The Minimum Wage Deceptions

When Martin Heinrich was on the Albuquerque City Council, he got a call from everyone’s now-defunct “community organizing” group, ACORN.  They wanted a favor – raise the minimum wage, and he was all too quick to respond.  In fact, less than a week after ACORN called Heinrich, he tried to force through their minimum wage rule over the objections of the city council.

Then he tried to take it to the voters, who sided with Albuquerque’s small businesses in rejecting the law.  ACORN pushed hard, but small businesses and working class voters in Albuquerque stood up and said no.

Heinrich, never one to let the voters make decisions on their own, went back to the city council, and dictated a new minimum wage law.

Since Martin got his way, Albuquerque has lost 17,740 jobs.


The Albuquerque Metro Area Has Lost 17,740 Jobs Since Heinrich’s Wage Law Went Into Effect:

Albuquerque Metro Area Had 388,848 Jobs In January 2007. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics,, Accessed 4/24/12)

Albuquerque Metro Area Had 371,108 Jobs In April 2012 (Most Recent Data Available). (Bureau Of Labor Statistics,, Accessed 5/21/12)

Heinrich Bowed To ACORN And Labor Unions By Fighting For A Higher Minimum Wage Even After Voters Rejected The Proposal:

Heinrich First Decided To Pursue A Higher Minimum Wage After Speaking With Representatives Of ACORN. “City Councilor Martin Heinrich says he might sponsor a minimum wage law for Albuquerque after he was contacted by groups promoting the idea. Proponents include ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, he confirmed Tuesday. The group deals with a variety of issues centering on low-income families. Heinrich said there are other parties involved. He would not discuss details and emphasized that the matter remains under study. ‘I talked to those folks and I’m looking at the issue — trying to look at all sides and doing some research,’ Heinrich said.” (Jim Ludwick, “Councilor May Back A ‘Living Wage,’” Albuquerque Journal, 4/27/05)

  • Heinrich Now Claims He Ran For City Council To Raise The Minimum Wage. “It was the reason why when I ran for city council I carried the legislation to raise the minimum wage.” (0:47 – 0:56, “Martin Heinrich introduces Delores Huerta,”, Uploaded 4/2/11)

5 Days Later, Heinrich Proposed A Minimum Wage Hike To Put On The October Ballot. “City Councilor Martin Heinrich on Sunday proposed asking voters to approve an Albuquerque minimum wage of $7.15 per hour. It would be $2 higher than the federal minimum wage but below Santa Fe’s controversial ‘living wage’ ordinance, which provides $8.50 per hour and will increase to $10.50 by 2008. Heinrich said he will introduce formal legislation today and will seek council approval to put the issue on the ballot Oct. 4, the day of the mayoral election.” (Jim Ludwick, “Voters May Decide Local Minimum Wage,” Albuquerque Journal, 5/2/05)

Albuquerque City Council Voted Against Putting The $7.15 Minimum Wage On The Ballot. “Councilors recently voted against putting a $7.15 minimum wage on the ballot. Proposed by Councilor Martin Heinrich, it would have been $ 2 higher than the federal minimum wage.” (Jim Ludqick, “Albuquerque, N.M., Voters To Decide Wage Issue,” Albuquerque Journal, 8/10/05)

ACORN Led The Petition Drive To Include The Minimum Wage Question On The Ballot But At $7.50/Hr. “The petition-drive proposal calls for a minimum wage of $7.50 per hour for regular employees and $4.50 per hour for tipped employees. It would be increased annually to keep pace with inflation….Matthew Henderson of ACORN, the group that spearheaded Albuquerque’s petition drive, said the provision stemmed from the experience in Santa Fe with its local minimum wage. He said there were allegations employers tried to avoid paying the higher amount.” (Jim Ludqick, “Albuquerque, N.M., Voters To Decide Wage Issue,” Albuquerque Journal, 8/10/05)

  • The New Minimum Wage Question, Supported By Heinrich, Included A “Workplace-Access Provision” That “Would Allow Any Member Of The Public To Have Access To Certain Non-Work Areas ‘To Inform Employees Of Their Rights Under This Ordinance And Other Laws.’”  (Jim Ludwick, “Albuquerque, N.M., Voters To Decide Wage Issue,” Albuquerque Journal, 8/10/05)
  • Heinrich Joined With Labor Unions To Support The New Minimum Wage Law. “Heinrich also expressed optimism. ‘Since this issue left the City Council, it’s been in the hands of the public, so I expect a grass-roots campaign. It’s going to do very well,’ he said. It will be promoted by the Albuquerque Living Wage Campaign, which includes labor unions, church groups, community organizations and others.” (Jim Ludwick, “Albuquerque, N.M., Voters To Decide Wage Issue,” Albuquerque Journal, 8/10/05)

The October Vote On The Minimum Wage Was Rejected By Voters. “Heinrich tried last year to get council support of a minimum wage proposal, but he lost on a 5-4 vote. A proposal on the October city ballot was narrowly defeated, and Gov. Bill Richardson failed to win support from the Legislature for a statewide increase.” (Jim Ludwick, “Chávez Clears Way For $6.75 Minimum Wage,” Albuquerque Journal, 5/4/06)

In April 2006, Albuquerque Passed Heinrich’s Minimum Wage Law. “Albuquerque will have a minimum wage of $6.75 per hour on Jan. 1, thanks to last-minute negotiations that cleared the way for approval Thursday. The figure will increase to $7.15 the following year, and to $7.50 on Jan. 1, 2009, under legislation approved by the City Council. The federal minimum wage is $5.15. ‘It is not a silver bullet, and I realize that. It is a start – it is a compromise’ said Council President Martin Heinrich, who sponsored the legislation that was approved on a 6-3 vote.” (Jim Ludwick, “Wage Increase Passes,” Albuquerque Journal, 4/21/06)

  • The Law Also Gave A $1 Deduction On The Minimum Wage If The Employer Paid At Least $2,500 Towards The Employees Health Insurance. “There also will be a credit if an employer pays at least $2,500 per year for health care or child care benefits. At the $2,500 threshold, the payment of those benefits will get the employer a $1 discount from the minimum-wage requirement.” (Jim Ludwick, “Chávez Clears Way For $6.75 Minimum Wage,” Albuquerque Journal, 5/4/06)