New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty

Albuquerque, NM

This is the 2020 fellowship description for this mentor organization.

The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty's mission is to advance economic and social justice through education, advocacy, and litigation. We work with low-income New Mexicans to improve living conditions, increase opportunities, and protect the rights of people living in poverty.

Our Peggy Browning Fellow will become a member of our workers' rights litigation and advocacy team, contributing to projects around enforcement of the minimum wage laws, health and safety of dairy workers and farmworkers, and local paid sick time legislation.

For example, in NMCLP's continued monitoring of comprehensive reforms we won through litigation against the state, our Peggy Browning Fellow will identify issues that arise in individual workers' cases and advocate with the state.  For years, the state's enforcement officers followed illegal rules that allowed employers to get away with wage theft.  Although their rules and policies changed due to our lawsuit, we expect to have to apply continued pressure until the culture at the agency is also sufficiently changed.  The Fellow will perform intakes with workers, issue-spot violations, and document discrepancies between the new policies as writte and as carried out. 

The Fellow will also perform farmworker outreach.  We are exploring a possible legislative campaign to remove some of the exclusions from our state's minimum wage that keep farmworkers from being included in this basic guarantee. We also continue to work to enforce farmworkers' right to workers' compensation. In 2016, NMCLP won a lawsuit challenging the exclusion of farmworkers from the state's workers' compensation statute.  But many of our state's 15,000 farmworkers continue to work for labor contractors who refuse to provide benefits to workers who are injured.  The Fellow will identify agricultural employers who are violating the law and advocate with the Workers' Compensation Administration to levy penalties on non-compliant employers.

NMCLP will also be supporting efforts by Bernalillo County to enforce a paid time off ordinance passed by the County in August 2019 that goes into effect in July 2020.  NMCLP is a member of a broad coalition of organizations that advocated for the ordinance.  The ordinance requires employers to provide employees paid time off, with the minimum number of hours increasing each year until it eventually reaches 56 hours in 2022.  The County has committed to create a robust enforcement regime. Our Peggy Browning Fellow will develop training materials on workers’ rights under the ordinance.

Strong written advocacy skills are essential. We are open to working with 1Ls or 2Ls, and will give strong preference to law students with roots in New Mexico or who plan to practice in New Mexico upon graduation. While Spanish-language ability is a plus, it is not a requirement of this fellowship.

The total ten-week stipend for this fellowship will be $6,000.

Address cover letter describing your interest in workers' rights to:

Stephanie Welch
Supervising Attorney, Workers' Rights
New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty
924 Park Avenue SW, Suite C
Albuquerque, NM 87102