Newsletter

July 2022 Issue

Dear UGW Members,

Our union’s Bargaining Committee and UNM’s negotiating team reconvened June 23-25 to continue working through the basic contract language and our non-economic proposals. Here are some brief updates: 

We reached a tentative agreement on the “Agreement” article, which establishes the two parties negotiating the contract: UNM and UE. 

With regard to employee contracts, UNM agreed to language against graduate workers being asked to run personal errands for supervisors, and our team made good faith movements in accommodating UNM’s concerns about the necessity of last-minute flexibility in adjusting assistantship offers. 

We are approaching consensus over the basic structure of our grievance procedure, and both sides are committed to having a procedure that provides resolution of conflict in a timely and thorough fashion. 

A new point of disagreement between negotiating teams is whether the non-renewal of an assistantship, especially that which has been verbally promised from a department or supervisor to a grad student, constitutes a form of discipline. UNM’s team stated that we “shouldn’t plan our lives” around guarantees of future assistantships, demonstrating that they do not take into consideration our precarious position as grad workers. 

The presence of a non-discrimination clause that codifies protections in and beyond Title IX and makes discrimination grievable through our contract remains a stumbling block between our negotiating teams. UNM’s team stands by its position that existing university structures protect grad workers from discrimination or provide them adequate resource when they face it. Our bargaining survey shows otherwise. Our union will not back down on this issue. Help us build solidarity and join us on July 13 from 8-9am for our Picket for Non-Discrimination–RSVP here!

This month, we launched a virtual bulletin board where grad workers and allies can voice their opinions about bargaining updates and struggles they are facing as grad workers at UNM. Grad workers have been anonymously sharing their concerns about UNM’s opposition to our grievable non-discrimination language–please add your voice! 

We also started a Bargaining Pledge for folks to affirm their commitment to winning a fair contract–please circulate among grad workers in your departments and other networks!

Warmly,

United Graduate Workers of UNM

Calendar of Events:

July 7th, 5:30pm: Contract Support Committee Meeting

July 14th, 8-9:00am: Picket for Non-Discrimination, at the corner of University Blvd SE and Basehart SE

July 21st, 5:30pm: General Membership Meeting

Labor News!:

  • In the wake of a rapidly changing landscape of reproductive health in the United States, Planned Parenthood workers in Massachusetts are joining those in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota in a unionization effort. Read more here
  • Last month, Brooklyn Law School moved against its unionized custodial workers in announcing its intent to terminate their contract in favor of a notoriously anti-worker company called Advantage Cleaners LCC, a move that would cut wages by almost 50%. After their union and student allies raised awareness and circulated a petition against Brooklyn Law School’s decision, the school announced its intent to extend the current contract another 30 days in order to explore other options. You can read more in the petition and in this article

Solidarity Corner:

  • Consider donating to ABQ Mutual Aid or attend one of their volunteer onboarding sessions on July 7th at 7pm or July 10th at 3pm! There are many areas you can support such as outreach to community members, care packaging food/supplies, delivering care packages, and more! Contact volunteerABQmutualaid@gmail.com or donate at www.FFOL.org  

Action Item Check-List:

  1. RSVP for our Picket for Non-Discrimination Rally.
  2. Sign our Bargaining Pledge and circulate among other grad workers. 
  3. Sign a union card and encourage your colleagues to do the same.
  4. Join a subcommittee
  5. Join our Slack channel to get more plugged into union communication.
  6. Check out the attached Onboarding Packet for resources and up-to-date information.
  7. Check out the attached One-Pager and send it to colleagues and community members. 
  8. Contact Gustavo García at garciagustavo1@unm.edu to learn about becoming a steward for your department. Stewards keep people in their network and other contacts engaged in and up to date with union activities.
  9. Consider paying voluntary dues, which fund our campaign and day-to-day expenses: $2.50 a month, $7.50 for Summer 2022. You can pay by cash or check (email mcgrawd@unm.edu to set this up) or by Zelle (phone # 505-440-0373) or by Venmo @unmgradworkers.

June 2022 Issue

Dear UGW Members,

General Membership Meetings will continue throughout the summer on every third Thursday of the month at 5:30pm! Our next meeting is on June 16. Please join us for important updates, summer organizing plans, and to vote on a recent proposal to amend our bylaws (more details forthcoming). 

Members of UGW-UE began contract negotiations with UNM admin on May 4, and our sticker campaign was a massive success! The UNM community showed up in a big way, with stickers and other signage proudly on display throughout campus.

Currently, our Bargaining Committee is focusing on non-economic rights proposals. If you recall from the bargaining survey and priorities vote, we have divided the issues most important to UNM grad workers into two categories: economic (costs money) vs non-economic (doesn’t cost money and should already be in place). Non-economic rights include things like overwork protections, parking availability, and a solid non-discrimination policy. The Bargaining Committee is working to make bargaining as transparent a process as possible. Keep an eye out for another bargaining summary following our next negotiating session on June 23rd. 

