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February 20. 2014 9:24PM

UNH lecturers vote to unionize

DURHAM — Lecturers at the University of New Hampshire voted to unionize Thursday, with 86 percent favoring union representation.

By a 141 to 23 vote, the lecturers agreed to form UNH Lecturers United-AAUP, an affiliate of the national group known as the Association of American University Professors.

The decision came after two days of voting that began Feb. 12 and continued Thursday.

UNH has 202 lecturers on the Durham and Manchester campuses who teach full time but are not tenured. Most work in the College of Liberal Arts.

“It was an effort led by lecturers for lecturers that spread throughout both campuses. We love teaching and want to remain vital to the future of instruction at UNH; collective bargaining is the best way to ensure fair equitable policies and pay,” union president Sarah Hirsch said in a statement.

UNH lecturers began their effort to unionize in December when they filed a petition with the state Public Employee Labor Relations Board seeking certification of a bargaining unit.

They said they key issues were clear terms of contract, job security, an established date for contract renewal, pay raises in step with lecturers at other institutions, and policies for evaluation.

As it stands now, Hirsch said the university has no written policies regarding lecturers’ roles, opportunities, sick leave and other “basic employee considerations.”

The next step for the newly formed union will be negotiating contracts with the UNH administration.

The effort was met with some resistance when lecturers began their campaign.

University provost Lisa MacFarlane has argued that a union wasn’t necessary, but declined to comment Thursday night when contacted at home, referring questions to UNH spokesman Erika Mantz.

Mantz said in a statement that UNH officials were “disappointed to learn” that the lecturers voted to unionize.

“UNH officials maintain that a union is not necessary to continue to make progress in areas of mutual concern, but the lecturers have expressed their preference,” Mantz said. “The university will designate a bargaining team, led by Chief Negotiator Candace Corvey, and prepare to begin negotiations.”

jschreiber@newstote.com


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