PRESS RELEASE: University of Michigan Lecturers Negotiate Agreement to Raise Pay, Improve Health Care and Job Security

For immediate release, June 22Contact:  Roger Kerson,, 734.645.0535

University of Michigan Lecturers Negotiate Agreement to Raise Pay, Improve Health Care and Job Security

Salary Increases on All Campuses; LEO Members to Vote by Electronic Ballot in July

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN – The Lecturers Employee Organization (LEO), AFT-Michigan Local 6244, announced today that following marathon bargaining sessions over the past three days, the union bargaining team has negotiated an agreement with the University that will raise pay, 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.

“We’ve been working since October 2017 to create an agreement that will ensure quality education for our students and fair compensation for our members,” said LEO President Ian Robinson, a lecturer in the Sociology Department at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “Thanks to incredible organizing by our members, hard work by our bargaining team, and tremendous support from our students, AFT-Michigan and other allies, we have negotiated an agreement which we will be proud to present to our members for their review and, I hope, approval.”

“This is a huge victory for our members, it is equally a win for the University and our students,” said Kirsten Herold, a lecturer at the UM School of Public Health, LEO Vice President and manager of the LEO bargaining team. “Higher pay will lead to less turn-over, more lecturers working fulltime -- rather than holding multiple part-time jobs -- and a more stable learning environment for our students to whom our membership are so dedicated.”

The agreement, which is subject to a ratification vote by dues-paying LEO members, includes substantial increases for minimum pay, as well as equity adjustments depending on length of service, for lecturers on all three campuses.

By the end of the third year of the proposed collective agreement, the minimum salary at which UM can hire entry-level faculty with Lecturer I appointments will increase by $16,500 (47.8 percent) in Ann Arbor; $13,700 (50.2percent) in Flint, and $12,700 (44.9 percent) in Dearborn. Current lecturers will receive annual base pay raises ranging from $3,000 to $12,500, depending on length 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 University’s contribution to retirement income for lecturers, based on a percentage of salary, will increase along with the pay raises. The financial package that will be sent to LEO members for a ratification vote also improves access to health care for lecturers with variable teaching schedules throughout the calendar year and modifies the performance review process to enhance job security.

“We believe this is a transformative agreement and we look forward to reviewing it in detail with LEO members,” said Shelley Manis, a lecturer at the UM Sweetland Center for Writing and LEO co-chair on the Ann Arbor campus. “They will decide if this meets the primary goal we identified at the beginning of negotiations: An agreement that allows us to go into our classrooms with the fair pay and job security that’s required to deliver the quality education our students deserve.”

“This is what dignity looks like,” said Stephanie Gelderloos, a lecturer in English and LEO chair at University of Michigan, Flint. “We made progress because our members have rallied, petitioned, and taken action to demonstrate the value that non-tenure teaching faculty contribute to this university.”

“The University of Michigan is a public university with a responsibility to educate immigrants, students of color, and students who are the first in their family to go to college,” said Sheryl Edwards, a lecturer in social sciences and LEO chair at University of Michigan, Dearborn. “With major pay raises on all campuses, we think this agreement moves us in that direction. Our bargaining team convinced the UM administration to make major changes with incredible support from students, faculty, members of the Board of Regents, elected officials, community allies, AFT Michigan, and our brother and sister union members.”

LEO members in Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint will review details of the agreement during upcoming meetings in June, and vote on contract ratification by electronic ballot in July.