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.

PDF VERSION
EASY-TO-COPY/PASTE VERSION

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.

 

Sarah Rovang Interview

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Amidst the escalating stakes and complexity of the contract campaign —certainly our most important current collective endeavor — it’s important to remember that Lecturers are very often potent forces on an individual basis as well. We are accomplished academics, artists, industry professionals, innovators, and so forth. While classroom instruction is our primary explicit undertaking, many of us also provide crucial service and/or engage in significant research. 

I recently spoke with fellow LEO member Sarah Rovang, who I was excited to hear had recently received the H. Allen Brooks Travelling Fellowship, which comes with $50,000 funding for pursuing architectural matters at the global level. We’ll find out more in a moment.

Before we get started, just to clarify, some of this written interview was conducted via email, and while it’s intended to complement the video interview recorded and edited by Erik Marshall, it’s not an exact transcript of that session.

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Hi, Sarah! Thanks for this opportunity to interview you about your own impending opportunity.

Sure, John. It’s my pleasure. Thanks for coming all the way to North Campus.

What’s your current appointment at the University of Michigan? Are you able to work full-time?

I’m currently a Lec I teaching a 2/2 load, which in my department constitutes full time.

How did you become a U-M lecturer?

I was living in Ann Arbor finishing my dissertation remotely in 2016. My spouse got a postdoc in the physics department, and I moved out here to be with him. At the same time, I started a collaboration with a tenured faculty member here in the architecture department. Through that connection, I was able to walk into a full-time lectureship because four permanent architectural history faculty went on leave or sabbatical simultaneously. It was really fortuitous, and I was really honored to be hired full-time again this year even with some of those other faculty back and teaching again.

What are your particular academic and professional interests?

Broadly, I study the architecture of the United States in the twentieth century. My dissertation examined the architecture of the Rural Electrification Administration, a New Deal Program that brought electricity to farmers through cooperatives. They hired this European emigré architect to design pretty radically modern buildings for their offices and power plants in extremely rural parts of the United States. This interest in the intersection of industry, technology, rurality, and architecture is what led me to apply for the H. Allen Brooks Travelling Fellowship.

Congratulations on winning the 2017 award! Could you tell us something about the H. Allen Brooks Travelling Fellowship?

It’s sponsored by the Society of Architectural Historians and provides a unique opportunity for an emerging scholar to travel for a year with very few obligations or restrictions. The expectation is that the fellow will produce a monthly blog post and upload some of their architectural photos to the society’s database, but otherwise it’s meant to be an opportunity for sustained reflection and engagement with different built environments and cultures.

Do you know how many other people were in consideration for this honor?

I have no idea. It’s a small field, but this is an international competition open to scholars across the world. This year’s winner is from Nigeria. But they only award one per year, and I will only be the fifth recipient.

How do you plan to use the fellowship? How much traveling will be involved?

I will be using my fellowship to study the Public History of World Industrial Heritage. I’m really interested in how different nations experienced modernization across varying architectural and cultural modalities. I will be traveling for a full year, starting in July. I plan to visit Japan, South Africa, Chile, Western Europe, Scandinavia, and the UK. My goal is to observe how industrial heritage sites are being interpreted for the public. What kind of infrastructure is in place, and how do digital and physical structures make those sites available to diverse publics?

Do you know where your intellectual and geographical explorations will lead you? Will you ever return? Then again, I guess not knowing what you’ll discover would be part of the fun.

I’m mostly curious to see how industrialization and modernization are presented differently in various global contexts. I think it’s hard to let go of believing that modernization follows a similar trajectory in different parts of the world, but I suspect that the diversity of cultural contexts and historical circumstances means that global modernization itself is as complex and poly-vocal as the modernist expression that responds to the conditions of modernity. And yes, I’m definitely coming back to the U.S. — there’s plenty of work to be done here too on this topic.

Switching gears a bit, how did you first hear about the Lecturers’ Employee Organization?

