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Fuerzas Unidas Caucus of the

Democratic Party of New Mexico


Vol. I (3)

Building Worker Power

by Milagro Padilla

Union! For a lot of folks just hearing the word union can evoke an emotional response. We’ve seen negative depictions of unions in the media that show a small group of elites with shadowy ties protecting bad workers who take advantage of good companies. We’ve heard that it would make it harder to talk to your coworkers and upend how you’re allowed to interact. While this imagery originates from many places, corporations specifically use it to protect their primary interest, the bottom line. 

However, unions share blame in this negative imagery. Across the country unions had drifted away from their roots as organizations of workers who were tired of being exploited, into organizations that protect contracts that provide benefits and services to members. This led to a stark “us vs them” narrative where the emphasis was no longer focused on organizing to utilize power collectively and was focused on wielding influence selfishly. 

Many modern unions reject this old way of thinking and realize the path to economic justice must be an intersectional endeavor that listens and focuses on bringing people together to build collective power where everyone’s needs can be heard and addressed. 

This focus is even more important when we look at unionized workplaces through racial equity and an anti-racist lens. Unionized workers of color earn on average 26% more than non-unionized workers in the same field. 

Unions are currently seeing a resurgence because of this shift in mindset. Industries and workforces that people thought could never organize are doing just that. Places like Starbucks, Google, Amazon, and even New Mexico’s own, Meow Wolf, have seen union drives and in many places have won recognition. This wave of worker power continues to grow across the country. 

In a climate of massive wage inequality, inflation, and worker shortages unions remain the best tool available to workers to win a voice at work. If you’re feeling like you don’t have a voice at work, it might be time to organize! 

Mark Your Calendars!



MONDAY, March 28, 6 PM

Attention all members! Join us on Monday, March 28, at 6 pm for our third membership meeting. To register for this meeting, please use this link: 

Bring a friend! They can become a member here:

Use our newly activated ActBlue link for dues or donations:

Fuerzas Unidas Meeting Agenda

March 28, 2022

(4th Monday of each month)

5:55     Open Zoom Room

6:00 – Welcome! (Diane Torres-Velásquez)

6:05 – Treasurer’s Report: (Vicky Estrada-Bustillo)

6:10 – Updates

6:20 – Redistricting Issues

6:40 – Debrief

6:55 – Next Fuerzas Caucus meetings: April 25th, May 23rd 



Become a Member of Fuerzas Unidas

We are building a strong membership to organize and mobilize the Latino / Hispano vote; therefore, we enthusiastically encourage your membership, which can be completed at the following link:

Help us mobilize our strong communities by becoming active members of Fuerzas Unidas in your region!

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Dr. Eric Griego on Investing in Our People

by Pia Gallegos

Eric Griego, Ph.D. is Director of Outreach and Advocacy for the City of Albuquerque and a former NM State Senator and Albuquerque City Council member. I talked to Eric about our new Fuerzas Unidas Caucus. I asked him whether based on his experience in public policy and being elected to office, he had any messages for New Mexican Hispanics/Latino/Chicano Democrats.

Eric said that Nuevo Mexicanos – generational and new immigrant populations – are united by the fundamental values of social justice and investing in people. We understand the importance of investing in families by supporting public schools, Medicaid, Headstart, and Pell Grants. We want children and families to have good nutrition, housing, education, and healthcare.

Eric said that we must not be afraid of holding our public officials accountable for promoting the wellbeing of our people and our planet. The idea of not criticizing members of “our team” (Democrats or progressives) holds back our progress. Eric said that in choosing the Hispanic/Latino leaders for the changes Democrats need in economic opportunity, voting rights, and social justice, we should view the representation of our community through both a descriptive and substantive lens. 

Descriptive representation is when elected officials reflect their community identity, e.g., Hispanic, Native American, Black, female, LBGTQ+. It is good that our leaders come from all cultures and sexes/genders so that we can see ourselves reflected in our leadership. But to truly help our communities, we need to strive for substantive representation.

Substantive representation is using an elected or appointed position to substantively improve the lives of those we represent. In other words, those persons assisted by the actions of the legislator or policymaker are the real represented constituents. The questions to ask of a Hispanic/Latino candidate or legislator is, “Do you fight for the values that help our community? Do you advocate for legislation or policies that invest in our people?”

For example, Hispanic legislators who have impeded early childhood education or NM voting rights may not be “substantively” representing us because our communities need these initiatives to thrive and civically engage. Current or former Hispanic/Latino elected officials who represent corporate interests or lobby against policies such as internet neutrality or predatory lending reform are not substantively representing the populations they claim to speak for. 

It is not enough to have Latino/Hispano legislators or other officials. We need champions on economic and social justice who will invest in the human infrastructure upon which our communities can build fulfilling lives. 

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Eric Griego Montoya, Ph.D. is currently the Director of Outreach and Advocacy for the City of Albuquerque, under Democratic Mayor Tim Keller. Eric served on the Albuquerque City Council (2001-2005) and in the NM State Senate (2009-2012) where he championed progressive issues from increasing the minimum wage, to public financing of elections. During his time in the NM Senate, Eric also ran New Mexico Voices for Children. In 2012, he ran for U.S. Congress. From 2014-2020, he was a research fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Center for Social Policy at the University of New Mexico, where his research focused on sustainable economic development, social capital, and public policy. From 2017-2021 he was State Director of the New Mexico Working Families Party.

Fuerzas Unidas Caucus Participates in Its First State Democratic Party Convention

By Vicky Estrada-Bustillo

The Fuerzas Unidas Caucus, formally established in January of this year, was represented for the FIRST TIME at the Democratic Party State Convention in Roswell, NM. It was a wonderful opportunity for officers and regional representatives to meet each other and meet members from different parts of the state. Additionally, state delegates and candidates running in the pre-primary election got an opportunity to learn about the mission of the Fuerzas Unidas Caucus, meet caucus members, and sign-up to become members of the organization.

Information provided at the table included the Fuerzas Unidas By-Laws, both in English and Spanish, sample newsletter, an article from previous newsletter entitled “La Union Hace la Fuerza”, and a map of our different regions, both rural and metro. Members representing the organization at the Gala, and Fuerzas Unidas table at the Convention included Alfredo Dominguez (Interim Southeast Rural Regional Representative), Ben Salazar (Interim Central East Rural Representative, Marsella Duarte (Interim Metro Vice-Ward Chair), Pia Gallegos (Leadership Team member) and myself, Vicky Estrada-Bustillo (Interim Treasurer).

The turnout was fantastic and we are pleased to share that individuals from thirteen different counties joined the caucus with just under thirty members added to the membership, and dues were received from 9 new members.

To all our previous members, along with the newly added members, we look forward to working with you all to inform and engage Hispanics throughout the state. This is just the beginning. As Ennio García-Miera stated in his article, Fuerzas Unidas “Nos empodera para lograr nuestras metas de igualdad y fuerza política.”

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La Unión Hace la Fuerza

Milagro Padilla

Fuerzas Unidas Caucus

of the Democratic Party of New Mexico