CITY OVERSTEPS BOUNDS IN ATTEMPTING MINIMUM WAGE ENFORCEMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (3/1/13)
Contact: Mike Blessing, State Chair
Alternate: Elizabeth Hanes, Press Secretary
[ALBUQUERQUE] – The Libertarian Party of New Mexico (LPNM) strongly condemns the decision by Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry and City Attorney David Tourek to pursue legal action against Route 66 Malt Shop regarding wages allegedly not paid to an employee under Albuquerque's minimum wage law.
"It's not the city's job to enforce wage and hour law," said LPNM State Chair Mike Blessing. "This responsibility falls to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. In fact, the DWS website provides clear guidelines on how to file a claim. Why isn't the city attorney directing the complaining employee to these proper resources?"
In various statements made to the media, Tourek has claimed the city flip-flopped on the issue of representing former employee Kevin O'Leary in an action against Route 66 Malt Shop because "no one was coming forward to help him." Tourek had previously stated the city should not intervene in the dispute and that O'Leary's only recourse was to "hire a private attorney."
"The assertion that O'Leary – or any employee – with a wage and hour claim needs to 'hire a private attorney' in order to resolve the issue is patently false," Blessing said. "First of all, the DWS provides a wage claim procedure specifically available to 'any employee who cannot afford an attorney, and has not been paid his/her earned wages.'[i] Not only does DWS spell out on its website the exact procedure to be followed to make a wage claim, it provides a specific form for Albuquerque employees[ii]. Furthermore, any claimant can represent him– or herself pro se in an action against the employer in Metropolitan Court."
Tourek claims the city's decision to represent O'Leary is "an exception."
"We can only ask ourselves why O'Leary should receive assistance from the powerful resources of the City Attorney's office when so many other Albuquerque employees are denied such assistance," Blessing said. "The bottom line is the city has no business intervening in a wage dispute, period, let alone doing so selectively – presumably based on the high-profile nature of the case."
The LPNM opposes any mandatory minimum wage law as being contrary to the principles of free market economics.
ABOUT THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY OF NEW MEXICO
Established in 1971, LPNM is the third-largest political party in the state. LPNM seeks to preserve personal liberty and freedom by opposing new or more restrictive laws, new or more expensive spending programs, and new or higher taxes. Guided by the Non-Aggression Principle, which opposes the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals, Libertarians promote peace, personal freedom, and unfettered capitalism.
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