(Updated Monday, 4/9) NO STRIKE TOMORROW AND TUESDAY, DUE TO SUBSTANTIAL MOVEMENT.

UPDATE 4/9: Good news! The five of us writing this post and press release together last night, at the end of a long weekend, input the Flint & Dearborn numbers incorrectly. We’re actually up to an $8,700 increase on those two campuses. 

Dear LEO members & Allies:

We have been in bargaining all week and weekend — Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. After some very slow days, we have finally made headway on important points. On Saturday at 10 pm, they agreed to the concept of equity raises and how to do them. Today, we finally got some movement on minimum starting pay: a more than $10,000 increase in Ann Arbor, and over $7,500 in Flint and Dearborn. This is already the biggest salary gain ever, although still not nearly enough for a living wage.

We have reached this point due to the overwhelming support of members and students and other allies at the University and throughout the state, including Regents and other elected officials. Unfortunately, President Schlissel and Provost Philbert have not yet fully acknowledged the legitimacy of our demands.

Nevertheless, the progress made this Sunday persuades us to delay the job action for now, in the conviction that we will make more substantial progress. We feel empowered to keep bargaining for the coming days and weeks for the truly outstanding contract we all deserve.

In the next day or two, we will be announcing times for meetings on all three campuses, at which we will answer questions and discuss strategies to build on the power we have already generated.  

We cannot begin to express the gratitude we feel for the groundswell of strength and solidarity our members and allies have shown each other. This is not the end!

Bargaining update 3/28 & 3/30: Some excellent movement on benefits, MUCH work left to do on salary

This update covers two bargaining sessions — Wednesday March 28 and Friday March 30 — since the pace of bargaining is quickening along with the pace of the semester in general.

Here’s a look at negotiations this past week; let’s use what we have to shed light on the University’s responsibility to those of us who too often have to burn our candles at both ends to support ourselves so we can support the U’s mission.

A one-sentence summary is that good progress was made on benefits and other non-salary issues, and that a little progress was made on salary for Ann Arbor.  

(Sorry for the level of detail in what follows, but as we get close to the end, it is important for members to have a clear understanding on where we are on the key issues.)

 

Salary

In their third salary proposal, there was only one significant change:

  • For Ann Arbor, the minimum starting salary went up fairly significantly for the first year ($34,500 to $40,000), plus another $1000 for 2019-20, and 2020-21, ending at $42,000 a year. Annual raises remain at 2.25% a year.
  • For Flint and Dearborn, admin offered no increases to starting salaries, which remain at $29,300/$30,300 for 2018-19, $31,300/$32,300 for 2019-20, and $34,000/ $33,000 for 2020-21, respectively. Annual raises remain tied to tenure-track faculty.

Management did indicate some interest in an equity increase for long-serving lecs (w/o committing to any specific sum of money) and asked for a small group discussion to lay out a “road map” for further discussion. During small group, some of the principles we discussed were the worry about compression (e.g. having a new hire make the same as someone in the fifth year), and the basic principle that if the mins go up by a certain amount, everyone else needs at least that same raise.  

Although all this is movement in the right direction, we are very far apart on reaching agreement on fair and equitable compensation.  

They told us that other than raising the mins they had no interest in doing anything for those who have not yet had both reviews, and we told them their position was unacceptable to our membership.

 

Everything Else

  1. On appointments, we are close to an agreement where lecs get an open-ended appointment after the first continuing review, and reframing that review, which will occur every seven years, as more of a professional development opportunity, rather than an evaluation.
  2. We also have an agreement that lecs will no longer have to submit materials already in the department’s possession (student evals and classroom observations) for their reviews, hence avoiding the several hundred page long review files.  
  3. For benefits we have gained two big concessions and several smaller ones:  Summer benefits for those who are at 50+% for winter and have a confirmed benefits eligible fall appointment, AND averaging of benefits, for those who average a 50% appt for the year.
  4. On bereavement leave, they agreed to our proposal of an extra two days of paid leave (for a total of five days) when there are extenuating circumstances, such as travel, for the death of a loved one.
  5. They agreed to include assuming legal guardianship of a child up to 6 (or a disabled child up to 12) as a ground for an unpaid leave of absence.
  6. Finally, they agreed to pay for benefits for a long serving lec (i.e., someone who has passed two major reviews) who take a one-semester professional leave (aka “sabbatical lite”).  
  7. And we are very close to agreement on a professional development fund and a diversity in teaching fund.  