In negotiations, UNM admin has already put up a roadblock by challenging our non-discrimination policy. They claim that, counter to the testimony and statistics from the bargaining survey, federal laws such as Title IX and existing UNM policy along those lines adequately protect students from discrimination and retaliation against reporting. The fact that UNM would oppose a substantive non-discrimination policy is disturbing and indicative of the importance of community action in putting pressure on admin to accept this accountability structure that is a contract standard for grad worker unions.

UGW-UE and the UNM community have already taken action. Joined by UNMH resident physicians and Chicano/Chicana Studies students, grad workers attended the Board of Regents meeting in person on May 11 to give comments about UNM’s lack of concern for these various populations. Ultimately, our struggles as students and workers are interrelated, as UNM’s attempt to take away a community space associated with ethnic studies and its substandard pay and conditions for resident physicians come from the same lack of accountability that our non-discrimination policy seeks to address. The meeting was an energizing display of solidarity, and we hope to keep up that momentum as we organize into the summer and fall semester! 

At our last General Membership Meeting on May 19, we discussed summer organizing goals in order to keep up that momentum. We aim to recruit 150 new members in a variety of ways, including one-on-one, in-person interactions (as is possible) and tabling and walk-throughs through different departments on campus. Majority membership and strong participation are CRUCIAL to getting a fair contract, so make sure the grad workers in your department and other networks have signed cards and invite them to our General Membership and Contract Support Committee meetings! See the calendar below for more details. 

Warmly,

United Graduate Workers of UNM

Calendar of Events:

June 16th, 5:30pm: General Membership Meeting

June 26th, 6:00pm: Physicians and Grad Worker Social

Labor News!:

  • Starbucks is closing a store in Ithaca, NY (a city in which all Starbucks are unionized) and the baristas and Workers United believe that it is in retaliation for union activism. You can read more here. Meanwhile, Starbucks workers are continuing to pick up organizing momentum and voting union across the country. 
  • Workers at the Apple store in Towson, Maryland, are seeking to establish the company’s first union in their store. The vote will commence on June 15th. You can read more here.
  • In response to a nationwide surge in labor organizing, Microsoft has announced its intention to work with any unionization efforts from within the country, a pre-emptive move undoubtedly learned from the experiences of Starbucks and Amazon in their open union-busting. 

Solidarity Corner:

  • NMSU Graduate Workers United (UE Local 1498) was certified by the state labor board in May and is starting their negotiations next month. If you happen to be in Las Cruces you can join them for a rally this Thursday (6/9). Details here.

Action Item Check-List:

  1. Contact Jens Van Gysel at jens_vg@hotmail.com to learn about becoming a steward. 
  2. Consider paying voluntary dues, which fund our campaign and day-to-day expenses: $2.50 a month,$12.50 for the Spring 2022 semester. You can pay by cash or check (email mcgrawd@unm.edu to set this up or slide payment under the door to Logan Hall, B68F) or by Zelle (phone # 505-440-0373) or by Venmo @unmgradworkers.   
  3. Sign a union card and encourage your colleagues to do the same.
  4. Join a subcommittee
  5. Join our Slack channel to get more plugged into union communication.
  6. Check out the attached Onboarding Packet for resources and up-to-date information.

May 2022 Issue

Dear UGW Members,

This week, our union commences bargaining our new contract with UNM admin! While our Bargaining Committee attends negotiations May 4th through the 6th, we encourage ALL of our membership and allies to get engaged and show support! 

Last week, our members started tabling around campus to answer questions about bargaining, discuss workplace concerns, and share coffee and donuts. We are tabling Monday and Tuesday of this week as well – see the attached flyer for details and come see us! 

This week, as bargaining kicks off, we will be handing out STICKERS that you can customize in support of a fair contract! We encourage grad workers and allies to wear these stickers throughout the week to demonstrate to UNM that we are a strong front committed to getting a contract by the end of 2022! There was a delay in printing the stickers, but we will have them today! Stop by one of our tables or talk to your steward to get a sticker, and place an electronic sticker, like the one below, in your UNM email signature

We will have a Bargaining Kick Off Party at Juno Brewery on Thursday, May 5th at 6pm. Come out, socialize with your colleagues, and get excited about bargaining! We will then debrief about our first set of bargaining sessions during a Contract Support Committeemeeting on Friday, May 6th, at 5:30pm. Please come to hear updates from the Bargaining Committee and learn about our next steps in winning a fair contract!

Warmly, United Graduate Workers of UNM

Calendar of Events:

May 4-6th: Sticker Day (May 4th), First Bargaining Session

May 5th, 6:00pm: Juno Brewery Social

May 6th, 5:30pm: Contract Support Committee Meeting

Labor News!:

  • On May Day (International Workers’ Day), working people took to the street to protest working conditions and labor policy. A May Day rally and march took place on UNM campus as well! 
  • On April 6th, MIT grad workers voted to unionize with United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers (UE) with 66% in favor. Congratulations and solidarity to MIT GSU!

