RIO RANCHO, N.M.—Today, with support from the AFT, the fastest-growing nurses union in the country, and AFT New Mexico, a supermajority of nurses at the University of New Mexico Sandoval Regional Medical Center have declared their support for unionization in an official petition filed under the New Mexico public employee bargaining law.
The victory marks a historic win for nurses in New Mexico, and union leaders expect that it’s likely to inspire further organizing within the same facility and across the state in the healthcare sector.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said:
“Healthcare professionals all across New Mexico for the last 18 months showed up to work and battled a worldwide pandemic, protecting our communities. I stand with the nurses of University of New Mexico Sandoval Regional Medical Center who chose to support unionization with AFT-Healthcare. I always stand with workers advocating for themselves.”
AFT President Randi Weingarten said:
“Nurses at UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center recognize that when they band together, they can secure the respect and conditions they deserve. This is a huge victory for these nurses who have worked endless hours during a global pandemic to ensure that families in this region receive the high-quality frontline care they deserve. Public hospitals across the country are constantly underfunded and, in turn, understaffed. Nurses at UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center deserve a contract that provides for safe staffing levels and a fair wage scale to help recruit and retain high-quality registered nurses. Today’s action will give nurses some agency over their lives, by joining together and harnessing their individual voices to create something bigger for themselves and the patients they care for.”
Laura Rector, a registered nurse at UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center, said:
“Forming a union with AFT in New Mexico will impact nurses at SRMC in such a positive way. We’ve longed to have a collective voice, so we can properly advocate for our patients, our colleagues and ourselves. We are so grateful to those who’ve supported us throughout this process, including our union brothers and sisters at the AFT.”