On February 12, nearly 100 members of UFCW Local 1564 traveled to the New Mexico State Capitol in Santa Fe to lobby their legislators against right to work legislation. During meetings with key senators, UFCW members made the case that right to work would have a severely negative impact on New Mexico.
“Right to work would allow companies to lower wages,” said UFCW Local 1564 member Andre Leger, who works at Smith’s. “It’s an attack on workers who are already struggling to make ends meet.”
Annette and Mark Ayers, along with their adult daughter, all work at Smith’s and are all members of UFCW Local 1564. “Workers need to have a say in their own future,” Mark said. “That is why we are here.” “We work at a lower rate than the rest of the country and right to work would make wages even lower,” said Annette. “Our state simply cannot afford that.” Annette added: “We have a single daughter who works for Smith’s. She’s able to pay for her own apartment, afford a car, and get the basics in life. If right to work passed, she’d be living in our house.”
Several members talked about the importance of the UFCW being represented in the halls of the Captiol. “If you don’t say anything about how you feel, you almost always lose,” said UFCW Local 1564 member Alek Dewispeleare, who works at Smith’s. Fellow UFCW Local 1564 member and Smith’s worker Mark Sokolowski agreed: “I’ve been a union member for over 30 years,” he said. “No one forced me to join. I’ve been able to support my family. I won’t stand by and let career politicians take that away.”
Annette Ayers talked about the emotion of the Lobby Day. “When the Senator told me he was against right to work, my eyes filled with tears,” she said. “It gives you hope that there are people truly working for you.”