UNH lecturers seek to form union with AAUP

By Ken Johnson
On December 6, 2013

Full-time lecturers at UNH have launched a bid to form a union with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). The AAUP-UNH has been the union for tenure-track faculty at The University of New Hampshire. Lecturers are not currently eligible to join the AAUP-UNH. The group organizing the union is University of New Hampshire Lecturers United AAUP.  

"I think it's tremendous," Deanna Wood, chapter president of the AAUP-UNH, said.  

The average salary of lecturers at UNH is 40 percent lower than the national average, Clark Knowles, lecturer of English, said in a press release. There are 200 lecturers currently at UNH, according to the press release.  

The union will bring a sense of fairness to lecturers, who haven't had protection provided to them by the university, Wood said.

"Transparent, consistent contracts would greatly improve the sense of job security for lecturers and would enhance our ability to teach with excellence," Adam St. Jean, lecturer in chemical engineering, said in a press release. "As more lecturers serve UNH, it only makes sense to provide that security."

Lecturer in English Cynthia Pulkkinen, lecturer in Spanish Sarah Hirsch, lecturer in French Emilie Talpin, lecturer in English Nancy Sell and St. Jean are among those who have received their union cards.  

"We lack a transparent process of evaluation, a standardized process for contract renewals, and fair and transparent grievance policies," Hirsch said in a press release. 

Collective bargaining will give lecturers three important things, Wood said: due process, equal say in salaries and benefits, and the same opportunities - academic and intellectual - that are provided to tenure-track professors. 

"Like teachers everywhere, we'd like a voice in how our classrooms are run and we choose to do this through the collective bargaining unit of a union," Chrissy O'Keefe, lecturer in English, said in a press release.

Around the beginning of 2014, lecturers in the University of New Hampshire Lecturers United AAUP will have an election, after the bid has been reviewed. University of New Hampshire Lecturers United AAUP will then begin negotiations with university administrators to create a contract for lecturers.  

University of New Hampshire Lecturers United AAUP received the support of 70 percent of their colleagues on the UNH and UNH at Manchester campuses, 40 percent more than what was required by the Public Employees Labor Relations Board according to the press release.

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