February 22 — The state House late Friday approved a bill that would bar counties in New Mexico from enforcing local “right-to-work” ordinances.
The proposal, House Bill 85, now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Democratic Reps. Daymon Ely of Corrales and Andrea Romero of Santa Fe – who co-sponsored the legislation – said it would ensure the state had a uniform law on the issue, rather than different rules depending on the community.
The proposal would stipulate that only the state government could establish a law barring labor unions from collecting fees from nonunion members in unionized workplaces.
“It’s got to be a statewide policy one way or the other,” Ely said.
Approval of the legislation came after opponents of the measure rallied outside the Roundhouse earlier in the day, including the plaintiff in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case.
Mark Janus, who worked for Illinois state government for 11 years before leaving his job last year, said he traveled to New Mexico to support local efforts to pass laws barring labor unions from collecting fees from nonunion members.
He rose to prominence as the plaintiff in a lawsuit that prompted a June 2018 ruling from the Supreme Court. Under the ruling, states can no longer compel the payment of such fees by public sector workers, even if those workers benefit from union protections and contract negotiations.
“We’re not here to be anti-union, we’re not here to be anti-collective bargaining – we just want workers to have a choice,” Janus told the Journal.