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Historic Union Vote in New Mexico

By Kelly Hand

A decisive majority of faculty at the University of New Mexico voted in October to form a union. Two UNM bargaining units consisting of more than 1,600 full- and part-time faculty members across five campuses—UNM’s main campus in Albuquerque, UNM–Gallup, UNM–Los Alamos, UNM–Taos, and UNM–Valencia Campus—voted by a 70 percent margin to join the AAUP and our organizing partner, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

This historic victory marks the culmination of a years-long organizing campaign to secure the support of full- and part-time faculty despite fierce opposition from the UNM administration. By hiring the notorious union-busting law firm Jackson Lewis and creating obstacles that delayed the election, the administration underscored how urgently the faculty needed a united voice. UNM assistant professor Myra Washington said, “Our fight for the recognition of the power of our collective faculty voice, our push for transparency, and our desire for more equitable working conditions . . . have taken a huge step forward.”

United Academics of the University of New Mexico will begin bargaining with the UNM administration to win a first contract to ensure the best environment for teaching, learning, research, and outreach across the state. AAUP president Rudy Fichtenbaum said, “We are excited by [this] victory and look forward to working with UA-UNM as they fight to get a contract that will make student learning and research priorities at UNM.”

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