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Tomorrow are the South Carolina primaries, and former VP Joe Biden leads in the poll, followed by winner of the first three contests, Sen. Bernie Sanders and businessman Tom Steyer. Some Republican South Carolinians may vote for Sanders because they want closed primaries.

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