Action Item Check-List:

  1. Contact Jens Van Gysel at jens_vg@hotmail.com to learn about becoming a steward. 
  2. C
  1. Put an electronic sticker in your email signature! 
  2. Contact Jens Van Gysel at jens_vg@hotmail.com to learn about becoming a steward. 
  3. Consider paying voluntary dues, which fund our campaign and day-to-day expenses: $2.50 a month,$12.50 for the Spring 2022 semester. You can pay by cash or check (email lindsaymorrone@unm.edu to set this up or slide payment under the door to Logan Hall, B68F) or by Zelle (phone # 505-440-0373) or by Venmo @unmgradworkers.   
  4. Sign a union cardand encourage your colleagues to do the same.
  5. Join a subcommittee
  6. Join our Slack channel to get more plugged into union communication.
  7. Check out the attached Onboarding Packet for resources and up-to-date information.
  8. Check out the attached One-Pager and send it to colleagues and community members. 

April 2022 Issue

Dear UGW Members,

Are you interested in helping your fellow grad workers put together an ideal contract? The Research Committee is putting together working groups to gather information and write proposals for the various workplace rights-based stipulations for our contract – Parking availability (#1); Department/University provides materials required for work duties (#2 – meeting TODAY 4pm at Michael Thomas on Bryn Mawr & Silver); Timely delivery of contracts that include clarity of compensation, hours, and title with clear duties (#3); Fair process for resolving conflict between PIs/Advisors and graduate workers(#4 – meeting 4/5 at 5pm); Adequate training available for teaching assistants in every department (#5 – meeting 4/5 at 6pm). If you are interested in any of these working groups, click the group number(s) to fill out when2meet(s) or join an already scheduled meeting. If you have never gotten involved in a union subcommittee before, this is the perfect place to jump in – especially for introverts!! If you are interested in joining the Research Committee as a regular member, contact Julie Hayes at jchayes@unm.edu – biweekly meeting time TBD.

The union is having a potluck on Saturday, April 23, at 1pm (location TBA). If you are interested in helping to organize this, we would very much appreciate it – contact Katie Despeaux at katiedespeaux@unm.edu to get involved. 

On Thursday, April 7, we will be holding a virtual Contract Support Committee meeting at 5:30pm. We will be discussing our launch day for bargaining, in which we plan to have all our members and supporters wear stickers to show solidarity. We invite all members to come to the CSC meeting to share their ideas for sticker designs and slogans. CSC will be followed by a social at Juno Brewery at 7pm. Please share the attached flyer with your colleagues!

Warmly, United Graduate Workers of UNM

Calendar of Events:

April 7, 5:30pm: Contract Support Committee Meeting

April 7th, 7:00pm: Juno Brewery Social

April 23rd, 1pm: Potluck, Location TBA

Labor News!:

  • Read more about UNM’s shameful appeal here!
  • Amazon workers in Staten Island won their union election – the Amazon workplace to do so – on April 1! Read here about organizer Chris Smalls and Amazon’s abhorrent union-busting. 
  • Workers at the Warrior Met Coal Mine in Alabama have been on strike for 1 year as of April 1, and because many mine workers have had to take second jobs at Amazon in Bessemer, AL, they have been involved in organizing that workplace as well. You can learn more here

Solidarity Corner:

  • In honor of Earth Day this month, the Solidarity Committee will be supporting UNM Leaf in a variety of ways! Come to our next meeting on Thursday, April 7 at 7pm over Zoom or email Duncan at mcgrawd@unm.edu if you’re interested in getting involved!

Action Item Check-List:

  1. Contact Jens Van Gysel at jens_vg@hotmail.com to learn about becoming a steward. 
  2. Consider paying voluntary dues, which fund our campaign and day-to-day expenses: $2.50 a month,$12.50 for the Spring 2022 semester. You can pay by cash or check (email lindsaymorrone@unm.edu to set this up or slide payment under the door to Logan Hall, B68F) or by Zelle (phone # 505-440-0373) or by Venmo @unmgradworkers.   
  3. Sign a union cardand encourage your colleagues to do the same.
  4. Join a subcommittee
  5. Join our Slack channel to get more plugged into union communication.
  6. Check out the attached Onboarding Packet for resources and up-to-date information.
  7. Check out the attached One-Pager and send it to colleagues and community members.

March 2022 Issue

Grad workers, today is your last chance to vote in our Spring 2022 Bargaining Priorities and Chief Steward elections! The past week, the entire union has been voting on priorities based on findings from the 2021-2022 UGW Bargaining Survey. In addition, grad workers enrolled in the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the Department of Physics & Astronomy have been called upon to vote for their Chief Stewards. If you currently hold an assistantship and/or held one in the past year AND you have signed a union card, you should have received an email from “Election Runner,” which is your ballot to your UNM email – one for the Priorities Vote, and another for Chief Steward IF you are enrolled in one of the previous mentioned colleges/departments. If you have not seen your ballot(s), they may have gone into your junk folder – otherwise, you can email ugwelections2021@gmail.com to look into your missing ballot or for questions about voting. It is critical that ALL grad workers vote on contract priorities – we need a new contract that meets the diverse needs of our entire bargaining unit, and strong participation in the vote shows to UNM admin that we are serious about the problems we are facing in our workplaces. 

