Workforce Agreement Loses Favor

SANTA FE — A majority of the Santa Fe City Council may be on the verge of torpedoing a new “community workforce agreement” ordinance that continues to generate controversy.

Councilors Patti Bushee and Bill Dimas said this week they support a resolution to delay CWA projects until the UNM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research can study the potential economic impact of it. Both also said they back a measure — newly introduced at Monday’s Finance Committee meeting — to repeal the ordinance entirely.

The ordinance stipulates that all workers on a project must belong to a union, although they can join for just the duration of the project. A city report has estimated the ordinance would add up to $5 million to construction costs in the next three to five years.

Bushee said Councilors Carmichael Dominguez, Ron Trujillo and Chris Rivera also support the two latest proposals.

After the meeting, Bushee said that “at this juncture, I favor repeal.”

“I think you have a majority of the council that has great concern that we are not only adding costs to public projects, but we are sending jobs to Albuquerque,” she said.

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The City Council approved the community workforce agreement law in February and delayed it in June to formulate guidelines. It became effective Oct. 1.

Mayor David Coss says the measure will ensure project quality and efficiency and good wages and benefits for local workers.

Councilors Peter Ives and Chris Calvert voted against the BBER resolution, while Bushee and Dimas voted for it. The measure failed for lack of a majority, but goes before the Public Works Committee and full City Council next week.

The Finance Committee didn’t vote on the repeal ordinance because it wasn’t on the agenda. It will be reviewed by Public Works and then go to the full City Council probably in late November.

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