That First Day of Class!

LEO stands for social and economic justice, sure, but it’s specifically an organization of educators, not workers in general. So let’s get specific! Let’s talk about teaching!

Since the Fall 2017 semester begins on Tuesday, September 5, it’s time to start planning the first class meeting. Aside from going over the syllabus and perhaps assigning a low-stakes diagnostic assignment, what’s an instructor to do?

Please post in the comments YOUR best ideas for a first-day-of-class activity! Please also identify your academic discipline(s) and primary campus.

Support EMU Lecturers! (Part 2)

EMUFT asks the community, students, alumni, and all Michigan taxpayers to let EMU know how it should treat its teachers. Here’s how to get involved and demand a fair contract for Lecturers:

  • Call EMU President Smith at 734-487-2211 and insist that a fair contract for PTLs is a positive and strategic initiative on campus
  • Call the Provost at 734-487-3200 and insist that she invest in Part Time Lecturers
  • Come support EMUFT at bargaining! Meet in G12B Boone Hall at EMU:
    Tuesday, 8/29 from 4pm – 9pm
    Wednesday, 8/30 from 5pm – 9pm
  • Come support EMUFT on Fri., 9/1, 11am-1pm at the Support Teaching Labor EMUFT informational Picket. Meet at EMU Student Center near the pond at 11am
  • Sign and share the Petition.

After more than five months of negotiations, EMU Part Time Lecturers still do not have a contract. EMU administration’s proposals continue to slash job security for PTLs and give financial incentives to replace current lecturers with new hires at reduced pay. Over 600 EMUFT members teach nearly 50% of the credit hours at EMU, but receive only 10% of the pay allocation. EMU’s proposed pay for new lecturers would result in less than $25,000/yr for full time teaching loads.

The EMU administration’s proposals undermine the material conditions of lecturers, many of whom teach full time loads but already earn a fraction of the salary paid to other faculty, and contradict EMU’s commitment to “Education First.” If a quality education for EMU students is the administration’s highest priority, the rate of pay and working conditions offered to instructors has to also be a priority.

EMUFT lecturers want fair wages, job security, and professional respect because Our Workplace is Our Student’s Learning Space. Please help support EMUFT Lecturers and demand a fair contract.

You can reach out to our staff organizer Tim Allen, emuftorganizer@gmail.com or (313) 633-4487 or Daric Thorne emuftpresident@gmail.com with questions, or for ways that you can help the team!

[This material has been taken from the August 29 Facebook post of veteran lecturer and EMUFT member Jill Darling.]

Support EMU Lecturers! (Part 1)

After six months and more than 120 hours of negotiations, EMU administration’s proposals continue to slash job security for Part Time Lecturers, who teach 45% of the courses, and give clear financial incentives to hire new lecturers over existing PTLs.

EMU’s lead negotiator insisted that monetarily the proposals are “literally everything we have.” and that they need to “establish an entry level tier that [they] can balance the budget on.”  This “entry level tier” is a pay cut of $450 per course taught. This “entry level tier” is below the first bargained rate by EMUFT in 2011.  Since 2011, tuition at EMU has increased 37%. Only 7% of the tuition revenue generated by a typical class goes towards PTL pay.  Something doesn’t add up.

President Smith’s bio begins: “President Smith has led an active initial year at Eastern, undertaking many positive strategic initiatives.” Are gutting job security and cutting pay for the lowest paid teachers positive and strategic initiatives on campus? Call the President at 734-487-2211 and insist that a fair contract for Part Time Lecturers is a positive and strategic initiative on campus!  

Provost Longworth said upon her appointment, “Our committed faculty, staff and leadership team serve and inspire students day in, day out with their dedication and commitment.” Does this explain why we should accept devastating cuts for the lowest paid teachers on campus? Call the Provost at 734-487-3200 and demand her dedication and commitment to Part Time Lecturers through a fair contract!

By the way, head football coach Chris Creighton last month was offered a 2.5% raise every year until 2022, bringing his current base salary to $425,000, and President Jim Smith received a $60,000 raise over his predecessor when he was hired for $400,000 last summer. EMU is trying to balance the budget on the backs of the lowest paid teachers on campus while putting athletics and administration first!

[This material has been taken from AFT President David Hecker’s August 28 email.]

Welcome Back!

A new school year is bearing down upon us. Students, lesson plans, grading, departmental politics. And with it, not only inside the classroom, various balls start rolling that will have a considerable impact on all of our lives as skilled, talented, yet vulnerable academic professionals. Beginning on Friday, October 27, LEO and the U-M administration will negotiate a new multi-year contract, the first one under the right-to-work legislation passed in 2013. A few weeks prior to negotiations, on Sunday, October 8, LEO members will convene to discuss and ratify our bargaining platform. All in all, we face heavy collective responsibilities, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.

But before all that…let’s party! (How’s that for a tonal shift?)

LEO will host two welcome-back socials for lecturers, both new and returning, at Dominick’s in Ann Arbor, over at 812 Monroe Street near Tappan. We’ll provide some finger food and some pitchers of probably-adult beverages. (Yeah, ID required.) They’ll take place on Friday, September 8, 2017, 4-6 PM, and Thursday, September 14, 5-7 PM. Come to one, come to both, it’s all good. It’ll give us all a chance to hang out in a non-official capacity.

And we’re all encouraged to come! Come on! Let’s meet one another! It’s sort of a pisser to think of LEO as “those guys over there,” some bunch of third-party jackanapes seemingly kept on retainer to fight lecturers’ battles for them. Sure, LEO does have a small handful of professional organizers who help keep the engine running. But with around 1700 people covered by our contract, with over 900 official members (and growing!), I’m LEO, she’s LEO, he’s LEO, you’re LEO, we’re all LEO. And if you’re not yet, maybe you should be.

So let’s eat some eats and drink some drinks and talk some talks. Let’s learn (or relearn) some faces and names. Let’s find out who our brothers and sisters are in banding together for better, fairer working conditions. You’re not an isolated atom or a cog in a dehumanizing neoliberal apparatus . You’re not just contingent labor. You can be part of something bigger. Together, we can make things happen. And it may start with sharing some snacks and some glasses of Dominick’s sangria.

The beautiful flyer! You can print it! You can post it!

flier 1 newbies