New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty

Albuquerque, NM

This is the 2021 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 paid sick time legislation.

For example, in our continued monitoring of comprehensive reforms of wage law enforcement 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 written 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, we 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.

The Fellow will also develop community education materials regarding new paid sick leave laws. Bernalillo County recently passed a paid time off ordinance. We are working with a broad coalition of organizatoins to also pass a state paid sick leave law. If it passes, it will likely go into effect in early summer 2021. The Fellow will develop trainings for workers on their rights under these new laws.

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 Center anticipates that the Fellow will work on site at our office in Albuquerque, NM; however, if public health circumstances do not permit this, the Fellow will work remotely.

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

www.nmpovertylaw.org