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 leave. 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 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 do research in support of our legislative priorities for the upcoming legislative session. These may include a bill on farmworkers’ minimum wage, or they may be other community-led workers’ rights campaigns.
The Fellow will also develop community education materials regarding a new paid sick leave law. A broad coalition of organizations worked to successfully pass a state paid sick leave law, which goes into effect in July 2022. The Fellow will develop trainings for workers on their rights under this new law.
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. We anticipate that the Fellow will work on site at our office in Albuquerque. However, if public health circumstances do not permit this, the Fellow will work remotely.
To apply, visit https://www.peggybrowningfund.org/fellowships/for-law-students/fellowship-application-form to fill out the fellowship application form. Peggy Browning begins accepting applications on December 1, 2021 and will accept applications until Jan 14, 2022.