I heard about LEO at faculty orientation and immediately signed my card and became a member, but it took a little longer for me to get more involved.

What, if anything, prompted the deeper level of engagement?

There were two primary motivators for my involvement with LEO. The first was that I was already interested in labor history thanks to my dissertation work on the New Deal. I knew historically what unions have accomplished in terms of winning fair living wages and better working conditions for people across a wide variety of trades. I also knew that unions are often unfairly stigmatized. I felt strongly coming into this job that collective bargaining is one of the very few ways where workers in lower-paying jobs who have little job security can advocate for themselves.

Secondly, following the 2016 election, I was all colors of angry, terrified, and despondent. Becoming involved in LEO seemed like a very immediate and palpable way to become politically active and to feel like I was accomplishing something. LEO’s collaboration with other regional unions and involvement in bigger political issues is really inspirational.

I totally agree! Against this larger backdrop of national, even international neoliberalism, what are some of the particular issues most important to you as we bargain for a new LEO-UM contract?

First and foremost, salary. All things considered, the lecturers in my department are treated quite fairly. I was horrified to learn that lecturers in Flint and Dearborn are teaching 4/4 loads for $28 grand a year. That’s only a little more than what I made on a graduate-school stipend.

Yes, it’d be great for LEO to be able to tackle salary parity across the three campuses more vigorously down the road. But I’m sorry to interrupt!

You’re absolutely right. And the sad thing is, many other adjuncts across the nation, especially those without union support, are in a much worse position. I think LEO’s salary fight is therefore also important symbolically — hopefully we can show other institutions that there is another way. If I had to name a second top priority, though, I’d have to say child care subsidies and parental leave. I haven’t started a family yet, but when I do, I want a contract that acknowledges the legitimacy of teaching alongside raising a family.

In the spirit of Barbara Walters, let me ask: If LEO were a building or architectural style, what would it be?

LEO would be an extremely solid, brick Public Works Administration building from the 1930s. It would have with a lobby covered in a really grandiose mural series called something like “Triumph of the Lecturer.”

Something in the spirit of Diego Rivera or Thomas Hart Benton?

Precisely. A whole rainbow of lecturers teaching, researching, serving the community, and caring for their families.

What do you think non-architects understand least about architects?

I’m not technically an architect, so I might not be the person to answer this question, but I do think that architecture lecturers are unique in that many of them maintain their own professional design practices outside of teaching. This practice is, in essence, research, but it’s not research that is really recognized in the Lecturer I contract.

As both a Lec I and a poet myself, I find myself in similar circumstances, trying to be a working artist as well as an instructor. How much have you been able to pursue your own research aside from teaching? Have you had to defer it until the fellowship kicks in?

I’ve been extremely lucky in that I’ve had the opportunity to teach a number of graduate electives designed around my own research interests.  For instance, this semester I’m teaching a seminar on American architectural modernism, which is the underlying theme of my dissertation. Since I’m currently in the beginning stages of turning my dissertation into a book manuscript, this class has been a productive way to keep those ideas fresh, and my brilliant students are constantly giving me new things to think about. I’m also working with a very talented undergraduate student through UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program). Being accountable to my research mentee has helped me keep my new research project on track despite my teaching schedule.

What do you think your students understand least about lecturers?

I don’t think that my students understand that lecturer may have similar qualifications as tenure-track professors but have a very different pay scale and different benefits, and that this difference is a result of an academic system that cranks out people with graduate degrees such that they flood the academic system as supply outstrips demand. The two-tiered system of schools like UM that rely heavily on adjunct labor exploits that supply for profit. Lecturers create a significant revenue surplus and allow UM the curricular flexibility that students have come to expect.

Finally, what’s the one question no one ever asks you, but you wish they did?

One question that I’m tired of being asked is who my favorite architect is. When you’re an architectural historian, you almost know too much. In addition to knowing about the creative genius of an architect, you probably also know about the buildings that leaked or didn’t function like they were supposed to. You know about personal indiscretions or tyrannical office practices. I think a more interesting question might be, which historical architect would you most have liked to work for?