 

So what remains on the table, apart from salary? (See a detailed table of each proposal’s status here.)

  1. Admin remains adamantly opposed to letting units who want to use the title of “teaching professor.”
  2. Admin remains opposed to our child-care proposal and any kind of parental accommodation either for birth mothers who are not eligible for long-term sick or for non-birth parents.
  3. They object to our proposal that lecs need input into the reviews of their supervisor.
  4. We are still working on ways to diversify lecturer hiring.

 

We have added additional bargaining sessions before this Friday’s OPEN BARGAINING in Ann Arbor:

  • Tuesday, April 3rd: Starting at 4:30 and continuing as long as necessary (at Academic HR in the Administrative Services Bldg., 1009 Greene St.)
  • Wednesday, April 4th: Starting at 4:30 and continuing as long as necessary (TBD, but near the Michigan League to facilitate transit to and from the GMM #3)

 

We also have three crucial General Membership Meetings–one on each campus.

You do NOT have to attend the meeting on the campus where you teach. You’re welcome at ANY location, depending on what corresponds best with your schedule:

Flint: Monday, April 2nd, 6:30-7:30 PM, at the IBEW Hall (1251 W Hill Rd, Flint, MI 48507)

Dearborn: Tuesday, April 3rd, 5:00-6:00 PM, at 1030 CB (Mary Kochoff Auditorium, CASL) — NOT Kochoff Hall in the University Center!

Ann Arbor: Wednesday, April 4th, 6:00-7:00 PM, in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Michigan League (911 N Univ Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109) — NOT Rogel Ballroom in the Michigan Union!

 

Please check your schedules and attend as many sessions and meetings and functions as you can!

Many are open to allies. All are open to LEO members!

The time is now. What could become the home stretch is here, provided we keep amassing and even increasing our support at this critical juncture.

 

Two More Extra Bargaining Sessions

There will be two extra bargaining sessions next week, sessions which any U-M lecturer may attend. Both sessions will start at 4:30 PM and take place in Ann Arbor.

The first extra session next week will be on Tuesday, April 3, at the Administrative Services Building (home of Academic Human Resources), , on the southeast corner of Hoover. The meeting will probably take place in the South Room. (And if you attend, whatever you do, don’t touch the markers!)

The second extra session next week will be on Wednesday, April 4, on Central Campus somewhere — we’re hoping a place close enough for us to zip to and from the third Ann Arbor General Membership Meeting in the Ballroom of the Michigan League at 6:00 PM. Once again — go to extra bargaining at 4:30 somewhere, hustle to the League ballroom by 6, and then go back to the first place at 7ish to wrap up bargaining for the day. Keep your eyes peeled on social media (Facebook, Twitter, this blog) to discover the location of “somewhere,” once this location has been determined.

LEO members, we each still play an important role in demonstrating the frankly impressive levels of support and interest that have marked this bargaining campaign. Let’s keep coming to bargaining, even on these weird off days, especially insofar as they fit our schedules better than the regular Friday sessions. Let’s keep contributing to this collective endeavor, this perfect storm of opportunity! We can do it, together! Inch by inch. yard by yard, week by week, we ARE doing it!

A Wrinkle in Time: Now’s Your Chance to Attend!

As we head ever closer to the event horizon of the April 20 contract end date and its mighty gravitational pull, time simultaneously seems to shrink and dilate. Days that once held one meeting now squeeze in three or four meetings, maybe more, and feel much longer than before. And weeks formerly with one bargaining date now contain two or three bargaining dates. In short, the process of negotiating a complex contract by two parties representing very distinct interests both obeys and apparently transgresses the laws of physics.

