U-M lecturers ratify contract after months of negotiations

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Members of the Lecturers’ Employee Organization Local 6244 AFT Michigan voted to ratify the new lecturer contract with the University of Michigan after an electronic ballot on July 11.

The agreement became official after 98 percent of the union members voted in favor of the contract ratification, according to a LEO Union press release.

Under the contract, by Sept. 1, 2020, the minimum salary for a newly hired entry level faculty member with a Lecturer I appointment will increase to $41,000 from the current $28,300 in Dearborn. In Ann Arbor the same salary will increase to $51,000 from the current $34,500, and to $41,000 from the current $27,300 in Flint.

“The new three-year agreement will raise wages, improve health care and boost job security for 1,700 lecturers who teach tens of thousands of students on the Flint, Ann Arbor and Dearborn campuses,” the LEO Union press release read.

As for current lecturers at the three campuses, starting on Sept. 1 they will relieve an annual base pay raise rating from $3,000 to $12,500 depending on years of service.

“Lecturers currently earning over $80,000 a year will receive a combination of base increases and lump-sum payments, rather than total base-pay increases,” the press release said. “The University’s contribution to retirement income for lecturers, based on a percentage of salary, will increase along with the pay raises.

According to the press release, the new contract also improves access to health care for lecturers with variable teaching schedules throughout the calendar year; modifies the performance review process to enhance job security; provides additional funding for professional development; and schedules a labor-management conference in the Fall 2019 semester, at which the LEO and university administrators will discuss progress toward meeting the mutual goal of improving the diversity of lecturers.

Bargaining between the two sides began in October 2017 and picked up during the three days before June 22 when the sides struck a deal.

“This agreement is a result of months of hard work at the bargaining table — and much more,” LEO Vice President and manager of the LEO bargaining team Kirsten Herold said in the LEO Union press release. “We organized. We marched. We rallied. We lobbied. And we built a coalition that includes students, tenure-track faculty, union members on and off the campus, elected officials, and community allies.

“We did not achieve everything our members wanted, especially in Flint and Dearborn — that is going to take more than a single round of collective bargaining. But this contract does recognize the value lecturers contribute on all three campuses and sets the stage for further improvements.”

A post made to The University Record by U-M Spokesman Rick Fitzgerald on U-M’s website confirmed the contract ratification with the LEO Union which represents 1,700 lecturers on all three campuses.

“The changes in the contract recognize the important contributions that lecturers make within the university community,” said Sascha Matish, U-M associate director of Academic Human Resources and lead negotiator. “We will now work closely with University Human Resources and the schools and colleges to implement the terms.”

For more information on the contract and ratification go to www.leounion.com or www.hr.umich.edu/about-leo.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)