On that note, for which historical architect would you most liked to have worked, and why?

I’m a historian and not an architect for a good reason. But I would have worked for I.M. Pei. Unlike so many architects of the twentieth century who seem so driven by ego, Pei radiated kindness, humor, and curiosity about the built world. He was also a provocative and talented designer. And without necessarily intending to, I think he also did a lot to further the cause of diversity in architecture.

That makes a lot of sense. With all the discourse these days about bad people creating good art — if it can still be considered “good art” separately from its flawed creators — it’s encouraging to know that some figures can still be emulated for their personal conduct as well as their talent. But that’s probably a conversation for a completely different time.

It’s important to know, though, that many lecturers are still engaged in these sorts of big, international conversations, even on top of teaching and bargaining this year.

Sarah, thanks again for talking with us! And best of luck making use of the H. Allen Brooks Travelling Fellowship! It’s fantastic to see non-tenure track faculty honored as the superlative academic professionals they are.

Thank you, John. It’s been great talking to you. Good luck to you and all of the other Lecs next year. I hope we win the contract we all deserve.

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Bargaining Update 4/6: SO MUCH SUPPORT — and Some Progress

In one sentence, you might describe Friday as incredibly inspiring and uplifting in some ways (so much solidarity!!) and frustrating though potentially productive in others (no real movement on salary, though some hints of collaboration).

A packed room--on the right, many rows of chairs, all filled, people along the walls on the sides and in back. On the left, bargaining team member Stevens Wandmacher provides an update.
Lecturers and allies in caucus April 6, 2018

First, we want to celebrate the fact that 160 lecturers and at least 250 allies signed in to open bargaining Friday! The bargaining room, caucus room, and second caucus room were constantly full of people — which is to say nothing of the second-floor hallway being occupied all day by our amazing students.

More than one lecturer has noted that while the University doesn’t always live up to its claim of being “The Leaders and Best,” the students certainly do. We LEO lecturers are lucky enough to have them on our side. THEY are why we teach, and their support — not to mention that of our tenure-track allies, sister unions like the nurses’ union and GEO, local and state politicians, and others — means the world.

Hall at the Michigan League full of students sitting against the walls and in the middle of the floor with "Respect the Lecs" signs, working on laptops and talking.
Students line the hall outside the bargaining room as part of their all day sit-in.

On to business:

After a slow start, we met at the table for a conversation that was probably shorter than the time it took to complete introductions in the packed Michigan Room. We were ready in the morning with four items:

  1. Our response to their proposal on MoU Z (diversity in hiring)
  2. Our response to the latest offer on Package B (We continue to advocate for a childcare subsidy and 6-8 weeks of maternity leave for birth mothers)
  3. Our newly proposed Package D (union rights-related items and the right to have lecturers’ names listed on public departmental faculty lists)
  4. Our response to last night’s inadequate salary proposal (Package C)

Items 1-3 were items on which we have already reached much agreement and on which they had no questions. On salary, they also had no questions, but they did observe (correctly) that “we’re still very far apart.”

We broke so they could caucus, and we engaged our members and allies, who asked questions and offered their ideas about where we were. Then we marched over to the Office of the Provost to deliver scores of “direct interest” postcards voicing support by students and other allies before we returned for lunch.

At about 1:15, Admin came back to the table, where Gary Downen presented compelling data about minimum salaries, salary structures, and workload expectations at local community colleges. Then Tom Foy spoke movingly about his twenty-odd years of experience, struggling to make a living as a lecturer in Dearborn at less than $40,000 a year by cleaning offices on the side.

We broke again so the Admin team could caucus about our proposals. During this break, lecturers, students, and allies held fast. LEO President Ian Robinson read the text of a letter of support that eleven legislative representatives had written to U-M President Mark Schlissel.

