The University of New Mexico faculty voted in force for two collective bargaining units last week.
Full-time faculty voted to form a union with 60% support in the election.
According to the counters, there were 811 total votes cast — 500 of those voted "Yes" and 304 voted "No." Seven ballots were deemed ineligible due to extraneous marks. There were 43 ballots cast to challenge the vote, but the counters determined them insignificant in the final count.
"I’m still calling it a tentative 'yes'," Jessamyn Lovell, a full-time professor in the College of Fine Arts, told the Daily Lobo.
The results for the part-time collective bargaining unit were received before those for full-time faculty, with 90% of the votes in favor of unionizing.
"It’s fabulous," UNM statistics professor Billy Brown told the Daily Lobo after the vote. Brown, a union organizer, said the part-time union results were better than he expected.
Out of the 288 votes cast in the election for the part-time union, 259 voted "Yes" and 26 voted "No." Three were invalidated due to extraneous marks. 32 votes challenged the part-time union election — however, counters determined these are "not determinative of anything."
The vote counters were made up of a member of the University, United Academics of UNM (UA-UNM), and two neutral arbitrators.
Nearly two dozen community members — many donning UA-UNM t-shirts and other swag — were in the room while the votes were being tallied.
Lovell said she is expecting the University to challenge to vote in some way. However, she and the organizers had plans for the next week.
"We’re all taking a break next week," Lovell said. "I’m personally going out of town with my husband and my child."
Lovell added that they plan on having an organizing meeting in the coming weeks.
"UNM’s faculty are one faculty, even as they are a varied group of singular scholars and intellectual entrepreneurs," said Provost and EVP of Academic Affairs James Holloway, according to UNM Chief of Staff and spokeswoman Cinnamon Blair. "The debate over faculty unionization has been vigorous and intellectually robust. Such exchanges of ideas and clashes of values are core to the special environment that a research university must create. Ideas can be launched here, challenged here and made better here."
Holloway added, "The faculty decisions on unionization speak their will, and I look forward, in partnership with our faculty and the rest of the Lobo community, to helping move UNM forward as a great research university."
Provost Holloway, who oversees the faculty, had previously voiced opposition to the formation of a union.
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