Legal Process

Our right to form a union is legally protected by the New Mexico Public Employees Bargaining Act. Before we can begin bargaining with the university, we must first have our union certified through the following process:

  • Prepare petition

Our first step is to prepare a petition for submission to the UNM Labor Management Relations Board (LMRB),the local board allowed under New Mexico law to govern labor relations for employees of the university. We are required to provide evidence that at least 30% of the faculty desire to be represented by our union. A common method for gathering this evidence is to collect authorization cards from faculty.

  • File petition

We will submit the petition and authorization cards to the LMRB. The university also receives a copy of the petition, but the authorization cards remain confidential and are only reported to the university in aggregate.

  • University reviews petition

At this point, the university could decide to recognize our union voluntarily. We would then proceed directly to collective bargaining!

  • LMRB reviews petition

If the university does not decide to recognize our union voluntarily, the petition will continue to the LMRB review process. Any questions raised are resolved by the LMRB, either by working with the pertinent parties or through a hearing process.

  • Election scheduled

When the LMRB has finished reviewing the petition and all questions have been resolved, an election will be scheduled. Should a majority of voters vote yes, our union will be certified. At this point, we will initiate bargaining with the employer and enjoy the full protections that exist under New Mexico labor law.


After winning our election, we must continue building the structure and organizational capacity required to sustain our union well beyond certification. The exact internal structure of our union may take a number of forms, though typically faculty set up committees and workgroups. We will continue to increase support and to develop new leaders before, during, and after the certification process.

Upon certification, we start the collective bargaining process. First, a membership survey establishes bargaining priorities; next, members of the faculty form bargaining and research committees; and finally, our bargaining team enters into negotiations with the university administration. Once negotiations are complete, the faculty bargaining team will submit the contract to the membership for ratification. Should the membership vote to ratify the contract, we will enter into a monitoring and implementation phase where members, elected leadership, and staff work together to ensure that the terms of the contract are upheld by university administration, and to secure due process in the event of contract violations by the administration.

During the first year, we will also draft a constitution and bylaws, which will determine the internal structure and decision-making processes for our union.  We will maintain a democratic organization by facilitating regular meetings and engaging members on an ongoing basis.