Resources for Anti-Worker “Right-To-Work” Bills

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So-called “right-to-work” legislation is about to be heard in its second House committee. We’ve been covering the conservative misinformation campaign that’s pushing these harmful laws for months (our truth-telling even got us booted from the microphone during the bill’s first committee hearing).

In advanced of today’s hearing we’ve compiled some resources that show the extent of Republican coordination around this bill, the facts that disprove the effectiveness of anti-worker legislation, and recent polling data that shows the true priorities of New Mexican voters.


RTW is a years-in-the-making political ploy

**You’ve probably already read our extensive report on these emails. But if you want to take a deeper dive into these emails, CLICK HERE**

Email from Paul Gessing, Rio Grande Foundation, Feb 17, 2012:

Email from Paul Gessing, Rio Grande Foundation, Feb 17, 2012

Email from Paul Gessing, Rio Grande Foundation, Feb 17, 2012


The next day, Mickey Barnett responds:

Email between NM GOP operatives, from emails

Email between NM GOP operatives, from emails



Mickey Barnett has funneled money to GOP members of key committees

In 2014 alone, Mickey Barnett (the longtime Republican activist turned lobbyist who wrote one of the above emails) funneled lobbying money to every GOP member of House Judiciary and House Business and Employment (except Jim Dines) – according to first 2015 filing. (Rep. Dennis Roch, the bill’s sponsor, also received money from Barnett. Surprise, surprise.)

**Dollar amounts reflect the sum total of the money given to these Representatives as reflected in Barnett’s first lobbyist filing of 2015**


House Business and Employment Committee:

Title Name Party Role
Representative Jane E. Powdrell-Culbert ($500) R Chair
Representative Conrad James ($2,300) R Vice Chair
Representative David E. Adkins ($500) R Member
Representative George Dodge, Jr. D Member
Representative Candy Spence Ezzell ($500) R Member
Representative Miguel P. Garcia D Member
Representative Yvette Herrell ($600) R Member
Representative Dona G. Irwin D Member
Representative Tim D. Lewis ($500) R Member
Representative Rick Little ($1,050) R Member
Representative Debbie A. Rodella D Member
Representative Carl Trujillo D Member
Representative Jim R. Trujillo D Member

House Judiciary:

Title Name Party Role
Representative Zachary J. Cook ($1,800) R Chair
Representative Paul A. Pacheco ($1,950) R Vice Chair
Representative David E. Adkins ($500) R Member
Representative Eliseo Lee Alcon D Member
Representative Cathrynn N. Brown ($500) R Member
Representative Gail Chasey D Member
Representative Jim Dines R Member
Representative Brian Egolf D Member
Representative Nate Gentry ($500) R Member
Representative Georgene Louis D Member
Representative Antonio Maestas D Member
Representative W. Ken Martinez D Member
Representative Terry H. McMillan ($1,000) R Member

Businesses don’t see lack of RTW laws as an obstacle

The ABQ Chamber of Commerce conducted a “Business Climate Survey” of 252 NM businesses in 2014.

When asked in an unaided, open-ended manner what the biggest obstacles or challenges facing businesses are in New Mexico, business owners were most apt to say a weak economy/slow economic growth (26%), followed by the lack of skilled, available local labor (15%)

The survey asked respondents: “What do you feel are the biggest obstacles or challenges facing your business in New Mexico?”

Right to Work was not mentioned by any of the survey respondents as an obstacle to their business.

Only 2% of businesses mentioned a minimum wage raise as an obstacle to their business.


New poll shows true NM priorities

The 2015 Landscape Poll was conducted by Third Eye Strategies. This was a survey of 601 active voters in the state of New Mexico. Respondents were interviewed between 6:00 and 9:00 pm on January 6th-8th and January 11th-14th. In 95 out of 100 cases the responses to this survey should be within 4.2 percentage points of those that would have been obtained from interviewing the entire population of likely voters.

Economic Insecurity

As a preliminary matter, it is important to note the results on voters’ perceptions of their incomes and the job climate in New Mexico. A majority (55%) say their incomes are falling behind the cost of living. Few (5%) believe their incomes are rising above the cost of living while a third (34%) say they are staying even. Of those who perceive their incomes falling, a majority (53%) feel state policy decisions play a major role.

On jobs, 70% say that New Mexico lags behind other states in job creation. The economy, jobs, and education top the list of voter concerns with no other issue even close.

Most Important Issues

Voters overwhelmingly care about two issues to the exclusion of all others – the economy and jobs (44% top two issue) along with schools and education (38% top two issue). These are the top issues of Hispanics and Anglos, voters of all age groups. Illegal immigration (15%), health care (9%), crime (8%), and taxes (4%) lag far behind.

Minimum Wage

A significant majority (76%) of voters believe that in three years, in 2017, New Mexico should have a higher minimum wage than it does today. Only a fringe 19% believe it should stay where it is. An even smaller share (1%) believe the state should cut the wage in the future. This represents a strong consensus, but not a surprising one, given the success of minimum wage ballot initiatives in place like Arkansas in November 2014.

When probed further about the exact higher wage they support, a majority (59%) favor a wage $10.00 per hour or higher. The remaining 41% support a wage lower than $10.00 per hour (20% between $9.00 and $9.99 and 17% lower than $9.00).

Investments versus Tax Cuts

Legislating comes down to choices, and voters overwhelmingly prefer “investing in key priorities like education, healthcare, and job creation” (62%) over “reducing taxes on businesses and individuals” (19%) when forced to pick. Just 15% volunteer both. Voters get that New Mexico needs investments in its people. When it comes to taxes, voters slightly prefer “targeting tax incentives to just small business in New Mexico” (41%) over “reducing taxes on all businesses in New Mexico” (32%). Voters simply do not have any appetite for broad based tax breaks this year, especially those that would go to the wealthy and big business.


Top lines from Economic Policy Institute RTW study 

From: RIGHT TO WORK” IS THE WRONG ANSWER FOR NEW MEXICO’S ECONOMY, Gordon Laffer and Alyssa Davis, Economic Policy Institute, Feb. 4, 2015

A range of national evidence shows why RTW would not be positive for New Mexico:

  • RTW is associated with lower wages and benefits for both union and nonunion workers. In states with RTW laws, the average worker makes $1,500 per year less than a similar worker in a fair-share (non-RTW) state, even after factoring in differences in cost of living.
  • By weakening unions, RTW hurts the middle class. As union membership has declined in recent decades, the middle 60 percent of Americans have received a smaller and smaller share of overall income.

Additional evidence further suggests that RTW would be a poor fit for New Mexico’s economy:

  • RTW will harm New Mexicans’ ability to earn a decent living, and may endanger job growth in the healthcare industry—the industry projected to add the most jobs to the state economy over the next decade.
  • New Mexico is already a low-wage state; if low wages do indeed attract manufacturers, they would already be in the state. A strategy of further lowering wages will harm New Mexicans and risk harming small businesses that depend on local residents having disposable income.
  • In New Mexico, private-sector unions—the primary target of RTW laws—are concentrated in service industries such as supermarkets, hospitals, oil and gas, construction, and film. These companies are rooted in New Mexico and will not move to another state due to labor law changes.
  • New Mexico has a good base from which to focus on creating high-tech, higher-wage manufacturing jobs. In 2014, all five of the states rated best for high-tech employers were fair-share states, and New Mexico ranked ahead of a majority of RTW states.

New Mexico lawmakers considering RTW should weigh the consequences, specifically the likelihood of decreased wages, against the unfounded claims that RTW will attract significant new business to the state.