Voting ends today, March 7, at 11:59pm. Keep on the lookout for communications about new Chief Stewards, and attend our next General Membership Meeting on March 17th at 5:30pm to hear more about the results of the priorities vote.

Fill the Fridge February was a huge success, raising over $850, more than double the original goal of $400! Thank you to everyone who donated and got involved in this mutual aid effort!

Warmly, United Graduate Workers of UNM

Calendar of Events:

March 17th, 5:30pm: General Membership Meeting

Labor News!:

  • Last week, REI workers in SoHo voted to unionize with the Resale, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) – the first store to unionize in the company. Learn more about their difficulties with REI’s union-busting and show your support here
  • Starbucks workers continue to build momentum in unionization efforts across the country. Late last month, the first corporate store outside of New York voted to unionize in Mesa, AZ. Starbucks corporate, unsurprisingly, has not been handling this well, and is facing public backlash accordingly.
  • More university workers are unionizing across the country! Fordham Graduate Student Workers hit a majority last week in their union drive. The undergraduate Residential Life Workers at Wesleyan have launched their union efforts and have already hit a majority of 82%.

Solidarity Corner:

  • NMSU’s grad workers have requested our support at their rally in Las Cruces on March 14th at 1:30pm. For more info, reach out to mcgrawd@unm.edu
  • The Solidarity Committee will be hosting a virtual prison abolition letter-writing event toward the end of March as part of a collaboration with the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee! The date will be finalized at our next meeting, but you can email emma.mincks@gmail.com for more info!
  • Solidarity Committee is changing its meeting time to the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 7pm (contact mcgrawd@unm.edu to get connected)
  • Some of our members attended IUPAT DC 88’s rally on March 1st, calling for better working conditions for UNM’s contractors. Solidarity with the construction workers who have built and maintain UNM!

Action Item Check-List:

  1. Vote in the Bargaining Priorities special election, and, if applicable, vote for your Chief Steward! Email ugwelections2021@gmail.com if you did not receive or cannot find your ballot. 
  2. Contact Jens Van Gysel at jens_vg@hotmail.com to learn about becoming a steward. 
  3. Consider paying voluntary dues, which fund our campaign and day-to-day expenses: $2.50 a month,$12.50 for the Spring 2022 semester. You can pay by cash or check (email lindsaymorrone@unm.edu to set this up or slide payment under the door to Logan Hall, B68F) or by Zelle (phone # 505-440-0373) or by Venmo @unmgradworkers.   
  4. Sign a union cardand encourage your colleagues to do the same.
  5. Join a subcommittee
  6. Join our Slack channel to get more plugged into union communication.
  7. Check out the attached Onboarding Packet for resources and up-to-date information.
  8. Check out the attached One-Pager and send it to colleagues and community members.

February 2022 Issue

Dear UGW Members,

On January 26th, UGW held a Community Demand to Bargain Rally, during which we delivered around 200physical letters requesting that UNM admin bargain a contract with us to Scholes Hall. Grad workers and allies wrote these letters in addition to more than 3,000 Action Network emails. You can still send a letter via Action Network here. THANK YOU to everyone who showed up in support of better compensation and working conditions for UNM grad workers!

The UGW Coordinating Committee is holding special elections this month in order to fill several Chief Steward seats: 1 from the College of Arts & Sciences, 3 from the School of Engineering OR the Department of Physics & Astronomy, and 1 from the Health Sciences College OR the Anderson School of Management. You canself-nominate through February 14th. If interested (even tentatively), consider attending our info session for candidates, which will occur on Friday, February 11th at 9:30 am. Email any questions to ugwelections2021@gmail.com.

UGW is now accepting voluntary dues in order to help cover the cost of our ongoing campaign. Voluntary dues are $2.50 a month, and you can pay by cash or check (email lindsaymorrone@unm.edu to set this up or slide payment under the door to Logan Hall, B68F) or by Zelle (phone # 505-440-0373).  

The Board of Regents is having a public Zoom meeting on February 15th at 9am. These meetings have provided us the space to voice our grievances with UNM’s union-busting schemes and the poor conditions we face as grad workers. You must sign up in advance to give a public comment, and you can find instructions here.

Reminder: UGW has implemented a grievance procedure for workplace concerns! If you are experiencing changes in your working conditions or threats to your job, please fill out our grievance intake form and your Chief Steward will follow up with you.

