NM Local 51 Wins Arbitration Reinstating City Employee, Sets Stage for City Elections
Local 51 started off the New Year with some great news when a neutral arbitrator ruled in the union’s favor in a case involving UWUA member Armondo Rosales, who was unfairly terminated by the City of Roswell, New Mexico a year ago.
Rosales was fired after an altercation at work provoked by another employee. The union immediately filed a grievance, claiming the discharge was unfair. At the arbitration hearing, the union proved not only that Rosales was the victim in the incident, but that city managers had known about the other employee’s history of violent threats against other employees for years but never did anything about it.
Reinstated with full back pay
In his decision, Arbitrator Richard Rice ruled the city had no “cause” to discipline Rosales, and ordered management to reinstate him with full back pay.
“This is a huge win, not only for Brother Rosales but also for all employees in the City of Roswell,” stated Local 51 President Patrick Lopez. “This decision sends a clear message to city managers that they have to treat union workers fairly, and if not, then UWUA will take action.”
Utility Workers Mobilize for Roswell City Elections
The arbitration victory shows why city employees need strong unions and solid union contracts as Local 51 members mobilize for city elections.
In March, voters in Roswell will elect a new Mayor and five City Council members. These are the elected officials who will make critical decisions affecting every city employee – including whether they will properly fund the city budget so municipal workers can finally enjoy a decent cost-of-living increase, and whether the city will bargain in good faith when negotiations open later this year for a new union contract.
Already, UWUA has been meeting with other unions in Roswell and Chaves County to make certain that union workers’ voices are heard and that City Council members who are elected support working family issues.
The local is working with teachers, firefighters, police, and other union workers in Roswell, to have an impact at the ballot box. Negotiations for a new contract with the city will take place later this year.