But I teach in the English department and understand poetry better than space-time, so I could be wrong.

What remains undeniably true is that as we approach April and the prospect of a major job action, the schedule of important events fills up faster. Over the next few weeks, there really will be additional, ad-hoc bargaining sessions to resolve both non-economic and economic issues. Lecturers, we need to be at these sessions, too! Perhaps especially those who haven’t been able to attend Friday’s regular sessions can now support the LEO bargaining team and pay heed to the ongoing negotiations on one or more of these extra occasions. Allies, we continue to appreciate deeply your interest in our professional welfare, and hope to keep seeing you during the regular times (10ish to 5ish) on Fridays, usually in the caucus room but in the bargaining room itself on April 6!

The first extra bargaining session will occur VERY soon, TODAY, Wednesday, March 28, in the South Room of the Administrative Services Building (1009 Greene St., at Hoover). There’s metered parking in the lot across the street, and parking for those of us with U-M stickers in the two lots behind the football stadium. Bargaining will start at 3:30 PM and proceed until an undetermined time in the evening. The front doors should remain open till 5 PM.  As we enter, we’ll head right through the double doors and be directed by a receptionist if we see no LEO people to guide us. Let’s get some lecturers’ eyes and ears in that room! Why not yours?

Next week, extra bargaining is expected to occur on two days, Tuesday, April 3, and Wednesday, April 4, also in the late afternoons and evenings. Locations for both days TBD. Note that Wednesday’s session may occur both before and after the third, strikingly important General Membership Meeting in Ann Arbor (6:00-7:00 PM in the Ballroom (Floor 2) of the Michigan League, 911 N. University Ave.)!

tl:dr — Extra bargaining sessions kick off today at 3:30 PM at Academic HR and will continue next week on Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

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!

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.

 

 

 

 

GMMs: What They Are and Why You REALLY NEED TO BE THERE

OK, We’ve reached the point in the process when things are going to happen VERY quickly, and we all need to be on the same page. In these CRUCIAL NEXT FOUR WEEKS, the most important way we achieve consensus about how to proceed is at a series of GMMs –General Membership Meetings.

Note: Each of these meetings happen on each campus, and you can go to whatever meeting is most convenient for you–you do not have to attend a meeting at the campus on which you teach.

Here’s what will happen, when, in what order, and how you have a say in our actions:

Meeting 1:

At the first GMMs we talk about our proposals and administration’s counter-proposals to date. We’ll also talk about how to increase our chances to win a fair contract, and which proposals as a group we will stand behind together until we win (what matters most to us as a bargaining unit, what we can live with, etc.). Ann Arbor’s first GMM is TOMORROW, Tuesday, 3/13, 7-8:30p at the Annenberg Auditorium, Ford School of Public Policy, 735 S. State Street.

 

Meeting 2:

In the second meetings, 7-10 days later, we will review further bargaining progress and make a decision about whether to send members an electronic ballot; this ballot would request giving the bargaining team authorization to call for a two-day job walkout in early April if significant progress isn’t made. If the ballot is sent out 3/25, we’ll have the results on 3/28. A majority of votes cast will determine the election results.

 

Meeting 3:

The third meetings will be held the first week in April. We’ll hear the status of bargaining and, if the electronic ballot resulted in a “yes” vote, we’ll again take a vote of members present about which of the following things we should do:

  1. accept the proposed contract,
  2. walk out, or
  3. take a third course of action, such as continuing to organize members and allies over the summer for escalating action in the Fall.

Here’s why you need to be at each of these meetings: They’re where our next major decisions happen.

The opinion and participation of all lecturers is critical over the next five weeks.

We are within reach of a very strong contract, and like we’ve been saying this whole year: We will only get what we are organized to win. Let’s show up and decide as a union what we’re willing to accept.