The Admin bargaining team came back a couple of hours later with some concepts — no numbers — for how salary equity adjustments might work. We asked a couple of clarifying questions and talked about where their proposal could be potentially helpful and also where it is deeply problematic, and then we broke for small-group conversations.

Today we meet again in Academic HR at 11 am.

We’re exhausted, and we know there’s still a long road ahead. But we’re lifted by the groundswell of support and by our commitment to getting a strong, fair contract. Let’s make it happen!

Make sure to follow LEO on social media for regular updates. Click on the links below to join the conversation!

Frequently Asked Questions about the Potential LEO Two-Day Work Stoppage

Lecturers have been taking action: showing up to bargaining, attending regents’ meetings, and making other public statements about our situation. In response, administration has started improving their financial offer, but not by enough. Over 80% of LEO members responding to electronic ballot voted last week to authorize the bargaining team and elected Union Council to call the work stoppage on April 9 and 10 if we don’t see significant improvement on our most important demands. Administration is moving because we’ve built a movement; let’s see it through.

What is “the contract”? Why is there a campaign for a contract?

“The contract” is the general term for the collective bargaining agreement between the union and the university. During negotiations for a new contract, the union engages in a “campaign,” a series of events designed to show power and encourage the university to sign a favorable contract.

When does the current contract expire?

April 20, 2018.

What events has the union planned as a part of the campaign?

We’ve had rallies, opened bargaining sessions to our allies, held grade-ins and spoken publicly at Board of Regents meetings, and marched on the Diag. So far, 375 members have attended at least one bargaining session. We’ll hold another bargaining session open to allies this Friday, April 6, at the Michigan League on Ann Arbor’s campus.

How will we decide whether we actually do the work stoppage?

A lot is happening this week. We’ll bargain at least three more times with administration (Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday). We’ll also hold membership meetings in Flint (Monday), Dearborn (Tuesday) and Ann Arbor (Wednesday) to give members the latest information from the bargaining table. Members will vote at these meetings on the decision-making process we’ll use in the final hours leading up to the potential Monday-morning work stoppage.

Wouldn’t a strike be illegal?

While there’s a law in Michigan that says public employees cannot go on strike, and our current contract contains language that we won’t strike during it, we’re compelled to take action after months of administration not making movement towards our proposals. LEO and GEO have waged strikes in our past; no one was ever disciplined for taking part in these actions.

We have bipartisan support on the Board of Regents, which is a huge deal. At the regents’ meeting last week, Democrat Regent Mark Bernstein said, “I want to declare publicly and proudly solidarity with our Lecturers.” And Republican Regent Andrea Fischer Newman said that LEO had put our issues on the table “in a thoughtful and collaborative way…in a way that makes us want to work with you, that makes us sympathetic to what you’ve brought forward.” The regents are the bosses of our bosses. What they say matters. A lot.

What about the picketing? What will that look like?

Members will carry signs and engage in chants at selected building entrances, loading docks, and construction sites. A picket line must always be moving, or else we would be considered to be blocking entrances. We don’t want to prevent anyone from entering buildings, but we do want to disrupt normal operations. Each site will have a picket captain, someone in charge of making certain that the picket functions properly and members are arriving for scheduled shifts.

Why loading docks and construction sites?

This is about disruption of normal business operations for the university. We’ve spoken with many of the unions involved in construction and delivery, and they’ve agreed not to cross the picket line, even though it might be mean losing a day’s pay for their own members. This is one way that unions show solidarity.

What if I am hesitant to join in the job action because I do not want to hurt my students?

Lecturers’ very low pay and lack of respect from the administration already hurts students.  Dramatically raising our pay will dramatically improve the quality of education we can provide for students.  This is why so many students and all three campus student governments have taken strong public positions in favor of LEO’s bargaining proposals and this job action.

How can I join the walkout?

Sign up to be a picket captain or for a shift on the line! You can do so here: leounion.wordpress.com/petitions.

A walkout means you won’t hold your classes on April 9th and 10th, at any point in the day. By not crossing our picket lines, you honor the commitment of your colleagues to an equitable contract, and the solidarity of other unions who are not crossing our picket lines.

