A House panel wants the state government to be in charge of most labor decisions. The House Business and Employment Committee advanced a controversial bill that would take power away from local governments when it comes to scheduling employees and on requiring certain levels of benefits. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, advanced on an 11-2 vote, with only two Democrats voting against the legislation. Harper introduced a relatively major change since the last committee hearing; the new version of the legislation no longer included the portion of the bill that would have barred counties and municipalities from raising the minimum wage. Instead, the bill focused on other employment issues, including not allowing local governments to require private employers to provide paid sick leave or a minimum notice for setting employees’ schedules.
More than workers at Albuquerque’s T-Mobile call center began working under new workplace rules this week. The company has been under increasing pressure to modify work rules to give workers greater flexibility to balance family and work requirements. The company operates a nationwide call center near Jefferson and Menaul in Albuquerque and recently announced plans to add more employees top the more than 1,500 local workers already employed at the site. News of the new workplace rules came from the Communications Workers of America which has been leading efforts with local organizations for these changes:
For Immediate Release July 2, 2015
Public Pressure Pushes T-Mobile US to Provide Fairer Paid Parental Leave Policy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Responding to growing public pressure and local government initiatives, T-Mobile US announced this week that it would be adopt a paid parental leave program. The company also said it would end an oppressive policy that required call center workers to be on the phone 96.5% of their work time, leaving them with virtually no time for follow up on customer issues or to make changes in customers’ accounts as needed.
ISAAC BENTON is the City Councilor for Albuquerque’s District 2 and KLARISSA PEÑA is the City Councilor for Albuquerque’s District 3.
It’s no secret that the nature of work in our state and country has changed dramatically. The demands of our modern economy have resulted in longer hours, less job security and stagnating wages. But even though much about the way people work has changed, public policies haven’t kept pace. In Bernalillo County alone (where 82 percent of all residents live in Albuquerque), nearly one-third of hourly workers are employed in part-time jobs or jobs with variable hours. Many people working hourly jobs to provide for their families are not offered earned sick leave and have little predictability in their scheduling.