Warmly, United Graduate Workers of UNM

Calendar of Events:

February 11, 9:30am: Special Elections Info Session

February 17th, 5:30pm: General Membership Meeting

Labor News!:

  • Read more about UNM’s shameful appeal here!
  • 250 nurses and 375 other hospital workers at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA are unionizing. Learn more about their effort at https://www.mcleanunited.org/ or on Twitter @McLeanUnion
  • Amazon workers in Bessemer, AL are recommencing their unionization campaign in anticipation of a new election. In late November, the NLRB investigated the union election from last year, which supposedly indicated a lack of majority support for unionization. The board found that Amazon had committed multiple violations of the law per NLRA through the course of the election and thus ordered a reelection. The vote will occur by mail in March. You can learn more here
  • The Congressional Workers Union in Washington D.C. recently announced their unionization campaign, which has been in the works for over a year. As they circulate the results of a survey on working conditions, which show that 91% of Congress workers desire better protections, the union is calling upon Democratic politicians to show support for organized labor. You can learn more here or on Twitter @Congress_Union 

Solidarity Corner:

  • On February 14th, we’ll launch Project Fill the Fridge, a collaboration with the ABQ Free Fridge with a goal of $500 to fill the fridge twice! There are various roles in which members (and the larger community) can participate such as shopping, stocking, cooking, tabling, cleaning the fridge, spreading the word and donating and filling out the commitment form to sign up for these roles.
  • Solidarity Committee will begin a recurring tabling initiative this month which will be in the SUB on the second Monday from 12-2 and the third Wednesday from 10-12! This will be a way for us to connect with people on campus about the various unions on campus as well as community organizing projects! To get involved, get in touch with Duncan McGraw at mcgrawd@unm.edu
  • MIT needs our help in reaching their membership in their upcoming union election! They have phone-banking sessions planned nearly every day until then and you can sign up for a timeslot with this form (a script will be provided too!)

Action Item Check-List:

  1. Contact Jens Van Gysel at jens_vg@hotmail.com to learn about becoming a steward. 
  2. Take the bargaining survey and share it with other grad workers.
  3. Sign a union cardand encourage your colleagues to do the same.
  4. Join a subcommittee
  5. Join our Slack channel to get more plugged into union communication.
  6. Check out the attached Onboarding Packet for resources and up-to-date information.
  7. Check out the attached One-Pager and send it to colleagues and community members. 
  8. Through February 14, the Coordinating Committee is accepting self-nominations for Chief Steward in the following Schools/Colleges: School of Engineering OR Department of Physics and Astronomy; College of Arts and Sciences; Health Sciences College OR Anderson School of Management. Contact ugwelections2021@gmail.com for more information.

January 2022 Issue

Dear UGW Members, 

After listening to (and dismissing) another round of objections from UNM, the full Public Employee Labor Relations Board met on the morning of January 4 and affirmed that a majority of graduate workers at UNM have signed union cards and certified us as the first graduate workers union in the state of New Mexico! UNM is now legally obligated to bargain with our union and all graduate workers in the bargaining unit are now covered by the Public Employee Bargaining Act. This confers some important rights such as the right to have your steward present in any conversation that you believe could lead to discipline. It also means that UNM can’t make unilateral changes to our working conditions (such as reclassifying our positions, cutting our pay, or instituting new workplace policies) without negotiating with us first. If you are experiencing changes in your working conditions or threats to your job, please fill out our grievance intake form and your chief steward will follow up with you.

We are deeply grateful for the solidarity that this community has shown us in the past few months. THANK YOU for signing our letters and petitions, showing up to our events, and using your voices to boost our message. 

Now, we turn our attention to something that is long overdue: bargaining our first contract. Preparations are well underway, as we have been circulating our bargaining survey among our colleagues and holding Contract Support meetings. The PELRB has repeatedly advised UNM to begin negotiations, but we have yet to see an acknowledgement by President Stokes or the Board of Regents. We once again call on our strong community to help us pressure UNM admin to set a negotiation date. 

Finally, on MLK Day, let’s take a moment to reflect on the ways in which Martin Luther King, Jr. linked workers’ rights and civil rights in his organizing work, demonstrating that one cannot disentangle the two struggles.

Warmly, United Graduate Workers of UNM

Calendar of Events:

January 20th, 5:30: General Membership Meeting

Labor News!:

  • Starbucks workers across the country are keeping their momentum with a store-by-store organizing strategy – a second location elected to unionize last week, and many more are engaged in the process in places like Phoenix, Eugene, Knoxville, Cleveland, and Tallahassee. You can read more about their struggle here
  • On January 7, Columbia grad workers ended a 10-week strike in victory, as the union and Columbia administration came to an agreement on a four-year contract that guarantees annual raises of 3% and neutral, workplaces protections, and third-party arbitration for grievances regarding harassment and discrimination. Columbia grad workers are set to ratify the contract later this month. You can read more about this historic victory here.
  • The longest strike of 2021, held by nurses belonging to the Massachusetts Nurses Association at the St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, MA, culminated in a new contract on December 17. A principal complaint of the healthcare workers was understaffing during the pandemic, which causes patients to suffer inadequate care. You can read more about their contract battle as well as the intersection between nurses’ working conditions and patient outcomes here

Solidarity Corner:

  • The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) is looking for volunteers to write letters to and call prisoners. Contact Duncan at mcgrawd@unm.edu for more info.
  • ABQ Mutual Aid, ABQ Free Fridge, The Hookup 505, and Free Wheel Mobile Aid are all looking for volunteers of various capacities. Contact Duncan at mcgrawd@unm.edu for more info.
  • Student Solidarity Coalition is meeting biweekly this semester for those who want to meet people in student orgs on campus and support their goals. Contact Duncan at mcgrawd@unm.edu for more info.

