The Lecturers’ Employee Organization, a new union representing lecturers on the U-M campuses, is planning a walkout next Thursday, April 8th. Students Organizing for Labor and Economic Equality (SOLE) are organizing a corresponding student strike of classes:
Students Are Taking Action to Support the Lecturers’ (LEO) as they
Demand for Fair Wages, Job Security and Benefits from the University
Get In On the Organizing
This Wednesday March 31
Michigan Union Anderson Room D
Undergrads and graduate students are organizing their peers for a possible class STRIKE on April 8th in support of LEO. Come to the meeting on Wednesday where students will:
* Get ready for the walkout and teach-in
* Get the word out (flyer and chalk near the Union and Angell Hall)
* Paint and Hang Banners
* Plan to Speak to Another Student Group
* Prepare to speak to Classes About LEO
* Meet with other student group leaders about organizing picketting groups
If you want to help with any of these, or have ideas of your own, come to the union wednesday at 9pm.
If can’t make the Wednesday meeting, there will be a second meeting for student organizers on Thursday, April 1 in the Michigan Union room 2105A.
Students are not products
Teachers are not tools
The University is not a factory
***Information about LEO and their Demands***
> Over the past 30 years, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of Lecturers and adjunct faculty teaching in our undergraduate programs,and in the share of all undergraduate teaching done by these faculty. However, Lecturers and adjunct faculty have not been provided with the job security and professional recognition warranted by their critical role in undergraduate teaching, and the importance of teaching in a great public university. LEO was formed to address these issues.
Bottom Lines- what are LEO?s core demands?
1. Job Security: Replace the contract (or contingent) labor system for nontenure-track (NTT) faculty with genuine job security. Under our proposal, employment can only be terminated (a) for ?just cause? or (b) due to insufficient student demand for the courses faculty are competent to teach, in which case, lay-offs will be administered based on seniority.
2. Health benefits: extend benefits throughout the summer to all who teach at a .5 fraction (i.e., half time) or above; health benefits available to all who teach at less than a .5 fraction rate, throughout the year, on a pro-rated basis.
3. Wages: A living wage rate for all NTT faculty, regardless of what campus they teach on, and whether they are part-time or full-time. Reduction (and eventual elimination) in inequalities across campuses and units within campuses for work of equal value. Wages to be based on a combination of qualifications and experience (seniority).
Why are LEO’s demands fair and just?
1. Permanent employment unless there is just cause or insufficient demand is the system currently enjoyed by most other UM employees, including administrative staff. Why should faculty who perform a function as central to the UM community as ours be denied equal treatment in this regard?
2. Public school teachers and bus drivers don’t lose their health benefits just because they don’t drive / teach in the summer time – why do so many of us, even after many years of service?
3. The arguments for a living wage, as a general principle of labor market regulation, are well understood if not universally accepted. The argument for equal pay for work of equal value is perhaps even more widely accepted? differences in tuition rates do not justify the fact that NTT in Ann Arbor are paid almost twice what those in Flint and Dearborn are paid, on a per course basis. It?s unfair, to say the least, to pay someone who has devoted a decade of their life to teaching, service and research at UM the same as (or sometimes less than) someone teaching the same course who has just started here.
4. Faculty — whether tenured, tenure-track or NTT — should have input into bodies that make decisions with direct implications for the content of what they teach, the ways in which they teach, and the conditions under which they teach.
Why will LEO’s demands, if realized, improve the quality of undergraduate education?
1. If NTT faculty have real job security, at least two things conducive to increasing quality education will happen:
*Faculty will feel a greater sense of loyalty to an institution that is willing to invest in them, and as a result, will want to invest more of their time in building programs, developing courses, etc.
*Faculty will also have more time to devote to these activities, because they will not be spending time searching out alternative sources of employment every term or year.
2.&3. Extended health care benefits and above-poverty wage levels will have the same effects, particularly on loyalty and investment.
4. Representation on decision-making bodies will give more influence to faculty whose primary commitment and function is undergraduate teaching.
Greater power for those with this priority will generally result in greater concern, attention and resources devoted to undergrad teaching.
But what about student tuition? Won’t LEO’s demands, if realized, cost students, their parents, and/or Michigan taxpayers a lot more money?
UM tuition, like that at other major universities, rose at well above the rate of inflation over the last decade, but the salaries and benefits of NTT faculty had little to do with this:
10 years ago (1992-93), the mean salary for full-time Lecturers on the AA campus was $29,687; a decade later (2001-2), it was $41,228. After inflation, this represented a real increase of about 1% per year.
Even if salary increases for NTT contributed little to past increases in tuition, wouldn?t raising our salaries and benefits add to the rate of tuition fee increases in the future? We do need to address the underlying causes of dramatic increases in tuition if we want to stop or slow this trend, which threatens the accessibility of the public university to all but the richest of our citizens. But the additional costs associated with improving our situation would not add a lot to the problem.”