Today International Workers Day, the graduate workers of the University of New Mexico are walking out to call for worker’s rights for all Teaching, Graduate, and Resident Assistants. Graduate workers play a pivotal role in university education but are not paid a living wage. The labor we provide keeps the university running, as we teach, grade, and support required undergraduate courses, and work for faculty and university programs. For this essential work, we are paid $14,950 per academic year, with no pay during the summer months. For context, the average salary in Albuquerque is $48,188 per year.
Aside from pay, these worker’s rights also include the right to a workplace free of sexual harassment and assault so that we can feel safe at work, in our departments, and in our communities extending beyond campus. We need complaints and concerns about sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the work place to be taken seriously and addressed in a timely and professional manner.
In short, the graduate worker population of the University of New Mexico is suffering and needs the attention and support of faculty, administration, and the student body that we serve.
Blue Mesa Review, like many university-based literary magazines across the country, is staffed and run by graduate students (with the exception of an ever-changing faculty advisor). Our original release date for Issue 39 was scheduled for today (May 1), but in solidarity with fellow graduate workers across the university, we’re pushing the release date back until tomorrow to walk out with them. We are walking out for transparency. We are walking out for all of our fellow workers, especially female workers, workers of color, workers of all religions and belief systems, LGBTQIAA+ workers, and other marginalized workers who are ignored and unheard. We are walking out for our students. We are walking out for ourselves. We are walking out for you.