LAS CRUCES – On Thursday, about 60 graduate workers and their supporters marched on the New Mexico State University administration building. They demanded the university bargain in good faith and to grant graduate workers tuition remission.
The group, led by organizer Bryson Stemock, filled the Hadley Hall administration building and delivered their demands to staff there after being told that Chancellor Dan Arvizu was not on campus.
The march follows a semester of negotiations between NMSU and the university’s graduate workers union. The union won recognition from the state Public Employee Labor Relations Board last spring. However, negotiations then bogged down over the summer.
At a previous event, NMSU police were summoned after a student tore her copy into several pieces and flung them into a meeting room at Hadley Hall on the main campus.
Now, the graduate workers hope marching on the administrator’s home turf will reignite the process.
“I hope (administrators) understand how immediate and urgent this issue is,” Stemock said. “This can’t wait another semester because people are suffering now.”
The march began at the Corbett Center Student Union and ended about 40 minutes later outside Hadley Hall. Once the procession arrived at the admin office, the graduate workers poured inside. They held signs reading “time is up” with links to petitions and statements of support.
Harrison Cook, an astronomy student, marched alongside his fellow grad workers.
“I’m here because NMSU has decided to keep tuition coverage from us despite that being the norm across the country,” Cook said. “They’ve consistently been negotiating in poor faith, we believe.”
After the march, several students suggested going to Santa Fe to pressure state legislators into supporting the union. Other students called for a strike.
Stemock told the Sun-News that state law prevents unions of public employees from striking. Still, the sentiment rang true for many of the workers in attendance.
“We’ll see how far they push us,” Stemock said.
Justin Garcia is a public safety reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be reached at JE [email protected].