Action Item Check-List:

  1. Contact Jens Van Gysel at jens_vg@hotmail.com to learn about becoming a steward. 
  2. Take the bargaining survey and share it with other grad workers.
  3. Sign a union card and encourage your colleagues to do the same.
  4. Join a subcommittee
  5. Join our Slack channel to get more plugged into union communication.
  6. Through February 14, the Coordinating Committee is accepting self-nominations for Chief Steward in the following Schools/Colleges: School of Engineering OR Department of Physics and Astronomy; College of Arts and Sciences; Health Sciences College OR Anderson School of Management. Contact ugwelections2021@gmail.com for more information.

December 2021 Issue

Dear UGW Members, 

In a desperate bid to stall negotiations on our new contract, UNM has filed an appeal to the New Mexico Public Employee Labor Relations Board’s decision to recognize our union. In the process, they have filed a “stay” on the card count, against the PELRB’s ruling that we proceed with a card check “without further delay.” Having spent nearly $130,000 so far, UNM continues to waste taxpayer money fighting its own graduate assistants rather than using those funds to ensure that our basic needs are met while we teach, research, and otherwise serve the university. While we have so far won at every step of the legal process, and have already filed formal legal challenges to the appeal, we need to mobilize as a union and demonstrate to UNM that we will not accept yet another brush-off. We need your help in the coming weeks — let’s show UNM the power of our collective! If you have not yet done so, sign a union card today and join the collective.

Unfortunately, grad workers are not the only group of employees treated poorly at UNM. Custodial workers, who have kept our campus clean and functional through a pandemic have been repeatedly denied raises above $10.65/hour. One way our union plans to respond to UNM’s shameful labor practices is by participating in the End Poverty Wages Demonstration this Friday, December 3rd at 4:30pm, hosted by the UNM/UNMH Coalition of Unions. Please join us and RSVP here.

We are also planning a work-in on Tuesday, December 7th from 8am-8pm (location TBA) to bring attention to UNM’s union-busting tactics. Hold office hours, grade, answer emails, and teach class with us to show UNM the university runs because we do! We will be holding a press conference at 11am during the work-in. Snacks and pizza will be provided. Make sure to RSVP for the work-in!

Warmly, United Graduate Workers of UNM

Calendar of Events:

December 3rd, 4:30: End Poverty Wages Demonstration

December 7th, 8am-8pm: Work-In

Labor News!:

  • Read more about UNM’s shameful appeal here!
  • Starbucks stores in Buffalo, NY are set to vote to unionize on December 9. Follow their efforts here.

Solidarity Corner:

  • Read more about UNM’s shameful appeal here!
  • Starbucks stores in Buffalo, NY are set to vote to unionize on December 9. Follow their efforts here.

Action Item Check-List:

  1. RSVP for the End Poverty Wages Demonstration on 12/3 at 4:30pm. 
  2. RSVP for the work-in on 12/7 from 8am-8pm. 
  3. Send a letter to the Board of Regents urging them to withdraw their appeal.
  4. In an effort to hold UNM administration accountable for the stability of its student population, the UNM Basic Needs Project is holding focus groups on food and housing insecurity. As supporters of our unionization movement, the team is particularly interested in hearing stories from grad workers! The focus groups will take place on December 1st (international students), 6th, 12th, and 14th, and participants will receive a $20 Amazon gift card. Register here for the international student session, and here for the domestic student sessions.
  5. Contact Jens Van Gysel at jens_vg@hotmail.com to learn about becoming a steward. Stewards are union members who take on communicating with 5-10 colleagues and organizing in their departments. 
  6. Sign a union card and encourage your colleagues to do the same.
  7. Join a subcommittee
  8. Join our Slack channel to get more plugged into union communication.

November 2021 Issue

Dear UGW Members, 

Thank you to everyone who participated in our first-ever union leadership and bylaws elections! This is a huge step forward as we prepare to negotiate a contract that serves our needs. You can review the results on our website

On Thursday, November 4, 5:30-6:30pm, we will be holding our first Contract Support Committee meeting over Zoom. The role of the Contract Support Committee is to make sure our union is under the best conditions to win a strong first contract, which includes signing up new members, recruiting new stewards, and ensuring high membership participation. One of our first orders of business is to make sure members are filling out our bargaining survey so we know which issues graduate workers find most important. The Contract Support Committee is open to any union member who wants to help UGW win a strong first contract. Just like our newly elected Coordinating Committee and our various other subcommittees, the Contract Support Committee serves a vital role in ensuring we have a strong union!

Warmly, 
United Graduate Workers of UNM

Calendar of Events:

November 4th, 5:30-6:30: Contract Support Committee meeting

Labor News!:

  1. Harvard’s grad worker union, HGSU-UAW, went on strike on October 27th. You can read more about the strike here. On October 29, first-year students staged a walk-out during President Bacow’s address for Parents Weekend in support of the striking grad workers. 
  2. On October 28, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of Starbucks workers commencing a union vote in each of the three Buffalo stores whose workers are currently organizing. You can read more about Starbucks’ shameless union-busting, the workers’ struggles, and their road ahead here
  3. After a two-week strike that began October 14, John Deere workers and corporate came to a tentative agreement for a new contract that addresses issues of compensation, equity in pay, and healthcare benefits.

