Picket Planned After Workers Snubbed During UNMH Negotiations

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Last week, the National Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees Local 1199, started a series of pickets against UNM Hospital (UNMH) after entering into contentious contract negotiations where local nurses, caregivers and staff would lose benefits that are already provided to them if they sign a new negotiated agreement. Now, the union is asking for community support in turning up the heat on UNMH.

This Thursday, June 20 at 5:30pm, the union will hold another picket on Lomas, outside of UNMH. Members request the presence of community allies who believe in better working conditions, fair pay and respect for workers.

The picket comes on the heels of UNMH’s deal to provide their CEO a cash compensation as high as $155,000 in addition to a base salary of $620,000. UNMH’s workers, on the other hand, are proposed to receive a pitiful raise – as little as $5.60 a week. This paltry raise seems to be UNMH’s idea of a consolation prize, in exchange for the benefits they also propose to strip from their workers. The UNMH’s proposed take-backs include:

  • A cut to Friday night pay differentials
  • A cut to hourly on-call compensation
  • Limiting vacation time for senior employees
  • Increasing requirements for bilingual employee compensation
  • Cut backs on employee cafeteria discounts from 30% to 10%

Gilberta Miera, the Licensed and Technical Chapter President of Local 1199 has been negotiating with UNM Hospitals for over 15 years and said that this year was by far the worst for negotiations. “Management makes sure to give themselves huge bonuses, yet they continue to not give anything to the employees. This needs to stop, it has been years of this unethical treatment” she said. “At the end of the day, when employees aren’t paid it is the patient that suffers.”

Management makes sure to give themselves huge bonuses, yet they continue to not give anything to the employees.

At this point, there may be nothing to lose for Local 1199 by not signing the proposed contract. In fact, the new contract would mean that many UNMH employees may lose more in benefits than the minimal 1.4% raise they would receive. The current negotiated agreement with the union and the hospital ends on June 30, and while current contract language would hold until a new agreement is reached, it is clear that the line in the sand has been drawn.

“There are individuals that I know who have dedicated years of good, valuable service to the organization who have to train new employees coming in making almost 20% or more than they are. That is not fair,” said Eghe Ehiman, an operating room nurse at UNMH. “What we really want to see is a fair wage scale implemented at UNMH. We are healthcare workers who day in and day out, give 100% to provide good patient care no matter our role. We should all be fairly compensated for that.”

UNMH would be wise to take heed from their workers; at a time when healthcare workers are in short supply across the nation, treating workers with respect and dignity in the workplace would only benefit the hospital and their patients. The hospital should even do so much as to be grateful to their employees, who forewent any sort of living increases during the years of the Martinez administration to make sure that the hospital could stay afloat financially during the drastic budget cuts.

Our advice to UNMH: Treat your workers with the respect they deserve. Withdraw your proposed take-backs, honor experienced employees and collaborate on an equitable pay scale. Then, place a bulk order for thank-you notes, properly addressed to the union workers who successfully lobbied for more money in your hospital budget during the 2019 legislative session.

Our call to action for readers: Show up for workers this Thursday, June 20 at 5:30pm outside the entrance of UNM Hospital on Lomas. Join nurses, caregivers and staff o


check out recent posts





Executive Director 

Marianna Anaya

Deputy Director 

Lucas Herndon

Energy and Policy Director 

Josette Arvizu

Communications Director 

Jackie Aguirre

Communications Specialist 

Edgar Cruz

Communications Specialist 

Alissa Barnes :: Executive Director
just the facts

you should know

Alissa Barnes is Executive Director at ProgessNow New Mexico where she leads a team that works on message development, issue and voter education, and amplification of progressive messages and values. She leads the organization in strategy development, fundraising, and organizational growth and sustainability.

Alissa’s background includes nearly 12 years at Roadrunner Food Bank where Alissa led the development and creation of multiple programs that are now national models, invested in community building and collaborations, and worked closely with elected officials, educating about hunger and why policies would either benefit or hurt clients in food lines. She has a BA from the University of New Mexico and various non-profit certifications.
  • If she followed her childhood dream, she would be a Broadway tap dancing star
  • Has seen Frozen 1 and 2 over 100 times
  • Loves heavy metal concerts
Marianna Anaya :: Deputy Director
just the facts

you should know

Marianna oversees strategic messaging and creative implementation tactics for issue-based and political campaigns. She leads the team’s digital and earned media programs, bringing a New Mexico values-based approach to her work. 

Marianna’s background includes race and ethnic studies in education as a focus at UT Austin and UCLA, political campaign work, staffing former Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham as well as leading organizing and communications work for the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.

  • She currently serves as the Board President of Emerge NM. 
  • Her hobbies include getting more women, queer folks and BIPOC elected to office.
  • She has three cuddle-worthy dogs at home
Lucas Herndon :: Energy and Policy Director
just the facts

you should know

Lucas’ focus is on all things energy and environment, election integrity projects and general messaging strategy. He is often the front facing voice for PNNM when it comes to issues surrounding methane, renewable energy, oil industry accountability, and public lands issues. 

Lucas has an extensive background in public lands and solar energy. He was instrumental in the creation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in 2014 and has participated in every local election since 2012 through phone banking, online organizing, and poll watching. Lucas is a lifelong resident of Las Cruces where he has served in various capacities of leadership including as President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, District Director for the Dona Ana County Democratic Party, and attending and completing the inaugural classes of the Las Cruces Neighborhood Leadership Academy and the Las Cruces Tree Stewards. 

  • Owned a tattoo shop called Omega Tattoo & Supply 
  • Once got a chin bump “what’s up” from James Harden on an airplane when Harden saw Lucas’ beard 
  • Has a minor in Medieval and Early Modern History
Josette Arvizu :: Communications Director
just the facts

you should know

Josette Arvizu is the Communications Director at ProgressNow New Mexico where she oversees the development and implementation of systems that further the external and internal communications of the organization.

Josette’s background in marketing includes copywriting, paid media, SEO and content strategy for businesses and nonprofits, including convention and visitor bureaus from Bermuda to Anaheim. She began her career teaching writing to college students while in New Mexico State University’s MFA in creative writing program. Her previous work promoting diversity and inclusion includes coordination of writing and traditional arts workshops for Native American youth at the Tucson Indian Center.
  • Is a cat mom to an obstinate orange tabby named Quasimodo and a restless grey cat named Squirrel
  • Hasn’t heard a pun she didn’t like
  • Minored in dance in college and is an avid follower of ballet on Instagram
Jackie Aguirre :: Communications Specialist
just the facts

you should know

Jackie’s focus is on graphics and social media marketing that promote progressive issues across our state. 

Jackie’s background includes work in the Reproductive Justice space focusing on Latinx, Chicanx and Mexican-American communities.

  • She is a co-owner of a community art gallery celebrating BIPOC artists
  • She is a long-time volunteer for Planned Parenthood and works with college students to provide condoms/dental dams, menstrual products & other resources
  • She is a part of a group of women who love craft beer and hosts monthly beer shares with beer from all over the country
Edgar Cruz :: Communications Specialist
just the facts

you should know

Edgar Cruz is a Communications Specialist at ProgressNow New Mexico where he focuses on video creation and research that promotes progressive issues across our state.

Edgar has a background producing multimedia initiatives. With over five years of radio production experience, he is a movement agent who believes in exploring all avenues of media to inform and engage community.

  • Is a host of Espejos de Aztlan on KUNM
  • Is a member of Generation Justice
  • First discovered his passion for organizing as a high school student after joining the Youth Alliance in 2009