UNM faculty union holds rally for increased wages for adjunct faculty
The University of New Mexico faculty union held a rally on Wednesday amid ongoing negotiations with the university over compensation. Many employees feel that they’re not making a living wage.
A coalition of campus unions gathered outside the Student Union Building calling for better wages for all UNM employees.
United Academics of the University of New Mexico seeks to establish an annual wage of $52,000 for all adjunct faculty. Union officials said the current annual salary for adjuncts is about $32,000, which means UNM adjuncts experience food and housing insecurity and often work second jobs to make ends meet. But they say UNM officials have responded that there is no money in the budget.
Paula Swalin has taught in the Department of Music for 15 years, but only as an adjunct, which she says is disheartening, insulting, and confusing.
"I assume that I'm doing an adequate job," she said. "In fact, I've been told by administrators that I'm doing an excellent job. But they choose not to give me a more permanent position. Because if they did that, it would cost the university more money."
Some semesters she wouldn’t have a teaching contract and ended up getting paid $262.00 for the whole semester.
Graduate teaching assistant Samantha Cooney says the raises passed by the legislature this year and last are still not enough to cover the cost of living and that impacts faculty and their students.
"They're not focused on teaching you, they're focused on making enough money to support themselves. And so it makes the university a lot worse because of it."
UNM spokesperson Steve Carr said in a statement the university is in active negotiations with United Academics. He wrote that UNM does not discuss negotiations in progress but said officials look forward to reaching an agreement on salaries.
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