June 18, 2015
The New Mexico Supreme Court on June 15 ruled that state labor officials have to base prevailing wages and benefits for public-works projects on collective-bargaining agreements instead of on wage surveys or other information. The court said a 2009 state law required Gov. Susana Martinez's administration to do that on all but the smallest state projects, and its “inexcusable” failure to had meant that workers were underpaid by 5% to 35% over the past five years.
The ruling came in response to lawsuits by the New Mexico Building and Construction Trades Council, along with unions representing electricians and sheet metal workers. The state Department of Workforce Solutions said it would “grossly inflate the cost of public construction projects.” “New Mexico's economy probably lost tens of millions of dollars as a result of the governor's refusal to basically do what the law required her to do,” responded Shane Youtz, an Albuquerque lawyer who represented the unions. Read more