UNM Regents: Withdraw Appeal, Respect Graduate Workers Legal Right to Unionize

UNM graduate employees filed for union recognition with an overwhelming majority on December 9, 2020 to engage in collective bargaining to remedy long-standing issues of job insecurity, inadequate benefits, excessive workloads, and low compensation.

UNM graduate employees teach over 500 classes attended by thousands of undergraduate students each semester in addition to providing the labor for tens of thousands of dollars of research grants and contributing to important scientific advancements. In August of 2021, the New Mexico Public Employee Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of graduate employees' right to unionize. In September of 2021, Over 1,600 UGW-UE members and supportive community members signed a petition calling on the UNM administration to recognize and bargain with UGW-UE. Now, the university is engaging in a costly and fruitless legal battle which serves only to waste taxpayer money.

The University’s appeal points towards a severe lack of regard for the education and wellbeing of a large population of its students. In 2020, 41% of UNM students reported housing insecurity and 65% of graduate workers reported delaying or ignoring medical care due to cost. In 2021 alone, the University chose to spend over $70,000 on outside union busting lawyers in a failed attempt to strip gradauate workers of their right to unionize. The taxpayer funds being funneled towards these legal proceedings are a valuable resource that must instead be directed towards efforts that further the teaching and research mission of UNM.

We are deeply concerned that University funds and resources, which should be invested into the education of our community and the health of students and employees, are instead being wasted on tactless union busting. This is a crucial moment in time for the wellbeing of workers across this country, and we strongly urge you to be on the right side of history as a signal of proper conduct for future generations.

We urgently call on you, as public servants, to withdraw this appeal.