Municipal ‘right to work’ laws could be on their way out if New Mexico’s governor signs a pro-worker bill.
“New Mexico is not what is known as a “right-to-work” state, and the Legislature drove home that point Sunday night.The Senate voted 23-19 to approve House Bill 85, which permits employers and labor organizations in New Mexico to enter into agreements requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment.
Now the measure goes to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who’s well aware that 10 of the state’s 33 counties have adopted so-called right-to-work laws that say employees cannot be compelled to pay fees to a labor union that represents them on the job.
The Senate struck back by approving the bill that strikes down these local measures.
In some ways, the bill is as symbolic as the the city and county ordinances it seeks to void, merely reaffirming New Mexico’s labor laws.
But Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, said the Legislature’s role in approving the bill tells city and county governments they do not have the power to authorize right-to-work laws any more than they could cut the tax rate for corporations. The power in both cases rests with the state government, Cervantes said.
More important, Cervantes said, the Legislature is helping cities and counties avoid being sued because they have created laws that exceed the scope of their authority.
Still, the debate on the Senate floor opened some fissures between Democrats and between urban and rural lawmakers.
All 16 Republicans and three Democrats backed the efforts of a political organization called Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that has pressed for the local laws in select parts of the state.”
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