“You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Room.” -Chief Brody

Will this be it? The last bargaining session? If so, it’s time to rally, time to gather, time to come together and make one last, enormous show of support for a fairer, more equitable, and overall great contract for U-M lecturers!

I wrote a possibly lovely, arguably clever, yet certainly long-winded introduction to writing about the next regularly-scheduled bargaining session. But let’s not bury the lead too much: Next Friday, April 6, will mark the third and final OPEN bargaining session, running from about 10 AM until about 5 PM. It will NOT take place in Palmer Commons. Instead, bargaining will take place in the Michigan Room on the second floor of the Michigan League (911 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109. There’s also a MUCH-smaller Michigan Room in the Michigan Union on S. State St., but we’ll be at the Michigan LEAGUE.)

This may be the final bargaining session before LEO membership partakes in a major job action, so the agenda could be quite something! Events are speeding up!

Keep in mind that each open-bargaining session is a very big deal, perhaps most visibly on the University of Michigan’s biggest campus, in Ann Arbor. On open-bargaining days, more of us lecturers come. On open-bargaining days, we’re joined in the bargaining room by our allies who have “a direct interest in the working conditions of lecturers.”

We’re joined by our students who understand that we care deeply about teaching them, about being compensated enough to afford to keep teaching them here at U-M.

We’re joined by our tenure-track-faculty allies, our fellow educators.

We’re joined by our family members who rely on our hopefully-regular paychecks and benefits.

We’re joined by allies from fellow U-M unions, like the nurses’ union, which is also bargaining its new contract at this time.

On the last open-bargaining date, March 16, the number of attendees was around 250 — not a bad turnout! True, we had to order extra pizza to feed everyone. True, the fire code limited the number of chairs in the bargaining room and the number of people who could sit on each chair. True, also because of the fire code, a number of people had to stand or sit in the sixth-floor caucus room or the hall outside, at least until more chairs opened up in the fourth-floor bargaining room, Great Lakes Central* in Palmer Commons.

But ultimately, LEO truly generated a lot of visible, audible support on that day, just as it did in Dearborn on March 9, the first open bargaining day, and in Flint on March 23.

Again, open bargaining is a very big deal. So let’s take advantage of it! Invite your students! Invite your colleagues! Invite any U-M parents and/or alums that you know! This will probably be the last chance for many who care about the lecturers in their lives to watch history be made regarding the working conditions of U-M’s thousands of lecturers.

Let’s each fill a seat, get something to eat, and help support LEO to negotiate a contract that can’t be beat!

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* – According to the numbers I ran across, the Michigan Room in the Michigan League has a maximum capacity of 125, which is thirty-five fewer than Great Lakes Central. So don’t worry if you can’t stay all day. Plenty of people should be waiting outside to fill that seat! In fact, there’s a certain beauty to supporters coming and going in waves, like an ocean of well-wishing and witnessing, washing away at the shore…

Image: Kirsten Herold, captain of The LEO Bargaining Team, leads a caucus discussion during Ann Arbor’s first open bargaining session.

Ballots & Meetings & Walkouts, Oh My!

Time to Vote!

As of Sunday, March 25, an electronic ballot has been sent to all union members in good standing, asking whether to authorize the union leadership to propose a major two-day job action. These ballots will be accepted until noon, Wednesday, March 28.

Depending on the results of the electronic ballots, we will hold a third, even more crucial round of General Membership Meetings during the first week of April.

  1.    The Flint GMM #3 will be on Monday, April 2, from 6:30 to 7:30 PM;
  2.    the Dearborn GMM #3 will be on Tuesday, April 3, from 5:00 to 6:00 PM;
  3.    and the Ann Arbor GMM #3 will be Wednesday, April 4, from 6:00 to 7:00 PM.

All locations are currently TBD, so keep checking your email and LEO social media!

