NEW MEXICO (KRQE) –  Central New Mexico (CNM) Educators Union, which represents a big block of educators around Albuquerque, said it has reached an impasse in contract negotiations, affecting one of the state’s largest schools for higher education. The union is about to enter into mediation with administrators on Thursday.

The Educator’s Union President Mark Love-Williamson said there’s been a long list of unaddressed concerns long before the pandemic.

“We have been struggling to understand why this is good and why we need to live in a precarious state just to follow our passion,” Love-Williamson said.

Love-Williamson, who is also a part-time instructor at CNM, said for years, there’s been little momentum by CNM’s administrations in bargaining for union members to have better working conditions.

“That is issue number one as the workload increases. Issue number two is uncompensated labor in particular for part-time faculty,” said Love-Williamson.

The third issue, Love-Williamson listed, is scheduling with no guarantees for continued employment. “In my 17 years, I worry every single semester, three times a year. I have to be concerned whether I will have employment or whether I will have sufficient employment.”

He commented the majority of CNM instructors are on a part-time contract, teaching more than half of the classes at the college.

The union said about 10 to 12% of all CNM instructors are union members.

“Particularly, with the pandemic extra duties and responsibilities began to accelerate and faculty certainly took notice and a lot of faculty felt burnout.”

While union members said they’d welcome more instruction time, they’re claiming work schedules are filled with administrative duties, including changes for online coursework.

“We do not have mutual acknowledgment that there is a problem, much less how do we address this problem and how do we measure this problem,” Love-Williamson said.

The union said it cannot strike. In response to the impasse, CNM issued a statement.

CNM considers the negotiation process with the faculty union (CNM Employees Union) to be ongoing and will continue to follow the confidentiality provisions required by the collective bargaining agreements. CNM and CNMEU are participating in mediation on September 28 and September 29, 2023, as required by our collective bargaining agreements. CNM is proud to have outstanding, dedicated faculty serving our students and will continue to negotiate in good-faith in an attempt to resolve the impasse quickly.