New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty

Albuquerque, NM

This is the 2019 fellowship description for this mentor organization. This fellowship has been awarded to Lizdebeth Carrasco-Gallardo from University of New Mexico School of Law.

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.

NMCLP is at the forefront of workers' rights advocacy in New Mexico, and the Peggy Browning Fellow will take on advocacy and litigation projects that will impact hundreds of thousands of New Mexico workers, particularly the 22% of workers who experience wage theft in our state.

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 identirfy 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 have officially changed due to our lawsuit, we expect to have to apply continued pressure until the culture at the agency is also changed.  The Fellow will perform intakes with workers, issue-spot violations, and document discrepancies between the policies and the actual investigation of cases in practice.  The Fellow will also help draft legislative language and advocacy to increase the budgetsfors tate wage enforcement.

NMCLP will be supporting and monitoring efforts by Albuquerque to enforce its minimum wage ordinance. Although Albuquerque has had a minimum wage ordinance since 2006 and amended it in 2012 to increase the minimum wage, it has almost never enforced the ordinance. The new mayoral administration has committed to change that and to create a robust enforcement regime. Our Peggy Browning Fellow will develop training materials on workers’ rights under the ordinance and advocate for targeted enforcement in certain industries.

On the litigation front, NMCLP is set for a five-day trial in a class action brought under Albuquerque’s minimum wage ordinance. Our Peggy Browning Fellow will help prepare for trial and draft post-trial submissions. Also, we likely will be in litigation to defend an earned sick leave ordinance. The Albuquerque City Council is expected to pass an ordinance to provide paid sick time to over 107,000 Albuquerque workers who currently lack that right. As they have done in the past, conservative business lobbies will probably file suit to challenge the ordinance, and we will intervene to help defend it.

Strong written adovcacy 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