Joe Romero’s Union participation started at the Chino molybdenum (AMAX) mine in Leadville, Colorado in 1967. Twenty years later when the mine closed, Romero worked various construction jobs and then moved to Santa Fe NM and started working at the City of Santa Fe’s Solid Waste Department as a heavy equipment operator. Romero and his co-workers attempted to create a Union at the City in 1990. That Union ordinance was voted down, and not until 1994 did AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) Local 3999 receive the needed City Council votes. Advocating for Union membership, Romero describes how he convinced his fellow workers to join the Union to improve working conditions and improve benefits. Interview by Diane Pinkey.
The Working People's History of New Mexico Project (WPHNM) is an oral labor history project created to gather the labor stories of working people in New Mexico. While part of the interviews focus on the specific jobs that the interviewees performed, the interviews also explore labor-management relations as well as union, workers council, and social activism participation. The interviews contain information about family and social relationships and offer themes of social and historical interest in New Mexico and the US.