At these third General Membership Meetings, we will vote on taking a major job action on Monday, April 9, and Tuesday, April 10. (Although this job action has been called a “walkout,” it goes far beyond walking out of class to gather outside for a few minutes! It will be a widespread, all-day affair on all three campuses on both days.)

Time to Sign and to Sign UP!

Hundreds have already signed the petitions. Hundreds have already signed up for picket shifts, just in case we commit to the job action. (Preparation is at least half the battle!) But we’d love to stand thousands strong. We want a mighty and lasting movement, not a valiant moment! If you haven’t already, speed over to https://leounion.wordpress.com/petitions/ to sign the walkout petition (lecturers), the Change.org petition (both allies and lecturers), and the picket-shift form (again, both lecturers and allies). We get what we are organized to win. Let’s get organized!

Bargaining Update 3/23: Some Movement on Non-Economics, but More Peanuts for Salary

For most people, peanuts are delicious. For most people, peanuts don’t trigger anaphylaxis. Most people can eat whole bags of them without gasping in shock.

Still, one cannot live on peanuts alone. And there was a lot of gasping in Flint last Friday because of them.

We began the day by delivering proposals on both of the packages management had delivered so far: Package A (a memorandum on articulating some sort of bridge between the I/II and III/IV tracks, as well as articles on appointments, layoff, recall, and performance evaluations) and Package B (agreements to help part-timers with appointments and benefits, plus articles on posting, benefits eligibility and plans, sick pay, modified duties, and unpaid leaves of absences). Our cover sheets often read, “We [LEO] accept your [management’s] language.” We accommodated and facilitated. We bargained in a spirit of compromise. And we made progress as management seemed to understand at least some of our concerns.

DSC_0218

The march and rally following the morning session rivaled the most recent Ann Arbor march in size and volume. People were fired up, and we learned to better appreciate how the situation of UM-Flint and its lecturers reflected the plight not only of lecturers on all three campuses, but also of the greater Flint-area community. We heard from a political candidate, fellow lecturers, and a representative from a sister union. The final speeches by Flint campus chair Stephanie Gelderloos and by Residential College lecturer Bob King particularly struck loud, resonant chords with the hundred-plus people gathered together.

In the afternoon, after another set of compelling testimonials from lecturers, management presented their long awaited second counter to our salary proposal, now packaged with provisions for professional development and DEI initiatives. They again figuratively tossed us peanuts, this time a double handful instead of a single one, but still not anything approximating a healthy diet of compensation for any LEO lion (or hardworking professional academic Wolverine).

More specifically, while management did agree to raise starting salaries for each new lecturer by $5500 over three years, it would be business as usual for current lecs on all three campuses, with annual raises tied to the tenure-track in Flint and Dearborn (usually between 2 and 3%) and 2.25% for Ann Arbor — just about keeping up with the projected 2018 inflation rate. There would be no additional raises for any current LIIs or IVs (and many LIs and IIIs). And they refused to even entertain the possibility of any kind of equity adjustment for long-time lecs. Management offered no cogent response when we openly asked, Why don’t you want us to make decent livings? Their rationale for the missing planks in their counterproposal was also somewhat less than compelling:

Admin: We believe the focus should still remain on annual increases and minimum salaries. That’s where the focus has been, and we feel it should remain there.

LEO: Why should it remain there?

Admin: I’ll have to get back to you. We feel that when we spend the money, that’s where the money should be.

LEO: We need to caucus.

And so we caucused. After taking a moment to gasp at the underwhelming provisions of the second counterproposal, those gathered in the bargaining room considered how to respond, eventually deciding to tweak a couple of packaged items while once again presenting our original salary proposal. We returned our slightly amended Package C to management once they returned to the room, giving them one more chance to do right by us.

But it’s not all up to management, far from it. It’s time for us — lecturers and allies alike — to ratchet up the pressure.

DSC_0099

So what do we do next?

