Santa Fe, New Mexico – March 5, 2016 – UFCW members in the U.S. state of New Mexico are celebrating after their tireless activism and lobbying efforts helped to defeat a proposed "Work for Less" law last month.
Dozens of members from UFCW Local 1564 travelled to the New Mexico State Capitol building in Sante Fe to campaign against a Work For Less bill, known as Senate Bill 269, that was being considered by the Senate Public Affairs Committee.
Rose Gonzales, a 29-year member of UFCW Local 1564 who works at Smith's Food and Drug store in Los Lunas, and her daughter, Missy, testified in front of the committee about the dangers of Work For Less legislation.
"I am here because I want and deserve to retire with dignity," said Gonzales. "It is a slap in the face for me to see my 30 years of hard work threatened by an unfair law (that is) only (being supported) by outside special interests. It is a fact that people in Work For Less states earn less money – to see any cut in pay would devastate me and my family. I already rely on every bit of every paycheck (to get by). Any pay cut would require me to get another job."
Rose's concerns about the extent to which workers and their families would suffer under Work For Less were echoed by her daughter, Missy.
"I'm here because my mother has been a single parent for years and relied upon the grocery business and her union to raise me and my siblings. If Work For Less passes in New Mexico, I worry that fewer families would have the opportunities that she had. I'm here supporting my mother today because I am proud of her and I know that she works too hard to see her wages and benefits cut by this unfair law."
Time and again, Work For Less laws have been proven to lower wages, weaken health and safety standards, and undermine the voices of workers and their families.
The successful campaigning by UFCW Local 1564 to defeat Senate Bill 269 went beyond a single day of lobbying. For weeks, Local 1564 members and activists engaged in an aggressive worksite campaign to mobilize the entire membership against the proposed Work For Less law. Thanks to these efforts, over 900 handwritten letters from UFCW members opposed to Bill 269 were delivered to state senators and house representatives.
As a majority of the committee voted to kill the bill, ending the threat of a Work For Less law passing in New Mexico this year, UFCW Local 1564 members cheered knowing that their hard work made a difference for workers and their families across the entire state.