Anti-worker politicians in the land of enchantment are pushing to make New Mexico the latest state to go “right-to-work-for-less.”
Several right-to-work bills have been filed by state Republicans, which would weaken the ability of workers to bargain collectively.
Gov. Susana Martinez, who was reelected to a second term last November, has come out in support of the legislation, saying it’s “long-overdue.”
Critics say the move is nothing but an effort to hurt unions and workers’ rights.
Supporters say it will help create jobs, but the evidence is sparse.
Economic Policy Institute researchers Gordon Lafer and Alyssa Davis in a recently released report point to Oklahoma, which passed right-to-work legislation in 2001
“Oklahoma lawmakers were told that if they passed a right-to-work law, there would be an eight- to 10-fold increase in the number of new companies coming into the state …. Ten years after Oklahoma adopted right-to-work, every promise made by its supporters has proven false. Instead of increasing dramatically, manufacturing employment in the 10 years after right-to-work fell by one-third.
The report also points to the fact that New Mexico’s economic performance already outpaces many right-to-work states. Job growth in New Mexico was 20 percent higher in the 20 years before the 2008 recession than the average of all existing right-to-work-states.
And the state’s unemployment rate is lower than in neighboring Arizona, as well as Nevada, South Carolina and Tennessee – all right-to-work-states.
What the law has been proven to do is to lower wages for both union and nonunion workers. The average worker in a right-to-work state makes $1,500 per year less than a worker in a non-right-to-work state.
Workers and some business owners are worried that it will have a similar effect in New Mexico.
Peter Brill, owner of Santa Fe-based Sarcon Construction says that “right-to-work is not the right direction for New Mexico. It’s not going to improve things; it’s going to make things more difficult for companies like mine to be successful.”
Advocates for working families and community groups are lobbying legislators in Santa Fe to reject the bill.
Republicans won the state House in November, but Democrats – who largely oppose right-to-work – hold the Senate.
“We’re meeting with individual senators about it,” said IBEW New Mexico political coordinator Brian Condit.
He says the IBEW and other building trades unions are planning to mobilize their members to attend Senate hearings on the bill. “We want to have a mass mobilization and get as many people as we can out,” he said.
Click here to find out how to stop right-to-work-for-less in New Mexico.