Solidarity Corner:

  1. UNM Leaf, a university-wide coalition for climate justice, recently submitted a complaint against UNM’s investment in fossil fuels to New Mexico’s Attorney General. To learn more about how you can support the divestment effort, check out their website.  
  2. Sign this petition to support our colleagues at NMSU who are dealing with the same union busting lawyer hired by UNM 
  3. Graduate workers across the country are right now unionizing with our union, UE. Please email Duncan Mcgraw (mcgrawd@unm.edu) to join the Solidarity Committee efforts to support our colleagues at MIT and Indiana University in winning their unions this semester! 

Action Item Check-List:

  1. Contact Jens Van Gysel at jens_vg@hotmail.com to learn about becoming a steward and mark your calendar for our next Stewards’ Meeting, 9/2 at 5:30pm. Stewards are union members who take on communicating with 5-10 colleagues and organizing in their departments. 
  2. Sign a union card and encourage your colleagues to do the same.
  3. Join a subcommittee
  4. Join our Slack channel to get more plugged into union communication.

October 2021 Issue

Dear UGW Members, 

On September 3rd, United Grad Workers and our allies within and beyond the university, numbering in the hundreds, rallied and marched on campus to call on President Stokes to negotiate with UNM grad workers. We are humbled by the solidarity of our community, and thank those of you who signed our petition for recognition, showed up at the rally, and otherwise amplified our message. The rally and petition of over 1600 signatures drove the message home that our union is here to stay, and we look forward to sitting down with UNM admin at the bargaining table as soon as possible. 

Reminder: United Grad Workers is currently holding its first union elections! This week, you have the chance to vote on your Bargaining Committee representative(s) and Chief Steward(s), and whether to ratify our proposed bylaws. The polls close Friday, October 8, at 11:59pm, so be sure to make your voice heard! To learn more about the candidates in your School or College, check out our Twitter and Instagram @unmgradworkers as well as our website. You must be a union member to vote, but don’t worry – it’s not too late to sign your union card and receive a ballot! If you haven’t signed a union card yet, you can do so here. If you are a member but did not receive a ballot by email, please contact ugwelections2021@gmail.com

Warmly, 
United Graduate Workers of UNM

Calendar of Events:

October 1-8, 2021: UGW Elections, Virtual Ballots

Labor News!:

Solidarity Corner:

  • Check out these videos from CWA-New Mexico supporting living wages for custodial staff.
  • Please read and share this op-ed from UNM faculty union president on covid concerns from branch campus faculty.

Action Item Check-List:

  1. Vote
  2. Contact Jens Van Gysel at jens_vg@hotmail.com to learn about becoming a steward and mark your calendar for our next Stewards’ Meeting, 9/2 at 5:30pm. Stewards are union members who take on communicating with 5-10 colleagues and organizing in their departments. 
  3. Sign a union card. We will be holding several important votes this fall including leadership elections; become a member so you can vote in your union!
  4. Join a subcommittee
  5. Join our Slack channel to get more plugged into union communication

September 2021 Issue

Dear UGW Members,

On August 17th, the Public Employee Labor Relations Board (PELRB) ruled in our favor, deciding what we knew all along: graduate workers are employees and we should be covered under the Public Employee Bargaining Act (PEBA). The board has stated that we have the same right to bargain as all other public employees in New Mexico. For 9 months, we fought tirelessly to bargain with the UNM administration, but our fight is not over! We expect UNM to try and appeal the PELRB’s decision in order to further delay negotiating a new contract with, as we saw them do this with the faculty union. That’s what we are rallying this Friday, September 3rd, at 11 AM in order to pressure the university to bargain with us in a timely fashion. Join us for the rally between the SUB and Mesa Vista and make sure you sign our issues sign-on, which we will deliver to President Stokes at the end of the rally. We encourage all rally participants to wear masks.

We also announced that we will be holding our first elections this past weekend! While UNM may try to stall bargaining, we want to be prepared for the moment we do get to sit down at the bargaining table with them. We have extended our election timeline in order to achieve fuller participation! Between October 1-8, we will be voting on our Coordinating Committee (CC, the main leadership body of the union) and our bylaws. This is an opportunity for you to have a voice in who represents you at the bargaining table in other union decision-making processes – keep an eye for more details about the election in the coming days. As a rank-and-file union, this is a vital step in building an organization that serves its entire bargaining unit. If you are interested in running for a position on the CC, see more details in “Action Item Check List” below.

Warmly,
United Graduate Workers of UNM

Calendar of Events:

September 3rd, 2021: Rally for Recognition @ 11 AM
Location: UNM Campus between the SUB and Mesa Vista

Labor News!:

  • NO CONTRACT, NO SNACKS!” Nabisco workers in all major Oreo bakeries in the U.S. declared a strike in the past two weeks, and are calling on consumers to boycott the company until they secure a better contract. The workers’ grievances include low pay, proposed 12-hour shifts, and job outsourcing.
  • Starbucks workers in Buffalo, NY, commenced a unionization campaign on August 23, with a vote to take place in mid-September. To date, no Starbucks-owned stores in the U.S. are unionized.

