State may owe $20 million in back pay to state workers

Aug 10, 2012

The state Court of Appeals has ruled about 11,000 state workers are entitled to retroactive pay increases because former Governor Bill Richardson's administration didn't follow union contracts in distributing money provided by the Legislature for employee compensation in 2009.

Governor Susana Martinez's administration plans to appeal this week's ruling and says it could cost the state $20 million for back pay to workers covered by union contracts. A union lawyer estimates a lower cost.

The court's ruling means back pay for about half of the state's classified workers, which are those hired through a merit-based civil service system rather than a political appointment.

At issue are pay raises for workers in agencies covered by collective bargaining agreements, both non-union members and those paying union dues.