Letter to the Editor in response to Volume 19 Issue 20, ‘Part-timers seek more respect’

Dear CNM Chronicle,
Thank you for turning the spotlight on the working lives of Part Time Faculty at CNM. Chronicle reporter Daniel Montano did a great job gathering different perspectives on their compensation and working conditions. It’s really a pity that CNM representatives are unwilling to comment meaningfully on a story that focuses on the people who teach more than two-thirds of the classes at our campuses. Prior to being hired as a Full Time instructor in SAGE, I spent two years teaching as a part timer and I can remember the uncertainties associated with the position. I taught unfamiliar courses on short notice and waited anxiously to see if I would be fortunate enough to get a schedule for the next semester. And my paycheck was a lot smaller than it is now. It’s time that CNM administration acknowledged the contributions of Part Time faculty.
There are more than 750 Part Time Faculty teaching classes at CNM this semester. Information the Union has gained through surveys of these employees indicates that more than a third of this group seeks to make their living solely from employment at CNM. Labeling these employees “Part Time” is a damaging misnomer. It creates an impression that these are transitory employees who ‘fill in’ for the institution when needed. In fact, many of the faculty have taught at CNM for years and often teach more courses annually than their “Full Time” counterparts. Given the ratio of Part Time to Full Time faculty at CNM a student could quite likely complete a 2 year Liberal Arts at the College and take all of their coursework from Part Time faculty.
Recently CNM President Kathie Winograd has publicly stated that CNM needs to address the competitiveness of Full Time Faculty compensation “to attract and retain great employees”. As Union President I couldn’t agree more. But why no mention of Part Time Faculty? This is the group of employees that does the heavy lifting of the teaching load at CNM. Shouldn’t there be an urgent focus on attracting the best faculty at CNM across the board? As I stated in the article, underpayment of Part Time faculty is part of a national problem. The Governing Board and CNM administration should act locally by seeking to compensate, hire and retain the best faculty period. The students at CNM deserve no less.
Andy Tibble


Letter To The Editor; In Response to Volume 19, Issue 10 "Surprise! You've graduated"

Dear CNM Chronicle,
As a faculty member and President of the CNM Employees Union I want to congratulate you on the fine story written by Staff Reporter Jamison Wagner on the graduation issue in the July 23rd issue of the Chronicle. Once again the CNM Chronicle broke a story of great interest to the CNM community. As a faculty member I’m astonished that a student could be awarded two degrees and a certificate without her knowledge or consent. And that the college was able to award hundreds of degrees in this manner seems truly incredible. I look forward to hearing further information and explanation from our administration regarding this issue.

Last spring, in the wake of the administrative confiscation and subsequent return of the Chronicle’s “Sex” issue, there were calls for more editorial oversight for the CNM Chronicle. More ‘training’ was apparently needed for the reporters and staff, and the ‘independent’ status of the CNM Chronicle was called into question. I think Tuesday’s story and issue decisively settles the question of whether CNM needs an independent student newspaper or not. In any community that values freedom and transparency protecting the independence of the press is a crucial concern. I hope all faculty and staff at CNM will join me in supporting the journalistic efforts of the students at the CNM Chronicle so that we can preserve the valuable perspective that only an unfettered and spirited student newspaper can provide.

Viva la Chronicle!

Andy Tibble

CNM employee union takes a stand

By: Daniel Montaño, Staff Reporter | Photo By: Daniel Montaño

CNM employee unionThe CNM Employees Union is sending a clear message to the American Federation of Teachers: unless AFT of New Mexico provides more services and support, CNMEU is going to leave the federation, said Andy Tibble, Reading instructor and president of CNMEU.

On Saturday June 8 at the Center for Peace and Justice at 202 Harvard Drive SE, CNMEU voted to leave AFT, by a margin of more than four to one. The union also passed a motion to defer the sepa­ration for a year in order to give AFTNM a chance to meet CNMEU’s expec­tations, Tibble said.

“I’m feeling good about the vote today. We got a very strong vote for a course of action that I think is a very prudent one.

Yes, we’re still will­ing to disaffiliate, but we want to give AFT an opportunity to address our concerns and we realize that in order to really do that it’s going to take a while. It’s not something that can be done in a week or two,” Tibble said.

