UNM unions gather for rally as faculty wage negotiations take place
Unions from across the University of New Mexico came together outside of the Student Union Building to support United Academics of UNM, as they are currently negotiating compensation with the university.
The union is seeking to establish an annual wage of $52,000 for all adjunct faculty, a salary many at Wednesday’s rally called necessary given the rising costs of living in Albuquerque.
As it stands right now, adjuncts at the university are receiving a wage of $32,000. With UNM’s budget having gone from $3.414 billion in FY 2022 to $3.732 billion in FY 2023,
UA-UNM member Scott Kamen was left wondering why the workers of the university are still having to fight for a living wage.
“That’s why I was blown away when I found out that UNM could pay all of its part time faculty the equivalent of a living wage of $52,000 per year for just $2.7 million, which is not a lot of money in terms of UNM’s overall budget. The administration at UNM fails to pay adjuncts and many other faculty a living wage not because they lack the resources to do so, they fail to do that because they choose to do so.”
Kamen, who is the vice president of the Valencia campus union also shared that adjuncts at that campus are earning even less than their counterparts working on the main campus.
Benjamin Lachelt, a member of the United Graduate Workers of UNM and a grad and research assistant at UNM shared a similar story about pay, citing only making $800 a month as the instructor of record for two courses.
“Living wage for academic workers is really about having us prioritize our studies and our research. I want to be able to see my professors not be strapped, I don’t want to be strapped and I want to be able to have academia as a viable career route for me eventually.”
In a statement from UNM, spokesman Steve Carr said the university is engaged in active negotiations with UA-UNM, but said they do not comment on on-going negotiations.