At 11am this morning, NMSU Graduate Workers United (GWU-UE Local 1498) served NMSU General Counsel with a copy of a legal complaint filed this morning with the New Mexico Public Employee Labor Relations Board detailing four alleged violations of New Mexico state law. The union is charging the University with illegally withholding information required to enforce tuition and health insurance payments owed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. In December of 2022, the University and the Union signed an agreement that included immediate financial relief of roughly $650 in tuition scholarships and $100 in health insurance assistance for certain eligible employees
“Over the last three months our stewards have worked tirelessly to make sure that every eligible worker receives all the payments we secured in our agreement with the university last winter” said GWU President Alexander Allison. “Unfortunately, the University has not been a partner in this effort and instead chose to illegally withhold the information we need to make sure every worker receives what they are owed”.
Under the New Mexico Public Employee Bargaining Act (PEBA), a public employer, such as NMSU, is obligated to provide information requested by a union in the course of a grievance process. In four separate class action grievances filed in March and April of 2023, union stewards requested basic information such as records of who had been determined eligible to receive payments, and have yet to receive a single document responsive to these requests.
“While tuition was due in early February, we anticipated that the University might need a bit more time to process the initial payments”, said GWU union steward Adam Smith. “What we did not anticipate was that NMSU would fail to issue any payments at all until we filed mass grievances, underpay hundreds of workers, and then illegally refuse to provide any requested information. It's really disappointing that we had to file a legal charge over something that NMSU could have chosen to simply resolve.”
NMSU graduate employees instruct over 5,000 undergraduates every semester in addition to providing important research contributions. Unlike their counterparts at peer institutions, including UNM, graduate workers at NMSU are obligated to pay roughly 30% of their annual salary back to their employer in tuition and fees. Negotiations for tuition coverage resumed on May 19th and are scheduled to continue on June 13th.
To arrange an interview with a graduate worker call Anna Rose at 505-907-3757.