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FARMINGTON – The San Juan College Education Association was officially certified to exclusively represent full-time San Juan College faculty members during a five-minute meeting in a small boardroom at San Juan College on Dec. 17 .

“It’s been a long journey, and it feels great. It’s a good feeling,” said Gerald Williams, a mathematics professor at San Juan College and president of the San Juan College Education Association after the quick meeting of the college’s Labor Management Relations Board.

Williams said the first faculty meeting about the possibility of forming a union was organized back in 2007.

“We want to establish a collaborative relationship with the university,” Williams said, “and now because of collective bargaining we have some say in [our] working conditions.”

Williams said the first thing the union plans to do is to organize a survey of all San Juan College faculty members to ask what issues and policies they’re interested in pursuing in the collective bargaining process with the college’s administration.

“This is the next step in the faculty’s decision to enter into collective bargaining,” said San Juan College President Dr. Toni Hopper Pendergrass. “We will continue working with them for the benefit of our students, the college and our community.”

Full-time faculty at the college will now be represented by the union’s collective bargaining process, including full-time members of the faculty who are not members of the union.

In a two-day voting process on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4, 2019, 87 full-time faculty members at the college voted for unionization, while 41 faculty members voted against the effort.   

In October of 2019 the faculty of the University of New Mexico voted to unionize as well.

“We made a commitment to represent all the faculty in our unit to the best of our ability,” Williams said, “We think we can make a difference at the college.”

Sam Ribakoff is a visual journalist for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-333-5283 or via email at sribakoff@daily-times.com.

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