The next chapter of the University of New Mexico faculty’s effort to form a union will take place on Monday, April 29.
The UNM Labor Management Relations Board (LMRB) will hold a hearing on Monday. The three-person board which handles all UNM labor disputes are weighing the certification or rejection the faculty’s petition to unionize. The petition was signed by over 900 part-time and full-time faculty members. There is no guarantee the board will make a final decision on Monday.
The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at the Marriott Pyramid North Hotel. UNM spokesperson Cinnamon Blair said the hotel was selected because it is a neutral location.
On March 18, University officials said the the board should reject the union’s petition, on the grounds that the positions included violated state law.
The legal argument, written by UNM Chief Counsel Loretta Martinez, cites a section of the UNM Labor Resolution that states employees in a labor dispute must be “a regular non-probationary employee of the University of New Mexico.” The argument states that this disqualifies part-time faculty members, including adjuncts and visiting lecturers, from organizing with other faculty.
In previous Daily Lobo reports, part-time faculty members argued they should be allowed to bargain alongside full-time faculty because of an increased amount of courses being taught by part-time faculty. The Mathematics and Statistics Department, for example, currently has around 80% of its classes taught by part-time instructors.
The board consists of representatives for both management and labor. Charlotte Lamont will represent UNM and serves as an attorney for Littler Mendelson, P.C., a law firm that specializes in representing management during labor disputes. Marianna Bowers, another Albuquerque-based attorney, will represent the union, formed under the name United Academics of UNM (UA-UNM).
Lamont and Bowers selected Joseph F. Baca, former chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, as the neutral member of the board.
If the board certifies UA-UNM’s petition, an election will be scheduled for UNM faculty to vote on whether or not they would like a collective bargaining unit. If the petition is certified, that election is expected to take place sometime during the fall 2019 semester.
University President Garnett Stokes has said she will support the faculty if they vote to unionize. Many members of the faculty have said they think the University is stalling the vote.
The Faculty Senate’s Committee of Faculty Governance will also hold a meeting on Tuesday, April 30 for voting faculty members, which does not include part-time faculty members. It will begin at 10 a.m. and take place in Popejoy Hall. According to the meeting’s agenda, unionization will be the primary topic of discussion.
UA-UNM has announced they will hold a parade immediately following the meeting, during which they will walk from Popejoy Hall to Scholes Hall.
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Kyle Land is a senior reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kyleoftheland.