Bargaining Update 3/16: In Swahili, LEO Means "Today" AND We Got a Big Move!

Well, friends and colleagues, it was another record-breaking day at bargaining on Friday! At least 124 lecturers showed up, along with over 100 allies--including a LOT of undergraduate students, who spoke powerfully about their interest in our bargaining when they introduced themselves. What these numbers mean: Talking with students and showing the quick PowerPoint (available with ideas for use in the Power Building Tookit) is working. Providing them with access to the LEO Blog and its Power Building Toolkit is working. Keep doing it, and urge your colleagues to do it as well!

We got some good movement on a major contract issue (benefits bridge--more on that in a minute), had a loud and lively march to the Diag and back, lunch with allies, and then more statements from allies and lecturers in the afternoon session.

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Let’s talk major gains:

  • They’ve agreed to keeping lecturers whose appointments across fall and winter average 50% in benefits eligibility. Thus someone who is 66 or 75% in the fall and only 33 or 25% in winter would be eligible for benefits year-round.  
  • They’ve also agreed to expand summer benefits bridge for lecturers who had 50%+ for winter only, but who will coming back in the Fall with at least 50%.  

Here are some disappointments:

  • They rejected our proposal of a child-care subsidy.
  • They rejected our proposal of offering parental accommodation pay to non-birth parents.
  • They do not want to extend health care benefits to long-serving lecturers on discretionary leave (which would make taking such a leave much more viable).
  • They continue to deny departments the opportunity to give lecturers the working title of Teaching Professor.
  • They are unwilling to strengthen the optional choice to give additional courses to current part-time lecs, rather than hiring new part-time lecs.
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As you may have heard, admin also delayed presenting their salary proposal until this week’s session in Flint. While it would have been nice to hear their offer with allies in the room, we hope that rescheduling it to the 23rd will mean more Ann Arbor and Dearborn lecturers will make the effort to show up in Flint this Friday.

Let’s be clear: the gains we’ve made have everything to do with the power we’ve been able to demonstrate thus far. We’ve built tremendous momentum among both lecturers and allies, and WEMUST CONTINUE TO APPLY PRESSURE with ever-higher attendance at bargaining each week.

These last few weeks are absolutely crucial. If you’re invested in forcing the University to invest in us, we need you to be doing the following things:

  1. Come to bargaining every Friday. (Reminder: This Friday is when we get a salary proposal back in Flint!)
  2. Come to the 2nd and 3rd General Membership Meetings, where we’ll make important decisions about next steps. Read more about GMMs here.
  3. Come to the Grade-In (2-3:30) and Regents Meeting (3:30-5) at the Michigan Union on Thursday, March 29th.
  4. Bring at least one fellow-lecturer with you to each of these things!  

About the Swahili: Marko Mwipopo, a lecturer in DAAS in Ann Arbor, addressed the admin team after lunch about his struggle to make ends meet on lecturer pay. He closed by saying that in a happy coincidence, Leo is the Swahili word for “today.” Let’s take that serendipitous new knowledge to heart, and ask ourselves what we can do for each other TODAY. Our solidarity is working, and a fantastic contract is in sight--time to dig in even more and pull together!

--Your bargaining team