Carlsbad Firefighters Upset Over Court Ruling

Staff Report
NewsWest 9

CARLSBAD, NEW MEXICO - Carlsbad firefighters say they're considering turning to the New Mexico Supreme Court or the Legislature in their battle with the city over wages.

Last week, the state Court of Appeals ruled cities and counties have the final word on employee pay raises even when an arbitrator orders them. The court says an arbitrator's award is binding as long as there is money available and the local government appropriates it.

The union contends the appellate court ruling in effect allows public employers to refuse to bargain in good faith.

Union President Robert Sanchez says the union wants the issue left as an arbitrator negotiated it.

Firefighters had sued after Carlsbad failed to appropriate money for a one-time, 15 percent raise awarded by the arbitrator in 2007.