Northern New Mexico College’s administration and its employees’ union have reached an agreement setting the framework for contract negotiations and ends a four-month stalemate.

The two groups established a memorandum of understanding that calls for the withdrawal of nine prohibited practices complaints by both parties. It was signed by President Nancy “Rusty” Barceló and Tim Crone, the union president.

The union negotiates separate collective bargaining agreements for staff, full-time and adjunct faculty. The memorandum of understanding will not affect the terms of existing collective bargaining agreements.

“The language is meaningful and will facilitate a spirit of trust, transparency, and enhanced communication between the administration and the union,” Barceló said in a prepared statement.

In the three-page memorandum of understanding, the administration and union commit to establishing monthly labor management meetings. The first took place on March 28.

“In my experience, these labor management meetings are a great way of enhancing communication and addressing employee concerns,” said Bernie Padilla, human resources director and a member of the negotiation team for the administration, in a prepared statement.  

Under the terms of the agreement, Padilla will also provide the union with a list of personnel and whether each is currently covered by one of the three collective bargaining agreements. The union and the college will work together to identify if positions are eligible for union representation.

The agreement calls for a final negotiation meeting to reach consensus on some sticking points.

“I truly believe that our priorities are very much the same,” said Barceló. “We agree that faculty and staff compensation is a major priority for the college, and we agree that facilitating a culture of shared governance is a must.”

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