University of New Mexico, grad workers union come to deal

December 22, 2022 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An overwhelming majority of graduate student workers at the University of New Mexico have approved a new contract agreement, capping months of bargaining.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Thursday that the United Graduate Workers Union voted in favor of the agreement 437-17 last week.

Pay hikes, paid bereavement leave and revised procedures for filing grievances are part of the new contract for teaching assistants and research assistants. There will also be renewed discussions of compensation in fall of next year.

UNM officials declined comment to the newspaper since the agreement has not been signed yet.

Christian Rhoads, a union chief steward, says every worker will get a 7% raise. But those getting the lowest stipend will receive a 10% raise. The raises will take effect with the next semester. Under the agreement, employees will also get t two weeks of medical leave and three days of bereavement leave every semester.

UNM grad workers earn on average $14,500 a year. Many say they end up working at least 40 hours a week.

The state Public Employees Labor Relations Board recognized graduate employees’ demand to unionize in August 2021.