Advocates wanted voters to make the call about whether all businesses in Albuquerque should be required to offer paid sick leave to their workers. The measure died before the Bernalillo County Commission on Thursday.
The chambers were packed. And there was some applause when sick leave failed to make it onto the general election ballot.
Adriann Barboa of Strong Families New Mexico said they gathered thousands of signatures, and that means sick leave will have to go before voters eventually. But she said that’s not soon enough. "Our families are already hurting. New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the country," she said. "And what’s saddest is that it’s many of our service workers that would have gotten that small benefit of being able to take a day off when they’re sick."
Even though the measure would only affect businesses in Albuquerque, workers from all over the county work within the city limits, she pointed out. "This commission had a responsibility to the health and well-being of their workers in their county. And our families lost today."
Barboa said she was disappointed that Democratic Commissioner Art De La Cruz didn't support the initiative. De La Cruz emphasized during the meeting that this is a city matter and should have been decided by city leaders. His position, he said, wasn’t about the merits of the debate.
Eva Noriega of Garcia's Kitchen said she was glad the question didn't go before voters. "I think everybody would vote for it not knowing what all the information is," she said. Garcia's offers paid time off and other benefits to employees, she said, but not every business should have to.
Another ballot question about whether to increase the amount of public financing for mayoral candidates also failed on a 3 to 2 vote.