N.M. Gov. Martinez in Row Over Union Firings

Thursday, 17 Mar 2011 01:32 PM

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Labor unions, which have been losing power across the country as states work to rein in public workers’ overblown pay and benefits, are taking their fight to court in New Mexico.

unions, New Mexico, Martinez, Gentry,
            benefits
Gov. Susana Martinez

The New Mexico Federation of Labor AFL-CIO asked the state’s highest court Wednesday to rule that Republican Gov. Susana Martinez overstepped her authority when she dismissed members of the New Mexico Public Employee Labor Relations Board, the Sante Fe New Mexican reported Thursday.

Martinez fired the board’s executive director, Pam Gentry, on Feb. 5. Union officials then asked the board to hire a new director. On March 1, Martinez fired the entire three-member board.

The unions are complaining that there’s no one to enforce the state’s Public Employee Bargaining Act.

The governor’s office said the law allows Martinez to remove the members of any board, and she did so as part of an ongoing review of state boards and commissions. Spokesman Scott Darnell said the administration agrees that the board should hire the executive director.

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