SANTA FE – Debate over a New Mexico right-to-work bill took center stage at the Roundhouse on Sunday, with hundreds of opponents of the proposed change in state labor laws packing the Capitol for the first Senate hearing on the measure.
The Senate Public Affairs Committee did not vote Sunday on the right-to-work bill, but heard roughly three hours of testimony – from both backers and critics – on the House-approved measure and several similar pieces of legislation. A vote is expected to happen Tuesday.
The tone was at times sharp, with one union member warning committee members to “choose wisely” on how they vote with 2016 elections looming and a Republican state senator telling the crowd he is not a “stooge” for out-of-state backers of right-to-work laws.
Supporters of enacting a right-to-work law focused on two primary points – the current requirement that some nonunion workers have to pay union fees or risk losing their jobs and the state of New Mexico’s economy.