Unified Action – June 2005 – Right to Organize

Support NMSU Employees’’ Right to Organize

Sponsor: NMSU AFSCME Organizing Committee
Email: Cathilia Flores or Duncan Hayse

The Issue

NMSU staff members from all job classifications are forming a union that will allow them to speak in a united voice about the conditions of their employment with the university, including, but not limited to, the issues of contract, job security, personnel decisions, pay and benefits. The New Mexico Public Employee Bargaining Act encourages public employees to “organize and bargain collectively with their employers, to promote harmonious and cooperative relationships” free from “interference, restraint or coercion.” President Martin and his administration, however, continue to violate the law and worker rights by clearly not maintaining a neutral stance.

What we are asking

On the back of this sheet is a discussion of the NMSU organizing committee’s goals in forming a union as well as the actions taken against our efforts by President Martin. The university administration understands its position in the community as a public institution and its responsibility to the community. Attention from community members can encourage administration to follow the letter and intent of the law. Therefore, we will write letters to President Martin:

  • Addressing the university’s continuous illegal violations of worker rights.
  • Asking him to support a cooperative process with NMSU employees by taking an assertive position in favor of employees’ right to organize a union.
  • Asking him to clearly instruct university administrators and supervisors to create a non-hostile environment in which workers can openly and freely discuss the option to unionize.

We will also copy (CC) these letters to local legislators who enacted the Public Employee Bargaining Act, and who should be the first to stand up openly when it is being violated to the detriment of their constituents’ legal rights. By clearly indicating in Martin’s letter that we are copying it to legislators, we are reminding Martin this is a public issue and the community is involved and intends to monitor the university’s actions.

Legislators in bold are those whose districts include NMSU. Please be certain to CC them and your own district legislator.

People to Contact

  • Michael V. Martin
  • President, New Mexico State University
  • P.O. Box 30001
  • Las Cruces, NM 88003
  • president@nmsu.edu
  • Sen. Mary Kay Papen (D38)
  • 904 Conway Ave.
  • Las Cruces, NM 88005
  • Rep. Joni Gutierrez (D33)
  • 208 N. Miranda
  • Las Cruces, NM 88005
  • jonig@zianet.com
  • Rep. Mary Helen Garcia (D34)
  • 5271 State Hwy. 28
  • Las Cruces, NM 88005
  • Rep. Ed Boykin (D37)
  • 3035 Hillrise Dr.
  • Las Cruces, NM 88011

Once you have completed the Unified Action, please notify the sponsors via Email: Cathilia Flores or Duncan Hayse

Why Are NMSU Staff Members Organizing a Union?

  • We want a democratic voice and to be a priority in the decisions made which affect our jobs and our lives.
    • Many recent changes to the payroll software caused significant hardships on staff, students, and some faculty. No staff input was requested on these matters, which primarily affected lower income employees.
  • We want to raise the standard of living in the region:
    • NMSU employees pay 2.5 times more than state workers for health insurance and more than twice as much as UNM.
    • Many employees cannot afford this premium and so forgo it while putting their children on Medicaid – a public assistance program for Americans living in poverty.
    • NMSU salaries are 14% less than UNM.

What Is the Problem?

  • President Martin continues to insist publicly that he maintains a neutral stance. However, the first action taken by the University when they found out about the union campaign was to disseminate a university-wide email misrepresenting the law and highly anti-union in tone and content.
  • There are over 40 documented cases of employee intimidation by supervisors filed in grievances with the NM Labor Board (after vain attempts to address directly with administration). The University has chosen to set up a local labor board, a process that has delayed addressing these grievances for over 6 months.
  • The New Mexico State Labor Board is now investigating this duplicate labor board, which adds additional expense to local jurisdictions. It is under scrutiny for lack of independence and neutrality.
  • Hundreds of NMSU employees are still under the distinct impression they cannot talk about a union on- or off-campus without losing their jobs or suffering reprisal in the workplace. This is due to continued intimidation by managers, and Martin’s continued failure to set the record straight.
  • President Martin claims to publicly support employees’ informed and free choice, but continues to support a position that denies employees’ right to meet and discuss the union at work.
  • President Martin still has not mandated that all supervisors and managers respect NMSU employees’ legal rights to openly discuss forming a union.
  • Every single university employee must be allowed to make the decision to unionize or not based on information, not on the fear of losing their job or suffering workplace discrimination.

For more information regarding the current activities of the NMSU AFSCME Organizing Committee, please see our website http://afscme.nmsu.edu.

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