NM Commissioners Take on CBAs
October 6, 2017 -By Trey White, Teamsters Local 492 Recording-Secretary
Will you soon have the right to choose whether to pay your taxes or not? If you are not happy with the government services Sandoval County is providing (or even if you are happy with them), will you no longer have to pay your taxes, and will the County no longer be allowed to write laws or ordnances that force you to pay your taxes, even if you live in Sandoval County and reap the benefits of the paved roads, street lights, police and other services that cost the county? According to Sandoval County Commissioner David Heil, that’s the fundamental idea behind a proposal put forth by the Sandoval County Commissioners last night. “If you are happy with their service, why wouldn’t you continue to support them,” said Commissioner Heil at the meeting held on October 5, 2017 at the Sandoval County Admin Building. His statement may be morally correct, but most people would definitely stop paying anything they don’t have to pay, regardless of the level of service. This all sounds unbelievable, right? It’s crazy, but instead of taxes, the commissioners were actually talking about contractual service fees being paid to Unions.
There was a Sandoval County Commissioners meeting held last night (See Photos Here) and unfortunately, 4 of the 5 commissioners publicly expressed their desire to pass a RTW ordinance that will prevent future negotiated contracts between the employer and the employees, from agreeing to have the all employees of that negotiated contract, pay their fair share to negotiate/administer it. This is BIG GOVERNMENT at work again as they plan to pass a law that tells the employer how to run their business and interact with their employees collectively. If the government can tell the employer what they can and cannot negotiate in their contracts with the employee’s, what’s next? In the future, they might try to pass legislation where you can’t pay your workers more than $19 an hour because NM needs to be able to attract businesses to the state. You may scoff, but this is a disturbing trend in America that is only going to get worse if people don’t stand up and say NO!
One of the Sandoval commissioners, James F. Holden-Rhodes, said last night that the Labor Movement might have been needed in the 1930’s and 40’s but eluded that now unions have too much power, and need to be taken down a notch, calling the Teamsters “goombahs” and blamed teachers for “the absolute disaster of our American schools today.” The crowd, which was about 99% working class New Mexicans, voiced their disgust with his insulting personal attacks and obvious blatant pronounced bias. When Commission Chairman Don Chapman threatened to clear the room, about a third left in protest of the Mr. Holden-Rhodes incendiary comments. I was at that meeting and he looked directly at me when he called Teamsters goombahs. I am a proud Teamster and I was very insulted. Melissa Malcom, who is the Movie Productions Agent for Teamsters Local 492 and also an Italian-American was there as well, and took personal offence to the Italian racial slur. I don’t have personal knowledge of what may have happened with the mafia and unions last century, but I can testify that is not this generations Teamsters!
Less than 7% of private sector jobs in America are Union, so why are these commissioners so concerned about such a small minority of workers? Because Unions raise the bar for all workers, including for non-union workers; and big businesses don’t want the bar raised, in fact they want to lower it more. NM already has low wages compared to other states, how low can we go?
Example; if there is a Union grocery store paying good wages and benefits, the non-union grocery store down the street must pay comparable wages or they won’t be able to retain their workforce. Employee turnover costs the employer lots of money and headaches. The non-union grocery store must weigh the cost of hiring/retraining new employees verses offering a competitive pay package to retain them.
Big Business groups like “Americans for prosperity” are betting that if they can get rid of the unions, the huge corporations that fund that group will benefit because the bar will be lowered and they will save money. You can’t blame them for wanting to save money, but unfortunately, the way they are going about saving money means the worker is subsidizing the company’s savings. It also means there will be more people that are working full time but will qualify for welfare. That is forcing BIG GOVERNMENT to subsidize the employer’s low wages with welfare payments to the company’s workers. There are plenty of non-union jobs but when someone applies at a Union company, it’s because of the superior wage & benefits. Unions need the service fees to continue to negotiate those superior packages, just like the Sandoval County needs everyone to pay their taxes or they cannot continue to pave the roads and pay for police.
Last night, all 5 Sandoval County commissioners stated the need to do something to bring jobs to the county and 4 of them are willing to lower the wages of workers to get those jobs here. This may or may not be their intention but it will definitely be the end result over time. It is simple market force economics. If people are willing to work for less to get a job, the free market will offer less. If they all stand up collectively, they will push the free market towards paying more.
Sandoval Commissioners also threw out a lot of fuzzy numbers, so I did the same when I was allowed to speak, by bringing up that there are plenty of counties in RTW states that have high unemployment like Yuma AZ at 18.6% which has a population close to Sandoval County. Comparing Sandoval to Phoenix, Houston, or Denver is absurd. The point being that RTW is not the answer to all of the counties problems, if it were, all counties similar in size to Sandoval in RTW states would be thriving. The real issue for companies is how much tax incentives the community is willing to bear and is there a suitable, trained, educated, workforce available to hire. Google the top reasons companies have publicly stated they relocated, they are; better pool of employees, tax breaks/incentives, the current location is declining, lower costs, better quality of life, and the need to upgrade facilities. Companies may privately say they prefer a RTW environment to politicians, but it is rarely the actual main focus.
Does NM want a company that says; ‘we need an environment where we can take advantage of low wages and no demand for a benefit package of any kind’. That is why companies move to Mexico and China. Maybe the government should just mirror all the laws and regulations of China. Maybe pass laws that allow companies to pay workers $2 for a 16 hour work day. I am sure that would bring billions of jobs here. Let’s have a race to the bottom, and see who can get there first!!!!! We can all work 80 hours a week and still qualify for welfare and food stamps, but at least we will all have jobs.