NM Senate Democrats: Back Pay For State Workers Is Fair Decision

Santa Fe, NM —An order issued by the New Mexico Supreme Court in May, which requires that 10,000 state employees are to receive back pay of about $23 million dollars has still not been met by the Martinez administration. The court order sided with plaintiffs, American Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees and Communications Workers of America, that unionized state employees were entitled to raises in 2008.

Thus far, employees have not received payments; according to a Albuquerque Journal story earlier this month, Martinez spokesman Enrique Knell, said the six-month delay has been caused by time-consuming calculations necessary to determine the appropriate pay for each of the estimated 10,000 employees who qualify for a repayment.

“The courts have spoken and at this point, administrative foot dragging has gone on long enough. It’s time to prioritize this issue and get it done,” said Majority Caucus Chair Senator Jacob Candelaria (D-26-Bernalillo).

According to Carter Bundy of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, his organization has been working hard to keep this issue at the forefront, but the unionized employees his organization has been fighting for, still do not know when they will receive the back pay owed to them.

“At the end of the day, this is about fairness and the state owning up to its commitments. These folks did the work, they deserve the compensation,” said Senate Majority Whip Tim Keller (D-17- Bernalillo).

Negotiated raises for union-covered workers in 2008 ranged from 3 percent to 5.5 percent. Instead workers got 2.9 percent, due to the Richardson administration taking the nearly $13 million appropriated by the Legislature for pay raises and using it to give all classified employees 2.9 percent raises, union-members or not.