Bargaining Update, 2/2

Whelp. A lot of intrepid LEOs showed up to bargaining Friday, which was wonderful. There was a lot of energy in our caucus rooms before everything started--lecturers show up on time and ready to work, even when we’re donating part of our Fridays without getting paid (unlike Admin’s team). By nine A.M., dozens of us were ready to go, ready to participate in bargaining, ready to make or witness positive changes happening.

At 10:30, management came to the table.

Admin gave us proposals on Appointments (XI), Layoff & Recall (XII) and Performance Reviews (XIX). At least 90% of their response was “returning to current contract language.” In other words, documents on which we’ve worked really hard were now riddled with whiplash scars of deletions. This was true EVEN on articles they had indicated a willingness to change, including decoupling the Continuing Renewal Review from contract end dates so that they become professional development opportunities rather than high-stakes reviews. Needless to say, the vibe in the room was angry. And THEN they gave us MoU 2 to 3 (where we proposed a process for movement from the LI/II to the LIII/IV track), in which EVERY SINGLE WORD, save one sentence, WAS DELETED.

More specifically, they continued to refuse our language giving departments the ability to grant nominal titles like “Teaching Professor,” even though they’ve heard testimony from Computer Science about how the title “lecturer” keeps it from recruiting and maintaining the most qualified candidates for jobs that teach 52% of the students in that department.

At 1:00, two of our members and one GSI roused us with their testimonies. First, Eugene Bondarenko, a Lec I who teaches Russian and Ukrainian in the Slavic Languages department, gave an impassioned address to the Admin bargaining team, hoping to excavate their well-buried shame at the low salaries typically offered to Lecturer I’s. Tony Hessenthaler, a third-year Lecturer I in Romance Languages, gave a moving statement about the stress and anxiety of raising a child with a disability on an LI salary, even at the full-time rate. He brought the room to tears. Finally, Annette Beauchamp, a new GSI in English & Education, talked about the value lecturers have already provided her since she joined the institution this fall, asserting her 100% support for our contract demands, saying she would help in every way she could to see that we get a fair contract.

After we returned some smaller articles with minor adjustments, Admin needed to caucus, so we met in our own caucus room to begin formulating our counters on XI, XII, and XIX. Then our team manager and a couple of other members sidebarred with Admin, trying to make some headway on the morning’s articles.

Still no word on SALARY, over ONE HUNDRED DAYS after our salary proposals, which, as you recall, feature such components as higher minimums on all three campuses, more robust annual raises for everyone, greater salary bumps after major reviews, and longevity pay to help combat salary compression.

After a long day, we were all exhausted, but ready TO  FIGHT MORE. Next Friday in Dearborn, 10 A.M., will feature our first OPEN bargaining session, when not only lecturers but our allies will be allowed in the bargaining room. Know a lecturer? Like a lecturer? Have professional, personal, and/or financial ties to a lecturer? Come to Kochoff Hall B in the University Center, Dearborn! RSVP here. Let’s PACK THAT JOINT. Let’s show Admin that they can choose to keep stonewalling us, but the broader UM community will be watching.

101 days since we offered our salary proposals,

--Your Bargaining Team