Right-To-Work Compromise Legislation Passes Judiciary Committee, Heads To House Floor

Rep. Nate Gentry

STATE News:

SANTA FE — In order to come up with a fair compromise to promote commonsense, job-creating legislation, the right-to-work bill was amended Friday to increase the minimum wage to $8 per hour. 

The compromise legislation cleared the House Judiciary Committee by a 7-6 vote and will now head to the House floor. Raising the minimum wage to $8 per hour will make New Mexico’s minimum wage the third highest in the region.

“We think it’s important to put politics aside in order to avoid Washington-style gridlock,” said Rep. Nate Gentry, R-Bernalillo, who introduced the amendment. “We were elected to make tough decisions, and that is why we are willing to find compromise on important issues.”

In addition to giving workers the freedom to choose whether they join a union or financially contribute to one, the legislation would also make New Mexico’s business climate more competitive. States with similar protections are doing better than states without them. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, right-to-work states saw a 43 percent gain in total employment between 1990 and 2011. States without the protection gained just about 19 percent. 

One study found that had New Mexico become a right-to-work state in 1980, employment would have been around 21 percent higher in 2011.

Protecting workers from having to join a union or financially contribute to one against their will has bipartisan support nationally. A Gallup poll taken in August found that 71 percent of Americans support right-to-work laws. The support crosses party lines, with 65 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of Independents supporting the protections.

“We are one step closer to giving New Mexico’s workers the right to choose if they want join a union or financially contribute to one,” said Rep. Dennis Roch, who is sponsoring the legislation.

LOS ALAMOS

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