What has a State worker done for you recently?
-Swabbed your nose for a COVID-19 test?
-Called you to let you know you were in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 through the contact tracing program?
-Enforced COVID-19 closures to keep our communities safe?
-Given you your COVID-19 vaccine?
-Successfully administered the vaccine rollout and kept us consistently at the forefront of the nation?
I think we can all answer yes to at least one of those scenarios!
The State’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget will be finalized by the end of the week, yet very few concessions have been made for State workers who have been working countless hours to help our state through this pandemic.
Other states have automatic cost of living increases built into their employee contracts, but not New Mexico. Every year nearly 20 thousand State employees have to go to the legislature and beg for a cost of living raise. And every year that we do not get one, we are left further behind.
Merit-based raises are nearly non-existent, so legislative action is State workers’ only recourse to keep up with the rising cost of living. After a decade of fiscal austerity, it’s no wonder that our State government is chronically understaffed, leaving State Employees chronically overworked. Quite frankly, it’s exhausting.
For the past two years, State workers have received cost of living raises of 2% and 0-1%, respectively. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that cost of living increased 2.7% and 1.8% over those same two years. Over these past two years, the cost of benefits taken out of each paycheck has also risen. The current FY 2021 Draft Budget is calling for a 1.5% cost of living raise, so it’s clear to see that state workers will be left behind once again.
Additionally, thousands of public workers are making what President Joe Biden rightfully called a poverty wage of less than $15 per hour, the majority of whom are women and people of color. These are the folks who are keeping schools and public buildings clean and safe, nurses aids and techs working at our congregate care facilities, and the food service workers who feed our children. With budget outlooks that are three times higher than they were in June of last year, and $1.6 billion in federal aid there is no reason to allow our state to continue to keep these workers in poverty.
We need your help! There is still time to support State workers before this legislative session ends. Please call the Governor and your State Senator and Representative and ask for:
A REAL living wage of $15/hr minimum for all public employees and a REASONABLE cost of living increase for State workers
CWA 7076 Secretary and State Employee