trump and his congressional allies eliminate that protection – now available under the Affordable Care Act – New Mexicans with pre-existing health conditions wouldn’t have to worry about losing coverage.