Funding to support state and local governments is one of the most important parts of the American Rescue Plan, which passed both houses of Congress and was signed by President Biden last week. Biden and Democrats in Congress made it very clear that they intend for the funds to be used to support public services, strengthen public sector jobs and wages, and help communities build back better from the pandemic.
In New Mexico, state workers, members of CWA Local 7076, are fighting to ensure that New Mexico's leaders follow through by establishing a $15/hour minimum wage for state employees and restoring a promised 1.5% wage increase. They were able to bring the fight to a floor vote in the New Mexico Senate. While they weren't successful this year, they plan to build membership and their political program to fight again next year.
"I love the fact that during the pandemic, when many closed their doors, we remained open to keep providing another line of food aid for our women, infants, and children," said Eunice Gamon, a WIC clerk in Las Cruces who worked throughout the pandemic. "Many state employees have served and are still serving during the pandemic, many of them were infected with COVID-19, including me...I believe we deserve a living wage raise."