Timeline of the Resolution of our 2017-18 Contract Campaign

On April 9, 2019, LEO Vice President Kirsten Herold and President Ian Robinson are presenting at the 46th Annual Higher Education Labor-Management Conference, hosted by the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions at Hunter College in New York City. They will share details and lessons learned from our 2017-18 contract campaign, including a comprehensive timeline of the campaign. If you’re feeling nostalgic and want to relive some of the highs and lows, check out the timeline below! You can check out their full presentation here.


Winter and Summer 2017: Info requests for financial and course information submitted.  Budget analysis completed.  Ten weekly surveys in different subject areas sent to the membership during winter to begin developing platform.  Constituted Bargaining committee w/ subcommittees, working all summer to draft proposals.  Met with as many members (and non members) one on one as possible.  Also started meetings with individual Regents and 2-3 members. 

Late September 2017: Bargaining platform ratified at convention.  Bargaining team formally constituted.

October 29: Bargaining kick-off in Ann Arbor, opening statement and salary demands.  All sessions, except small group sessions and sidebars, open to all members.  In addition, 3 sessions were open to allies.

November 3: Bargaining kick-off in Flint, presented on job security and performance reviews. 

November 17: Bargaining kick-off in Dearborn, presented on benefits.

December 2017 through March 2018: Weekly bargaining (mostly Ann Arbor), as well as some small group bargaining.  Little progress made on salary, no progress on equity.

 Throughout the year, we packed the room for monthly Board of Regents meetings and had members and allies testify in support of our demands.  Here is a recording from one of the meetings.  

April 4: Afternoon bargaining with little progress and evening membership meeting.  Membership voted to authorize the LEO leadership to call a two-day strike on April 9 & 10.

April 5, 6, 7, & 8: Feverish bargaining to try to make progress on salary. 

APRIL 9/10: STRIKE DATES By April 8, we had over 1,000 picket shift signups for both days from Lecturers, graduate students, undergraduate students, and other community allies. On the evening of Sunday, April 8, union leadership officially called off the strike in light of progress made at the bargaining table on both starting salaries and equity. Read LEO’s full statement on why the strike was called off here.

APRIL 20: Lecturers and allies protested at the groundbreaking ceremony of a new Engineering Laboratory Building on Dearborn campus. The building cost $90 million. Our signs and protesters were captured in much of the media coverage of the ceremony itself. See photos here.

APRIL 20: At the same time, lecturers and allies gathered for a block party outside the Fleming Administration Building to protest lack of further movement in bargaining. We prepared letters and messages for University of Michigan Provost Martin Philbert. Later, we marched into Fleming to occupy the Provost’s office and try to engage him about negotiations. Philbert was not in the office that day. Check out photos here and our TV spot here.

APRIL 26: The petition started by a coalition of undergraduate and graduate students in support of LEO reached 2,000 signatures.

MAY 17: Lecturers and allies gathered for a Picnic for Fair Pay at the monthly meeting of the UM Board of Regents. Several allies spoke on our behalf at the meeting, including student leaders. See coverage here.

JUNE 5: We released a short informative video about our ongoing fight for a fair contract. The video features testimonies from Lecs and allies about how Lecturer labor was being exploited at UM, as well as footage from our many actions throughout the year. The video reached over 70,000 people and received over 34,000 views.  

JUNE 12: Following the success of our first video, we released a second video focusing more tightly on the situation in Dearborn and Flint, and our struggle to “break the silos” and direct more funds to Dearborn and Flint to support Lecturers and students on those campuses. The video features moving testimony from students on both campuses. It reached over 18,000 people and received 6,500 views.  

JUNE 20: Evening bargaining trying to resolve the stale mate (weekly bargaining had continued during April, May, and June).   

JUNE 21: We spent all day at the bargaining table with administration before heading to the June UM Board of Regents meeting. The meeting was held in Ann Arbor at a brand-new 15 million golf course clubhouse. The Regents’ vote on the budget for the 2018-2019 academic year was slated to be held at the meeting, and we showed up in solidarity with our union allies at the University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council (who were also in bargaining with admin).  

Earlier in the day, we were told that if the Regents voted to pass the budget, it was a good sign for us, that enough money had been allocated to meet our bottom-line demands. At the meeting the Regents voted to pass the budget.  

We returned to the bargaining table after the meeting and, at long last, administration came to us with a counterproposal that closed most of the gaps between our position and their most recent offers. Those present in the room voted to send the contract to the membership for ratification. We informed membership that evening. See our statement here and more coverage here.

JULY 11-13: After the constitutionally required 2-week period between notifying membership of the upcoming ratification vote and the actual vote, ballots opened for union members to vote on whether or not to ratify the contract.

JULY 13: 98% of voting Lecturers voted in favor of ratifying the contract. A full summary of the contract gains can be found here.