12.4% of workers nationwide are union members, a 0.3 percent or 428,000-member increase from 2007 for a total of 16.1 million, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
12.4% of city workers are members of AFSCME Local 3999, according to President Daniel Trujillo
"Every season is organizing season."—Robin Gould, president of Communication Workers of America Local 7076
As many businesses weigh pay cuts to survive the recession, AFSCME Local 3999, the union representing 810 city workers, hopes to win 4 percent raises for its members.
The salary bump was part of negotiations three years ago that city officials now want to scale back due to economic conditions. Local 3999 President Daniel Trujillo says that's a lot of hooey. The city has cut 104 jobs over the last few years, which should be enough to compensate the remaining employees for their increased workloads, he says.
"The city is top heavy to begin with," Trujillo tells SFR. "If people keep on saying that the money's not there, then they need to look at the structure of the city because they have director over a director over a superintendent over a supervisor over a supervisor."
Robin Gould, president of CWA Local 7076, which represents 3,000 state employees, chuckles at AFSCME's proposal. She says labor unions shouldn't press their luck.
"Right now, we're trying to be realistic and I think the important thing for workers right now is to keep the jobs that they do have," Gould tells SFR. "We don't want to see layoffs, and we are prepared to bite the bullet as well and not ask for increases. And in return, we would hope that employers would do everything possible to make sure those jobs stay in place."
Trujillo says AFSCME has had a 50 percent membership increase since he took over a year and a half ago, while Gould says CWA hasn't vacillated much in the last year, a trend in keeping with other unions.
"I would say, in general numbers, things have remained fairly constant for the construction unions across the state," Ray Baca, executive director of the New Mexico Building & Construction Trades Council, which represents 17 state labor unions, tells SFR. "There's a lot of anticipation as far as what the stimulus money will bring as far as projects to the state and how quickly that will occur…As the general economy goes, so does the fate of the unions."