Solidarity Corner:

Action Item Check-List:

  1. Sign our issues statement and register to come to our rally on September 3rd!
  2. Members interested in running for a seat in the Coordinating Committee can self-nominate using this form. There are two positions: Bargaining Committee and Chief Steward. You can learn more information about these positions at a virtual informational meeting on September 2 at 2pm. You can also contact Joseph Ukockis at jukockis@unm.edu for more details. If you have never served on a CC, we encourage you to step up! The deadline to self-nominate is Monday, September 20 at 5pm. 
  3. Contact Jens Van Gysel at jens_vg@hotmail.com to learn about becoming a steward and mark your calendar for our next Stewards’ Meeting, 9/2 at 5:30pm. Stewards are union members who take on communicating with 5-10 colleagues and organizing in their departments. 
  4. Sign a union card. We will be holding several important votes this fall including leadership elections; become a member so you can vote in your union!
  5. Join a subcommittee
  6. Join our Slack channel to get more plugged into union communication

August 2021 Issue

Dear UGW Members, 

On July 22nd, we held our most successful Member Town Hall yet! 125 grad workers showed up to discuss our union’s current legal situation and to learn about our next steps in the Fall. We talked about our grievances, launched our issues sign-on, and announced our Sept. 3rd rally (you can register for the rally at the bottom of the sign-on). In spite of the hearing officer’s recommendation that the Public Employee Labor Relations Board rule in favor of UNM admin, this gathering demonstrated our collective power and strengthened our resolve to mobilize our colleagues and to win recognition and the improvements we deserve. 

During its monthly meeting tomorrow, Aug. 3, from 9am-1pm, the PELRB will discuss our case and will likely hold a vote on whether to uphold the hearing officer’s recommended decision. The meeting is available to the public (link and agenda can be found here). Regardless of the outcome, in the coming semester we will be formalizing our union with bylaws, a charter, and elected leadership – now is a great time to get involved!

Warmly, 
United Graduate Workers of UNM

Calendar of Events:

September 3rd, 2021: Rally for Recognition @ 11 AM
Location: UNM Campus between the SUB and Mesa Vista

Labor News!:

This month, 600 Frito-Lay workers in Topeka, Kansas went on a 20-day strike to protest overwork, bad working conditions, and low wages. The strikers won a new union contract that guarantees them at least one day off per week and a 4% wage increase over the next two years.

Solidarity Corner:

  • The CSEU Annual Congress 2021: Academia, Justice and the Workplace will be held virtually on August 12-15. Registration is free!
  • Anishinaabe water protectors are looking for solidarity and frontline support in opposition to Line 3, a proposed pipeline expansion between Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. You can learn more here
  • The state of New Mexico is using federal aid to assist New Mexicans who have suffered financial hardship from the pandemic in paying rent. Go https://www.renthelpnm.org/ to apply for assistance.

Action Item Check-List:

  1. Sign our issues statement and register to come to our rally on September 3rd!
  2. Contact Jens Van Gysel at jens_vg@hotmail.com to learn about becoming a steward and mark your calendar for our next Stewards’ Meeting, 8/5 at 5:30pm. Stewards are union members who take on communicating with 5-10 colleagues and organizing in their departments. 
  3. Sign a union card. We will be holding several important votes this fall including leadership elections next month; become a member so you can vote in your union!
  4. Join a subcommittee

July 2021 Issue

Dear UGW Members,

Last month, the New Mexico Public Employee Labor Relations Board’s hearing officer recommended a ruling that excludes us from the Public Employee Bargaining Act. While we will have a chance to appeal this recommendation before the PELRB in the fall, we have not been waiting idly.

Over the past few weeks, we have continued to expand our organizing base across campus and beyond. We are recruiting departmental stewards and fine-tuning our structure and bylaws in preparation for chartering a local UE chapter in the fall. We are reaching out to grad workers at other institutions who have underwent their own struggles for recognition. We are working harder than ever before because, if 2020 and 2021 have taught us anything, we cannot go another year without collective bargaining rights. Rent is going up, many of us will have to go back to work in person without any voice in safety protocols, and UNM admin are repeatedly demonstrating that they have no intention to work with us unless they are forced to. We United Grad Workers are not going anywhere – we have the collective power to hold UNM accountable.

Warmly,
United Graduate Workers of UNM

Calendar of Events:

July 8, 2021: Stewards Meeting @ 5:30 PM
https://tinyurl.com/hhac93su
July 22, 2021: Membership Meeting @ 5:30 PM
https://tinyurl.com/9ech47xz

Labor News!:

Solidarity Corner:

Action Item Check-List:

  1. Mark your calendars for our Stewards Meeting (7/8) and Membership Town Hall (7/22)
  2. Sign a union card if you have not already done so!
  3. Contact Membership to get involved as a department steward. Contact Jens Van Gysel at jens_vg@hotmail.com
  4. Join a subcommittee!