New Mexico Federation of Labor Responds to Sandoval County Effort to Move RTW Lawsuit to Federal Court

Albuquerque – The New Mexico Federation of Labor released the following statement:

“On February 15, 2018, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 611, and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), Local 1564, filed suit against Sandoval County seeking to strike down a newly adopted ordinance which would impair the ability of private corporations to freely contract with New Mexico workers.  The so-called “right-to-work” ordinance makes illegal work contracts freely negotiated by some of the County’s largest employers.

“On March 22, Sandoval County filed its first response to the lawsuit.  That response is significant for two reasons:  First, Sandoval County has improvidently attempted to remove the case to Federal Court.  The Unions’ case may be removed to Federal Court only where a party raises a question regarding federal law, however the Unions have not raised a federal law question in its suit.  Sandoval County has admitted as much in its motion, when it writes that the Union has filed its lawsuit, “without mention of federal law.”  (p.3 of Sandoval County Notice of Removal.) Instead, the Union has argued the County’s ordinance violates only state law. The Unions believe the removal is an attempt to gain improper advantage in the case and will seek to move the case back to state court where it belongs and for sanctions against the County for improper litigation gamesmanship.  

“Second, Sandoval County’s response is significant for a another reason — the County has dedicated its own tax dollars for this litigation.  The Unions warned that the County would spend public dollars to fight what amounts to a political battle and, sure enough, that is exactly what’s happened.  The Sandoval County attorney has filed this motion using public resources for this battle, a truly sad state of affairs, and one that reflects the current climate of our political discourse where some politicians believe that public funds are fair game for political battles.

“The working citizens of Sandoval County hope that the Commissioners responsible for this political war will use scarce public resources for more worthy and important items.”

March 26, 2018
Contact: Shane Youtz