Labor & Employment - POSTED: 2011/03/17 13:56
Members of labor unions in New Mexico turned to the state Supreme Court on Wednesday in a dispute with the governor over the Public Employee Labor Relations Board.
Gov. Susana Martinez fired the board's executive director, Pam Gentry, on Feb. 5, then fired the three-member board March 1.
The unions are asking the court to order Martinez to reinstate the board and not to interfere with the board's hiring of an executive director.
The board is responsible for enforcing the Public Employee Bargaining Act in New Mexico.
"We believe that this is a very covert attempt to turn New Mexico into another Wisconsin and we are not going to stand for it," said Christine Trujillo, state president of the New Mexico Federation of Labor AFL-CIO and the American Federation of Teachers in New Mexico.
Last week, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed into law a measure eliminating most union rights for public employees in that state.
The New Mexico unions contend in a petition to the Supreme Court that the Republican governor exceeded her powers.
The Associated Press left a message seeking comment from Martinez. A spokesman for the governor has said her decision was part of a review of state boards and commissions since she took office in January.