Man with to much workThe Albuquerque City Council will be considering an ordinance that has the ability to knock the restaurant industry in Albuquerque to our knees. This ordinance, proposed by councilors Klarissa Pena and Isaac Benton, is possibly perfect for industries like architecture and legal firms, who bill inflated rates for hourly work.  However, not every industry is equal.

According to this article in the Albuquerque Journal, the ordinance would include the following mandates on employers:

  • Employers would have to give each employee his or her work schedule in writing at least 21 days in advance
  • Employees couldn’t be required to work different hours without consent
  • Employers would have to pay an employee for up to four hours of work if they, at the last minute, tell the worker not to show up or reduce the hours of the shift
  • Workers would have the right to request a flexible working arrangement once a quarter if they have a health problem, must care for a family member, or participate in training
  • Employers would have to offer additional work to existing employees before hiring new ones.
  • Employees would generally accrue at least an hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked

Everyone knows how hard it is to run a restaurant and maintain quality food and service.  Everyone I talk to seems overly sympathetic when I mention I’m in the restaurant industry. We are a great industry and I don’t apologize for our business model at all, but a “one-size fits all” ordinance, like this one being proposed tonight at city council, does not take our business model into account.


This email is a notification to all restaurants in Albuquerque. You need to start talking to your city councilors and the mayor.  Call them at 505-768-3100 and invite them to see what it takes to run your business.   Link here to find your councilor.   We will keep you informed as this legislation develops. We need everyone to take a stand. Together we are strong.

One third of all Americans get their first job in the restaurant industry. Not only are restaurants giving people their first job, but we teach them to be good, productive employees for the rest of their careers. We give them their first opportunity to start living the American dream. It’s not easy work, but it is rewarding, and for the most part everyone who has worked in the industry (half of all Americans) have positive memories of the restaurant industry and their first job. Restaurants give students and parents flexible schedules to work around school and life situations. Restaurant work schedules are dependent on business flows and can not always be predicted– unlike architecture firms and other businesses whose work load can be predicted over time.

According to the Albuquerque Journal,  the 23-page ordinance includes the provisions listed above and applies to full- and part-time, seasonal and temporary employees. The exceptions include people working in an “executive, administrative or professional capacity and forepersons, superintendents and supervisors.”

City Councilor Ken Sanchez, a Democrat, said he supports the proposal.  However,  he said he would also like to see a compromise that can win either support from the mayor or enough votes to override a veto. He said it makes “for a better workforce” when employers provide good benefits.  Democrats hold a 5-4 edge on the council. It takes six of nine votes to override a mayoral veto.

The final decision won’t be made tonight, but we need you to speak up for your business and make your voice heard!


Carol Wight


New Mexico Restaurant Association