Tibble said that CNMEU has had to handle most of its own negotiations, bargaining, and arbitrations without assistance from AFTNM and has been generally disappointed with the service that AFTNM has provided, especially in the recent case of Steve Cormier, a CNM instructor who many CNMEU members have said was unjustly fired.

Additionally, the membership dues that CNMEU pays to AFT have been rising over the past few years and now consume 90 percent of CNMEU’s budget, leav­ing little at the local chap­ter’s disposal, Tibble said.

“It just sort of came to a head, we had to look at other options. We can’t continue to pay a large percentage of our dues money to an orga­nization that’s not really as effective as we’d like to see it,” Tibble said.

Once talk of dis­affiliation started to spread, after CNMEU went to mediation in the meeting, AFT rep­resentatives started making phone calls to CNMEU members and showing up to their homes to discuss the benefits of remaining with the federation, Tibble said.

Shep Jenks, Anthropology instruc­tor, was one of the many members who were visited by the AFT and said that he was dis­appointed that the AFT was only willing to spend money when they risked losing a chapter.

“The rep that vis­ited me came from Houston; my friend had a guy from Pennsylvania. In air­plane tickets and com­pensation alone they had to be spending thousands of dollars to visit as many mem­bers as they did. So it’s obvious that when AFT wants to they can muster enormous resources, but with the Steve Cormier case we had to come begging and pleading for help and still didn’t receive any money from state,” he said.

AFTNM devotes a large portion of its resources to the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, which is com­prised of Albuquerque’s K-12 teachers, and Tibble said he is seeking a restructure of AFTNM that will have more focus on the state’s colleges.

AFTNM will have to show a commitment to helping out smaller, higher education unions like CNMEU, which has only about 300 mem­bers compared to ATF’s 3800, by providing new staff and reforming policies that shift ser­vice away from smaller unions, Tibble said.

“One of the things that we will be looking for is a field representative that’s dedicated to higher-edu­cation I think that would be a reasonable proposal to make. That person would have to be knowl­edgeable and an expert in higher-ed issues and cur­rently they really don’t have a person that fills that roll,” Tibble said.

Prior to the vote, AFT National President Randi Weingarten and Tibble struck a verbal agreement that if CNMEU waited to disaffiliate for a year then the AFT would work on implementing changes to AFTNM’s structure and would waive CNMEU’s state membership dues, Tibble said.

Now that the vote has passed, AFT national has a week to put the verbal agree­ment between Tibble and Weingarten on paper or the CNMEU will become com­pletely independent, but Tibble said he is not worried that it will come to that.

“We just need to make sure that what we’ve dis­cussed in conversation is going to be something that we can count on in writing,” he said

Stephanie Ly, presi­dent of AFTNM, spoke at the meeting on Saturday and said she expected the votes to turn out how they did.

AFTNM is willing to work with CNMEU to achieve a compromise on the fine points of what the CNMEU wants, par­ticularly since Tibble has shown he is willing to work with the AFT by taking Weingarten’s offer on deferment, Ly said.

“We have been trying to work out a deal with them for months now, so we’re happy that they are actually taking on a deal,” Ly said.

Although CNMEU did pass the motion to defer disaffilia­tion, they will remain largely self-governed for the next year, which Peter Lundman English instructor and CNMEU treasurer, said is one of the things union mem­bers had been hoping for.

“It gives us the expe­rience of autonomy, which is what we asked for a year ago. The state was unable to give it to us but appar­ently national is going to make it happen,” Lundman said.

If after a year period AFTNM hasn’t shown appropriate changes, the CNMEU will be allowed to leave the federation without a legal fight from AFT, Tibble said.

Peter Kalitsis, Architectural Drafting instructor, said that if the union becomes inde­pendent he thinks it will remain strong because of the money being saved in due fees and the year of preparation they will have before fully leaving the AFT.

“We have strong lead­ership with a vision for the future. This gives them time to prepare and to show that we are very strong,” Kalitsis said.

Nariman Arafi, Psychology instructor, said he hopes for full independence from the AFT after a year because he is tired of the higher education community being unrepresented by AFTNM and CNM instructors having to deal with under-instructed students coming from APS.

“APS says ‘we are going to send you the students who cannot read or write, can’t add two plus two and your higher education has to deal with it.’ No! No more, we will stand up for our own rights from now on,” Arafi said.