Graduate Workers Union and campus allies to speak at NMSU Board of Regents meeting, demand answer to poverty wages and pay-to-work policies

December 8, 2022

Media Contact: Alexander Allison,, 802-793-5330

The NMSU Graduate Workers Union and their faculty and undergraduate allies will be gathering at 1pm today at NMSU’s Board of Regents Meeting to demand answers from the NMSU administration regarding poverty wages and crushing fees. This meeting comes just one day before the union’s December 9th contract deadline, and workers are expecting answers from the regents.

“The situation for graduate workers at NMSU has become unbearable. Rising inflation and NMSU’s choice to keep increasing tuition and healthcare fees have left graduate students forced to choose between buying basic necessities and paying their tuition costs to stay enrolled” said Kelley Boland, a graduate worker in the Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Ecology department. “The Regents' decision to ignore the most basic needs of its workers will continue to degrade the quality of teaching, research and learning at NMSU.”

Graduate workers at NMSU are particularly frustrated with the Regents’ unwillingness to engage with them over the issue of graduate worker poverty, choosing to communicate with the union exclusively through outside legal counsel. They’ve attended several regents meetings over the course of the year and have been met with absolute silence from the Regents.

Graduate worker compensation at NMSU lags far behind its self identified peer institutions. 13 out of 15 of these universities provide some form of tuition coverage for graduate workers, leaving NMSU uncompetitive when attempting to attract and retain graduate students. After paying these tuition costs, the average NMSU graduate worker makes just $11,861 per year, putting them well below the federal poverty line.

The NMSU Graduate Workers Union, represented by the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE), stands at the leading edge of the rash of graduate worker organizing that has exploded across the country in recent months. In 2022, over 10,000 graduate students have filed for union recognition to address the same issues of poverty wages and out-of-control university fees.

To arrange an interview with a graduate worker, call Alexander Allison at 802-793-5330.