Court Challenges Loom as Right to Work Gathers Steam in New Mexico


Local laws that free private sector workers from union mandates continue to gain momentum in New Mexico, among other states.

The Chaves County Commission’s five members voted unanimously last month for a right-to-work ordinance that will prohibit private-sector employers from entering into agreements that make union membership and payment of union dues or fees a condition of employment.

Twenty-eight states and the territory of Guam now ban forced unionization. Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and West Virginia all became right-to-work states since 2012.

On May 21, Chaves, where the county seat is Roswell, became the fourth county in New Mexico to approve a right-to-work law.

The local trend began this year with Sandoval County, which approved a right-to-work law Jan. 19. It continued with Otero County, which did so April 12. Lincoln County followed suit May 15 with its own ordinance banning forced unionization.

With the exception of Sandoval, where the commission approved right to work 3-1 with one abstention, the other county bodies voted unanimously for their ordinances.

Organized labor is pushing back against the county ordinances.

In February, the New Mexico Federation of Labor filed suit against Sandoval’s right-to-work law. The union released a statement detailing its main arguments.

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