I am writing in support of faculty unionization at the University of New Mexico. The faculty vote on unionization will be Oct. 15 and 16. As both a student and staff member at the University, it is clear to me that a faculty union will transform the learning environment at UNM. A faculty union will give instructors and professors a stronger voice in administrative discussions that affect the entire university. Faculty have the most contact with students and know their concerns and how to best support them. For that reason, a faculty union will also amplify students’ voices. In addition, faculty have the drive to be more involved in shaping the University, but their passion and ambition is stifled without a union.
After having attended four other universities around the world, I have seen passion for teaching and commitment to UNM students from the UNM faculty that is hard to find. Faculty are dedicated to serving the students of New Mexico but are often demoralized when they feel their years of graduate-level education, relocation to the state, and long work hours are not appreciated. Most of them came to UNM because they love teaching and learning, the same reason I want to be a professor someday. However, they also need to make ends meet by paying off student loans and providing for their families. Furthermore, all employees should have a say in their working conditions and deserve respect. About one-third of universities around the U.S. have already unionized and 64 percent of Americans support unions.
High-quality education and student success at UNM start with high-quality instructors and professors. A union will attract more dedicated professionals and help us keep the ones we have. Faculty will be proud to work at a university where they are heard. This will undoubtedly boost morale which students will notice. Students’ Lobo pride will grow, and the way we talk about and perceive UNM will start to change. UNM is already a place of great opportunity for the students and employees who are there, but faculty unionization will only magnify that and make UNM standout. Finally, the elevation of UNM as an institution will undoubtedly have positive social and economic effects for our state. So, I urge all community members to voice their support for faculty unionization and stand in solidarity!