NMSU Graduate Workers Union rally for fair treatment amidst state labor board hearing on NMSU’s contract violations

February 6, 2024

Media Contact: Lindley Hornsby, lindleyh@nmsu.edu, (706) 587-4856

NMSU Graduate Workers Union rally for fair treatment amidst state labor board hearing on NMSU’s contract violations

NMSU graduate workers, union members and grievants will host a rally on Tuesday February 6th at 1:30 PM Hadley Hall to demand the university honor their contract and respect the grievance process. A state labor board hearing on NMSU’s contract violation will be held inside Hadley Hall the same day. The hearing comes after NMSU failed to respond to a Prohibited Practice Charge (PPC) that the Union filed against the University in early December, leading to a default determination in the Union’s favor. The hearing will provide an opportunity for both sides to speak about the dispute.

Graduate workers at NMSU are the primary instructors for a majority of undergraduate classes and also contribute significantly to the university’s research and administrative activity. Despite their contributions to the university, graduate workers at NMSU are paid a wage below the poverty line, accounting for the wages they are required to pay back in tuition. On top of this, since the ratification of the contract over a year ago, the administration has yet to train its supervisors on the union contract. The Graduate Workers Union has thus navigated multiple contract violations with the administration throughout which the administration has poorly communicated with union stewards, including failing to reply to emails or provide requested information within the grievance timeline (an unfulfilled info request required by the Union to police the contract is the subject of the PPC).

Additionally, they have ended meetings abruptly and unprofessionally, without regard for the stewards and grievants. Most importantly, the union has tried to solve problems at the lowest level possible as it outlined as a mutual goal for both parties in the contract, yet NMSU administration has not been coming to the table with solutions. At times the administration even seems to overrule agreed upon resolutions at the departmental level.

Following the due course of the grievance process, the union escalated the issue to the state labor board.

“I am astounded by the incompetence of the NMSU system’s inability to abide by contractual agreement with the graduate students at the expense of student well-being,” said Lindsay Keeling, a current Health Equity PhD candidate. Isela Garcia, another Health Equity PhD candidate, echoed these sentiments with, “The actions of the institution do not match their mission or goals. We have been gaslit, dismissed and ignored throughout the grievance process. Our voices and our needs have been ignored.”

GWU has been working to improve conditions and compensation for graduate workers, bringing them up to par with NMSU peer institutions. Contract violations and disregard for the grievance process stalls this crucial progress for graduate workers.

The rally will take place on Tuesday February 6th at 1:30PM outside of Hadley Hall, the location of the state labor board hearing.

To arrange an interview with a graduate worker or community spokesperson call Lindley Hornsby lindleyh@nmsu.edu 7065874856