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PNS Daily Newscast - February 20, 2018 


A day in court for the alleged Florida school shooter. Also on our nationwide rundown: a 24-hour hotline "reignites" to support immigrants; and a new study finds prescription drugs in the Hudson River, from Troy all the way to New York City.

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Battle Looms Over Sandoval County's New Right-to-Work Law

The New Mexico Legislature has consistently rejected "right-to-work" laws, but Sandoval County has adopted a local ordinance that opponents believe will be overturned in court. (Wikipedia)
The New Mexico Legislature has consistently rejected "right-to-work" laws, but Sandoval County has adopted a local ordinance that opponents believe will be overturned in court. (Wikipedia)
January 23, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Sandoval County Commission will risk what could be an expensive lawsuit after adopting a "right-to-work" ordinance last week. The ordinance prevents employees from being compelled to join a union or pay union fees.

President of the New Mexico Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, Jon Hendry, said his organization will sue the county as a result of its decision. He argues that the county commissioners' belief the ordinance will create more jobs is not supported by the evidence.

"The argument over right-to-work or not, there's nothing that says we're going to create jobs simply be becoming a right-to-work state," he says. "It hasn't really happened. Some of the economies that are doing best in this country are states where there's a right to negotiate."

The New Mexico attorney general has already said the measure exceeds the county's authority and will likely be overturned in court. In 1990, a New Mexico District Court found a right-to-work ordinance passed by the city of Clovis invalid, ruling in favor of the New Mexico Federation of Labor, United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

Opponents of right-to-work laws say they lead to lower wages, more injuries and deaths in the workplace. But with New Mexico's unemployment rate one of the highest in the nation, a retired University of New Mexico economics professor, Allen Parkman, thinks it's time for right-to-work in the state.

"The fact that we don't have 'right-to-work' is a red flag, I think, to the rest of the country," Parkman says. "This state does not have a pro-business attitude. We're remote and we don't radiate, 'Y'all come and we're here and we're 100-percent behind you, we're gonna support you.' We just haven't radiated that."

Repeated attempts to pass a statewide right-to-work law have failed at the New Mexico Legislature.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM