University of Michigan Donors – ACT NOW!

Anyone who regularly donates or has ever donated to the University of Michigan has power to help us get a fair contract. This letter provides two templates: 1) a letter for you to reach out to potential donors whom you might know, and 2) a template for you and them to reach out to the University Regents, President, and Provost to tell them that you will not donate to the University again until Lecturers have a fair contract.


If you are a donor, 1) write to the University leadership yourself, then 2) forward this template to everyone you know who might be able to use it. If you are not a donor, forward the template anyway to ask donors you might know to use it.

Please do this today if you believe that we are the Leaders and Best and that the education that we received from University of Michigan is worth more. It is an embarrassment for any faculty at this renowned institution to rely on food stamps and other public assistance, or work 2-4 jobs, to support their families. The working conditions of our high-caliber faculty are the learning conditions of current University of Michigan students. We owe it to future generations to use our power and Build a Better Blue.


#SOS #ShameOnSchlissel – ACTION NOW!

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel continues to deny living wages and equitable compensation to Lecturers, the non-tenure track faculty at the University of Michigan who generate $462 million in tuition revenue each year. Most egregiously, Schlissel is determined to direct far fewer resources to Lecturers on UM Dearborn and Flint campuses. Contact him RIGHT NOW to tell him this is unacceptable. He must listen to the Board of Regents, who have been clear in their support and respect for our fight for a fair contract.

Use this phone #: 734-890-5169
Twitter: @DrMarkSchlissel

  1. Tell Schlissel to give us a fair contract with living wages on ALL THREE campuses, by the end of April.
  2. Let him know in your call/email/Tweet what leverage you have to care about this issue. Are you a donor? Tuition payer? Michigan taxpayer? Do you have press contacts that you’ll use? Are you planning on attending the May 17 Regents Meeting? Tell him this so he knows to listen up.
  3. Pick one of the following issues that remain unresolved at the bargaining table and let him know that it matters to you:
    *UM continues to unfairly disadvantage Dearborn and Flint Lecturers/campuses
    *Minimum salaries are still hovering near $40k/yr for Ann Arbor and $30k/yr for Dearborn and Flint
    *Equity compensation for long-exploited Lecs remains minimal
    *Admin refuses to approve a working title change to Teaching Professor to A) reflect the respect we deserve and B) make it possible to continue recruiting high-caliber faculty

Can you call TODAY?


Money Talks. What is Your University Saying?

If you support a just contract for Lecturers, let us know here: 

How do we as a community – Lecturers, students, graduate students, tenure track faculty, tax payers, etc. – make university administration realize that we will not accept anything less than an equitable contract for Lecturers?

On Friday, March 23, while bargaining at UM Flint, we received University of Michigan administration’s second counterproposal on salary in our contract negotiations.

They offered:

  • $2,000 raises to minimum salaries in 2019 and 2020
  • 2.25% annual raises over 3 years in Ann Arbor
  • No additional raises, such as equity adjustments for Lecturers already above minimums (even if just barely)

With this proposed salary package, Lecturers in Ann Arbor would only see salary minimums reaching $40,000 in 2021, the last year of the contract. Dearborn Lecturers would see a minimum of $34,000 by 2021, and Flint Lecturers would only reach $33,000 salary minimums in 2021.

Money Talks. This is what your university is saying.

You’ve heard these numbers again and again, but they just can’t be stressed enough. In the 2016-2017 academic year, Lecturers generated $462 million in tuition revenue for this university. In that same year, the university spent $85 million on salaries and benefits for all 1,700 Lecturers and their dependents. That means the university made a profit of $377 million off of Lecturers’ labor. 

You might have some questions. Questions like: 

How does it make sense to spend $15 million on a new clubhouse for the golf course (check out the notes from the last UM Regents’ Meeting), and offer $33,000 full-time salaries to members of a group responsible for generating $462 million in revenue?

If the university has one President and one Board of Regents, why does administration continue to use the idea of artificial “silos” between all three campuses to justify paying lower wages and directing fewer resources to Flint and Dearborn campuses?

If the university loves to use statistics from the Flint and Dearborn campuses to boost the appearance of diversity across the university, why is there no DEI money allocated to Flint or Dearborn campuses to SUPPORT those students?

But of course, the biggest and best question is…

Students have stood behind us every step of the way. We had 120+ allies with us at open bargaining on March 16. We have nearly 1,300 signatures on the petition started by students and other allies. At this point, the university administration’s disrespect for Lecturers is ALSO extreme disrespect for every person who has stood up so far to say: I want my teachers to be compensated fairly. I want my tuition to go toward my education. I want my tax dollars to prevent the exploitation of labor. I want my colleagues to receive the respect I know they deserve.

…So, how do we make university administration realize that we as a community – Lecturers, students, graduate students, tenure track faculty, tax payers, etc. – will not accept anything less than an equitable contract for Lecturers?

Great question. We have to keep putting the pressure on. We have to show that our community is behind Lecturers until the very end. Here’s how:

1. Sign up to join us on our picket lines in solidarity at Having allies sign up for picket shifts A) helps us to make our presence constant and unmissable on our campus in the event of a walkout, and B) helps demonstrate the kind of solidarity power we have in our community.

2. Attend the LEO Talks to the UM Regents’ Meeting and Grade-In THIS THURSDAY, 3/29, 2:00PM-3:00PM at the Michigan Union. At our last grade-in at a regents’ meeting, we had over 75 allies come out to show support. Can we double that number this week, in light of another miserable counterproposal on salary from administration? See details here:

3. Attend our next and last open bargaining session on Friday, April 6 (location TBA).

This information needs to reach every member of our community. Spread this post to any and all listservs you’re in touch with. Tell your friends. Post on social media (#respectthelecs). The university administration should be ashamed to exploit labor so readily. Let’s make their greed and immorality public knowledge.

[OUR RESPONSE TO ADMIN] This is not business as usual. The exploitation of Lecturers cannot continue.

On Monday, February 12, University of Michigan administration finally came to the bargaining table to give Lecturers a counterproposal on our salary ask. Administration’s proposal for alleviating the extreme economic burden that Lecturers bear – despite their vital contribution to the core mission of the university – was absolutely pitiful.

The response from Kirsten Herold – LEO’s Vice President, Contract Administrator on Ann Arbor campus, and bargaining team manager (i.e., Superwoman) – made it clear to administration’s bargaining team that this disgraceful treatment of Lecturers cannot stand. Read the transcription (created by LEO’s bargaining team notetaker, staff organizer, and laid-off Lecturer Alex Elkins) of her blistering, incisive response below. And remember as you read: We will get what we are organized to win. We’re mad, and we need to show up and declare as loudly as possible that we will not accept this. Let’s do it together.


KH: All right, we’re not gonna thank you for your proposal. As far as we can tell your basic argument is you’ve exploited us for so long, you’re gonna keep exploiting us. You’re actually exploiting us more.

As I noted in my opening statement, in the last fourteen years, the salary minimums have gone up 11% in Ann Arbor, 14% in Dearborn, and 18% in Flint – and in that time period tuition has gone up about 90 percent. That means every year you make more money from our work. Our undergraduate students can expect to make much more than us – their first job offer is more than you pay us.

You talk about the market and what it can bear but there’s a lot of different ways to talk about the market. Universities have created the market. You turn out PhDs and then say we’re not gonna pay you. It’s completely disgusting. The numbers you gave us, the people here are insulted. Members who have – all they want to do is make $40,000 before they retire. Members cannot afford to have children. Members cannot afford to buy a home because under these salaries they can’t pay off their student debt. You bank on every year hiring 300 new people, a lot of turnover, and you bank on the fact that a lot of the people who stay long-term, they have a spouse who makes more money. You’re like Walmart — you’re expecting other area employers to subsidize your poor employment practices.

I’m going to respond to the specific pieces of your proposal.

You say minimums should go up. We agree with you on that. They need to go up a lot more than you offered.

As you put the annual raises, people will lose ground on their annual raises.

As far as long-term Lecturers, your statement that we’re not interested in equity adjustments and longevity raises, there are so many things you’re not interested in. It’s astonishing. Last time we bargained, you said you’re not interested in our proposals twenty-one times. People are literally losing money every year. We need to signal to you that wherever we end up on salary, long-term raises for people who’ve been here a long time will be part of the final package.

We’re gonna leave now. We’re not giving you Article XI. We’re extremely angry. This is not business as usual. That’s it.

[Lecturers stand up in unison and walk out]

Call to Lecturers’ Allies: Administration’s Salary Proposal is an Insult to Us and You

Are you ready to fight for UM Lecturers?
On Monday night at 7:30PM, the University of Michigan administration let us know what they think of the work that Lecturers do for this institution. They let us know what they think of the $462 million in tuition revenue that the university makes off the labor of Lecturers every year. 
Tonight we received the University of Michigan administration’s first counterproposal on salary.
The minimum salary for full-time Lecturer work at the university is currently $34,500 in Ann Arbor; $28,300 in Dearborn; and $27,300 in Flint. These salaries are at least $10,000 below a living wage in Washtenaw County for any single- or dual-parent household with children. 
Since we began bargaining on October 27, 2017, the university’s bargaining team has heard from Lecturers who work 60 hour weeks, driving Uber in order to survive. They have heard about Lecturers who cannot afford to have children, or to ever dream of buying a home because they are paid such abysmal wages. 
Administration began their proposal by telling us that Lecturers cannot complain about this exploitation because with the current job market, they are more or less disposable. Here’s what they think we deserve:  
$1,000 increase in salary minimums in 2019, $750 in 2020, and only $500 in 2021. They actually proposed $500 as a legitimate salary increase. No longevity or equity raises for Lecturers who have worked at UM for 20 years, who can only hope of making a $40,000/yr salary by the time they retire. They think that in Ann Arbor, Lecturers should receive only a 1.5% annual raise. Outrageously, they insinuated that Lecturers are not faculty by suggesting that in Dearborn and Flint, annual raises should be “tied to ‘faculty’” – by which they actually mean, tenure-track. 
Our members are stunned, insulted, and outraged. In the past 14 years, Lecturers have seen a 11% overall raise in minimum salary. In that same time period, tuition has increased roughly 90%.  
This treatment of Lecturers is morally unjust. Is this who we are as a university and community? We need to tell administration NOW that no one is going to accept this.We need any ally in this community who thinks this is wrong to show up and help us amplify that message. Whether you are a student, a graduate student, university staff, or someone who just lives near one of the University of Michigan campuses, your presence matters and it is urgently needed this week.
This Thursday, February 15, Lecturers will be showing up to the meeting of the University of Michigan Board of Regents. The meeting is in the Anderson Room of the Michigan Union (530 S. State St). We will be staging a grade-in starting at 1:00PM and speaking at the meeting itself, which starts at 3:30PM. The more people who can fill the hallways and the meeting room in LEO shirts and buttons the better. Show up at any point between 1:00PM-3:30PM to grab a shirt and button and express your support, and try and get in the room if you can to attend the meeting itself. 
The Facebook event for this action is here:
Whether or not you can attend the Regents’ meeting, we’ll need your help and solidarity for the rest of this contract campaign (our current contract expires on April 20). We’re creating an action listserv for people to stay up to date on moments when their presence will be critical. We’ll never spam you or use your contact information for anything besides keeping you updated on our fight for a fair contract. 
If you support a just contract for Lecturers, let us know here: 

This information needs to reach every member of our community. Spread this post to any and all listservs you’re in touch with. Tell your friends. Post on social media (#respectthelecs). The university administration should be ashamed to exploit labor so readily. Let’s make their greed and immorality public knowledge. 

Central Student Government Representative Frank Guzman’s Remarks to Administration on Friday, January 26, 2018

On Friday, January 26, administration’s bargaining team heard from Frank Guzman. Frank is an elected representative for the College of LSA to Central Student Government in Ann Arbor. Read Frank’s strong reflections on why he as a student believes that we must treat our educators with dignity and respect below. Frank also read aloud the resolution that was recently unanimously passed in Central Student Government in support of Lecturers’ fight for a fair contract.

LEO Speech (1)

LEO Speech (2)

LEO Speech (3).jpg

On 1/5/18, LEO returns to the table!

As we say goodbye to the surreal and exhausting 2017, let’s greet the new year with renewed determination to win fairness and justice in our workplace. Please mark your calendars for January 5, 2018 (less than a week away!), when your union returns to the table!

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 2.58.27 PM.png

On January 5, we will convene from 9am to 5pm in the Great Lakes North Conference Room (6th Floor) in Palmer Commons on Central Campus in Ann Arbor.

We have some easy and not-so-easy matters to discuss with management next Friday.

First, the easy. We will sign two articles: Article VI on Union-Employer Conferences and Article VII on Scheduling and Reduction in Appointment for Union Representatives.

Now the hard stuff—but made easier if turnout is BIG.

We will deliver a new version of Article V or “Union Rights.” Presently, the administration treats LEO like it’s an outside entity, rather than the union representing 1660 faculty members, in the way it grants access to basic university resources, like office space and printing. We hope to change that with our Article V.

We will also present our latest proposal on Layoff and Recall (Article XII), with earlier notice dates for LIs and the right to keep your recall rights, even if you turn down an assignment for cause (for example if the class meets at a time when the lecturer is teaching elsewhere.  

Finally, we will present new arguments concerning Article XI on appointments and major reviews. Last time we met, on December 15, the administration rejected our proposals to redefine the LIII title to protect LIs/LIIs who are required or strongly encouraged (read: coerced) by their units into doing LIII work (i.e., service and research) but without the corresponding title and compensation. The administration did not believe this was a serious problem affecting many departments. We know that it is, and we intend to tell them. (If you have a story to tell and feel comfortable sharing it, please get in touch with At 1:00PM, right after lunch, a lecturer from the Stamps School of Art & Design will address administration about their own experience with required research commitments under the LI title. 

The administration has also rejected our proposals concerning Continuing Renewal Reviews. We want to end reviews in perpetuity and instead have only one CRR and an open-ended contract. After meeting with them in small group, we think we can make progress on an issue of great importance for long-serving Lecs.

Management refuses to tell us when we should expect to receive a counterproposal to our economic proposals, which we presented back on October 27th.  

Next Friday, let’s start the new year off right. Please join LEO – and bring at least two coworkers! – at Palmer Commons on January 5. Lunch will be available from 12-1pm.

You can register here.

~Alex Elkins

Update: Students Call for Faculty to Cancel Classes on 11/30 to Stop Spencer

LEO wishes to keep all lecturers informed of this request from students, but does not suggest that any lecturers make a decision one way or another in terms of supporting this action.
Students4Justice and other student groups and activists at UM are requesting that all university faculty, graduate student instructors and research assistants, and staff cancel classes on Thursday, November 30. This action is being called in order to pressure the administration to refuse to allow known violent white supremacist Richard Spencer to speak on our campus. See the Michigan Daily article on this call to action here.
Our objective in sharing this call to action with our networks is to contribute to spreading information that is pertinent to all members of our community, and to help facilitate open communication between students and faculty at a moment that has serious impact on all of us. In doing this, we also wish to lift a small amount of the burden of labor imposed upon students to constantly explain their positioning and the organizing work they are doing at an already trying time. 
“We ask that you stand in solidarity with us, marginalized folx across campus and the broader community, by canceling class, discussions, labs and any other academic obligations on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. Alongside this we ask that students get the leniency needed to successfully finish the term, given the reality that our campus, classes, homes, residence halls and community have continually remained unsafe. Students are unable to academically succeed when they are forced to fight to exist on this campus… [Examples of leniency could include] waived class attendance requirements or more excused absences, extensions on assignments, [and/or] [creating] spaces in classes to talk about events [that disproportionately impact marginalized students].”
For lecturer faculty who wish to learn more about the call to action issued by student organizers (regardless of their opinion on whether we should or should not cancel class), to stay up to date on the work being done to stop Spencer from coming on campus, or to find out about how they can show solidarity with students who fear for their own safety should Spencer come to UM even if they do not wish to cancel classes on November 30, we recommend the following resources. You can follow the pages of:
And you are also welcome to revisit LEO’s blog post on the issue of addressing racial hatred in the classroom: