Unions rally at NM Capitol, object to budget cuts

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Labor unions are flexing their political muscle in New Mexico against proposed budget cuts and in defense of collective bargaining rights.

Several hundred people rallied at the Capitol on Tuesday in support of union workers in Wisconsin, which are protesting a plan by the Republican governor to roll back public employees' rights to negotiate benefits and working conditions.

There's no push under way in the Legislature to repeal collective bargaining, but union officials and Democratic lawmakers who spoke at the rally said New Mexico workers must be ready to defend their rights in the future.

A proposed budget will require public employees to pay more for their pensions while the state lowers its contributions to cut costs. Labor leaders want lawmakers to consider closing tax loopholes to balance the budget.