  1. We need to display our strength in numbers at bargaining. In addition to the regular Friday sessions, there will be a number of extra ones (open to all U-M lecturers) squeezed in at odd places and times, since both management and we would like to wrap up negotiations before the spring/summer break. The first extra session will take place on Wednesday, March 28, starting at 3:30 PM, location tba. We are hoping to settle most of the remaining non-financial issues.  Keep checking social media (Facebook, Twitter, LEO Matters blog) for more up-to-date details about each upcoming extra session.
  2. On Thursday, March 29, beginning at 2:00 PM outside the Anderson Room of the Michigan Union, we will hold a grade-in to demonstrate our contributions to the university. Come join us! At 3:30, the Regents’ Meeting will take place inside the Anderson Room, where community voices will speak out, in favor of our ongoing campaign for a better, more equitable contract. Those who ultimately control the university’s pursestrings must see us and hear us!
  3. This coming Friday, March 30, the site of regular bargaining shifts back to Ann Arbor, back to Palmer Commons on the 4th and 6th floors, from roughly 10 AM to 5 PM. Although it won’t be an open session, so only lecturers will be allowed in the bargaining room (4th floor), allies are always welcome in the caucus rooms on the 6th floor, where we will meet, eat, and discuss proposals. This is another great opportunity to watch, listen, and otherwise bear witness to the truth! (Parents and guardians — there will be child care available!)

Let’s help shift a paradigm together! In short, let’s save the peanuts for the circus.

Round One of GMMs Down, A2 Open Bargaining 1 THIS FRIDAY

Who knew you could get a room full of lecturers fired up and cheering at 8pm on a Tuesday?

Last night–Tuesday the 13th of March–we held our first of three Ann Arbor campus general membership meetings. (We’ll have a sequence of three GMMs on each campus, each meeting building in terms of size and urgency.)

We realize we’re all fairly exhausted–the waning semester is starting to feel like the last 6.1 miles of a marathon. Still, over 60 lecturers (and student allies!) too fed up to quit met in Annenberg Auditorium at the Ford School to assess bargaining so far and plan escalating action to bring home the best contract we’ve ever had. We  outlined important steps and decisions that you and other Lecturers in our union will have to make in the coming weeks, and secured commitments to act.

We’ve made some gains in bargaining, including an agreement to bridge health benefits over the spring and summer terms for lecturers who teach in the winter and know they’ll be teaching in the fall. We’re also making movement towards open-ended contracts after the first continuing renewal review. But our work isn’t done–we still have to present MAJOR strength to get the economic gains we deserve. And we CAN DO THIS.

Please put Ann Arbor’s GMM #2 in your calendar: Sunday, March 25 from 2-3:30pm at the Neutral Zone (310 E. Washington St. Ann Arbor, MI 48104). Those who attend GMM #2 will decide on next steps toward a potential major job action.

 

 

 

 

Yes, We Can! How Lecturers AND Allies Can Build Power

The time to act is now.

This is our best shot to get a #faircontract4lecs. We CAN build the power to do it – here’s how.

Even when you don’t feel brimming with time and energy, even when your personal bandwidth seems narrow and clogged, you can still help LEO to claim the compensation Lecturers have deserved, continue to deserve, and will keep deserving for decades.

We invite Lecturers and allies to check out our Power Building Toolkit. This toolkit contains materials and instructions for how you can spread the word about our fight for a fair contract and help us build power within the university and larger community. Our asks are simple but make a big difference.

Link to sign up for the LEO listserv? You’ve got it!

Brief but action-packed PowerPoint presentation? You’ve got it!

Pithy but potent flyer for students and similar potential allies? You’ve got it!

A letter template to customize and send to tenure-track faculty? You’ve got it!

Access to brilliantly eye-catching door signs for days? You’ve got it!

Although none of us can do it alone, we sure as hell can do it together.

-John F. Buckley

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.
 
1. REGENTS’ MEETING
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: https://www.facebook.com/events/162367887749501/
 
2. ACTION LISTSERV
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: bit.ly/act4lecs 


3. SPREAD THE WORD
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.