The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has no dues-paying members on the Moriarty, New Mexico police force, but that’s not stopping the union from demanding the city negotiate with it anyway.
The city’s police officers voted in 2011 to create a collective bargaining unit affiliated with AFSCME to negotiate employment contracts on their behalf, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Two officers joined, the majority did not.
Those two have since left the department. The seven officers currently employed by the city are not union members, though the union still claims to represent them.
Now, the union says it wants to negotiate pay raises for the department employees and is warning “city administrators not to talk to police officers.”
“Please be advised that AFSCME is still the exclusive representative for the officers and please relay to all those involved that to deal directly with the officers would constitute a prohibitive practice as in direct dealing,” the union says.
The union is unfazed by the fact that it has no dues-paying members on the force.
“The right to organize, the right to bring in a union, or get rid of a union, that’s been tried in American law a long time; that shouldn’t be denied to workers just because it’s a small town,” says New Mexico AFSCME communications director Miles Conway.
State law bars the city from talking with the officers about their employment conditions without a union representative present.
State Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort is seeking to do something about that.
She’s introducing a bill to allow a municipal department with one or no union members to dissolve the collective bargaining unit that claims to represent them.
“The city has to have the ability to function, especially when in comes to public safety,” Beffort tells the paper.
The union, of course, is opposed.
“We’re certainly opposed to any law that would discriminate against a group of workers just because they work in a small town,” Conway says.