NM Supreme Court sides with labor unions in prevailing wage dispute

On Monday, in New Mexico Building & Construction Trades Council v. Dean, the New Mexico Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus against the Labor Relations Division of the state’s Department of Workforce Solutions, requiring it to set prevailing wage rates and prevailing fringe benefit rates for workers on public works projects consistent with those set forth in collective bargaining agreements in each locality.

Justice Maes’s opinion notes that the Legislature amended the Public Works Minimum Wage Act in 2009 to require the Labor Relations Division to do so, but that it still had not done so. The Court rejected the government’s argument that the statute allows it to consider factors other than collective bargaining agreements in setting the prevailing rates.

For press coverage of this decision, including commentary from the unions and the state on what this decision means, see this report by Susan Montoya Bryan of KRQE News 13.

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