LEO Lecturer Contract to be Renegotiated

As the five year contract of all University of Michigan lecturers expires, a new one is being negotiated to take its place. The contract is being officiated by Lecturers’ Employee Organization (LEO) and is bargaining for higher salaries, as well as for contracts that provide job security. The negotiations are expected to be finalized Tuesday, April 3, but could move into the next fall semester.

Although many students may not be aware of the different titles their teachers hold, this title affects salary, benefits, contract length, and more. Lecturers are different from professors, and have different levels that require them to meet certain requirements. Currently, over 50 percent of classes are taught by lecturers at UM-Flint, different from the 33 percent that teach at Ann Arbor.

Salary is a big topic of conversation within the contract, and lecturers hope to use it as a bartering chip. UM-Flint’s LEO submitted a salary proposal for the contract on Friday, October 27, with administration not providing a counter offer until Monday, February 12. Currently, lecturers make a starting salary of $27,300 and many are left feeling unsatisfied.

They proposed the minimum be raised to $56,000 as a starting salary, with it going up $2,000 each year for the next two years. The university countered with an offer to raise it to $28,300 for the first year, $29,050 for the second, and $29,550 after three years.

“It’s not a serious offer to come to the table with when talking about lecturers who make approximately half at the University of Michigan-Flint than what lecturers make at Mott Community College,” shared William Emory, a campus organizer at UM-Flint. Emory is helping negotiate terms across the University of Michigan campuses.

He explains this counter offer does not keep up with inflation or the rising cost of health care.

“The proposal was less than zero in terms of real value to the lecturers,” shared Emory.

Emory mentions that, previously, a lecturer he knows had been on food stamps in order to provide for their family. He shares the individual eventually left the university to find work elsewhere.

The new proposal would still have UM-Flint lecturers making less than those of their University of Michigan-Ann Arbor counterparts, who currently make $34,500 starting off. They would, however, be making the same as lecturers at the Dearborn campus, who currently make $28,300, as The Michigan Times reported back in December.

LEO would love to have a contract to agree upon, Emory shares, but that it would depend on having a responsive partner with the administration. Currently, a contract drafted before the deadline remains to be determined.

“We agreed in our ground rules, both the LEO bargaining team and the administration, that we would have a tentative agreement in hand by April 3,” said Emory.

He hopes the university’s bargaining team will come to the table with a serious proposal. A LEO rally will take place Friday, March 23 at 11:30 a.m. as a bargaining meeting goes on from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will meet in the Michigan Rooms on the first floor of the University Center. The rally will be open to students, tenure track, faculty, staff, and community members. There will be a brief march on campus to raise awareness.