Learn more about how OLÉ fights to enrich and empower New Mexico’s working families.

OLÉ is a non-profit, who uses grassroots organizing within the local community of working families in New Mexico. Our members and staff work together to strengthen our communities through social advocacy and economic reform, using issue-based campaigns and electoral engagement to ensure that working families are playing a critical role in shaping New Mexico’s future with a united voice.

Issues we are currently working on:


Providing a high-quality early education is the best way to make sure that New Mexico’s children succeed in school and throughout their lifetimes.

In order to work or go to school, parents need safe affordable childcare for their children.

Investing in our kids’ early years will lead to better outcomes for families and communities statewide.

nm kids nmpolIn 2010 the states slashed eligibility for childcare assistance contracts from 200% to 100% of the federal poverty line. Following a lawsuit led by OLÉ parent members in 2018 the state was forced to raise the income back to 200%.

Again in 2019 the state threatened to drop the income eligibility by 40%. This would have left thousands of families unable to afford the high cost of childcare and potentially shut down centers around the state. OLÉ parents, teachers and center owners jumped in action! They sent hundreds of texts and made just as many phone calls. And the state backed off and not only kept the income eligibility at 200% of the poverty line but also made the exit income at 250%.

Today OLÉ members continue to hold our state accountable by demanding they continue to increase the income eligibility for childcare assistance, make co-pays affordable, provide funding to ensure teachers are paid fairly and continue to improve the quality of early education across the state.

Land Grant Permanent Fund NM

One solution is the Land Grant Permanent Fund. New Mexico has the second largest fund of it’s kind in the nation with $20 billion for education. We are fighting to pass a constitutional amendment that would use a small percent of the fund for early childhood education. In 2012 we came within one vote of passing the amendment through the legislature. Our members continue to work on this issue and with your help, we can get it passed.

OLÉ Members help by:

– Engaging other parents, family members and community members to fight for quality childcare.
– Participating in meetings and events
– Asking your childcare center to support our fight
– Hosting a planning meeting for parents
– Attending meetings with your legislator
– Talking to the press about issues around childcare

Volunteer for Early Education by clicking HERE.


Every day OLÉ fights to help New Mexico’s workers win respect, living wages, benefits such as paid sick leave, and enforcement of worker protections.  Workers are routinely robbed of the wages they have already earned, particularly in Albuquerque, where the Berry Administration refused to enforce the Albuquerque Minimum Wage Ordinance that OLÉ led the campaign to pass with 66% voter approval in 2012.  That law gave minimum wage workers a raise each and every year, but OLÉ continues to organize workers to fight employers that continue to break the law and underpay their workers.

OLÉ worked together with Legislators and community members on getting a statewide minimum wage raise passed in 2019 to raise the statewide minimum wage to $9/hour starting January 2020, $10.50/hour in January 2021, $11.50/hour on January 1, 2022, and $12/hour on January 1, 2023.

OLÉ has worked with employees of Walmart to win greater respect and a voice in improving the working environment at Walmart stores.  The effort is part of the national Our Walmart movement.

minimum wage workers

OLÉ has also collaborated with the National Domestic Care Alliance to organize domestic workers in New Mexico.  Partnering locally with Encuentro and El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, OLÉ is working with home healthcare providers, housekeepers, and all other types of domestic workers to address the lack of worker protections, such as the exemption in the New Mexico minimum wage statute that doesn’t cover housekeepers.  Home care givers are a growing sector of workers doing increasingly critical work to care for our families, but they receive little training to develop their skills or adequate compensation to allow them to provide for their own families while they care for ours.


It started with a campaign called the Healthy Workforce ABQ, which was a ballot initiative that collected over 27,000 signatures in support. If passed, it would have guaranteed earned paid sick days for every worker in Albuquerque, however, it barely lost by a little over 1,000 votes.

Since then, OLÉ has been working with other local New Mexico organizations and government to try and pass a city, county, and statewide paid sick leave law.

OLÉ was successful in helping to pass a Bernalillo County paid sick leave bill that would include only the unincorporated parts of Bernalillo County. This bill was to be implemented on July 1, 2020, but due to Covid19, the County voted on delaying the implementation till September 2020. OLÉ held a protest to the County’s decision outside of County President Talbert’s workplace called Southwest Capital Bank with signs that read, “Commissioner Talbert is Willing to Sacrifice Essential Workers.” You can watch one of the videos here: https://facebook.com/OLENewMexico/videos/202247887621249/


In June 2020, Councilors Lan Sena and Ike Benton introduced a paid sick leave, hazard pay and PPE bill. Unfortunately, only the PPE bill was passed, whereas the paid sick leave bill was voted to withdraw motion to consider, and hazard pay for essential workers was voted down 2-7. You can watch the public hearing with this link(They start discussing PPE at 4:12, Paid Sick Leave and Hazard Pay at 4:39): https://facebook.com/OLENewMexico/videos/1147348618991735/

Email organize@olenm.org to join our paid sick leave campaign.


OLÉ Members who are permanent residents and ready to apply for citizenship have access to assistance in completing their application, access to a lawyer who reviews all the paperwork and classes to prepare for their exam.  Being new citizens, members have a unique and valuable perspective.

may day parade immigration reform

Citizenship is a path to individual, family, and community strength. In comparison with other immigrants who have not naturalized, new citizens reach many new heights of success. On average, naturalized citizens attain higher education, make more money for their families, and engage in their communities at greater levels.

We assist residents in completing their N-400 naturalization application, offer four weekly citizenship classes to prepare people for their interview and exam, and help them understand how to navigate the USCIS system in order to track their cases.”

The naturalization rate of immigrants who have completed our citizenship classes has been over 95%, historically. (Each naturalization case is different, however, and the past success of OLÉ citizenship students should not be taken as an indication of the likelihood of any applicant’s success in the naturalization process.)

Once our members become citizens, we help them register to vote and become active new participants in our democracy.

The class schedule for Citizenship & ESL classes are as follows:

Tuesday: 10:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 10:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m., 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Thursday 6:00-7:30 p.m.

For more information, please contact OLÉ!


ABQ Democracy Dollars AKA Burque Bucks was a ballot initiative that collected roughly 28,000 signatures in support. If passed, this would have helped to modernize the city’s current public financing program. It would have also ensured that participating candidates from all parts of the city could have run competitive campaigns based on the strength of their local support, not the size of campaign contribution checks.

Democracy Dollars lost by a little over 2,000 votes.

LIKE the campaign on Facebook: facebook.com/ABQDemocracyDollars
Visit burquebucks.com for more information.


Andrea Serrano
Executive Director

Matthew Henderson
Executive Director
OLÉ Education Fund

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