Lecturers strike

BY ALISON GO
Daily Staff Reporter
Published April 7, 2004

Shortly after 4 a.m., the Lecturers’ Employee Organization
and the University administration cut off negotiations for the
evening, ensuring that the planned LEO walkout will occur
today.

“Because it came so late in the night, we did not make any
tentative agreements,” LEO President Bonnie Halloran said.
“We do not have a new contract and will be holding the
walkout as planned.”

The “strike central” on campus is Haven Hall, facing
the Diag, the LEO website said. Picketing was to begin at 5:30
a.m.

“We definitely made progress on job security and
salary,” Halloran said. “The walkout will go on to
ensure progress continues.”

The administration, however, is still optimistic that an
agreement will be reached.

“The University bargaining team feels they are making
headway,” University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said.

Both sides have no plans for the immediate future, aside from
more talks that will restart tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.

The University has yet to meet the demands of LEO. There have
been 36 bargaining sessions, which have resulted in agreement on 18
contract articles, since the inception of the talks on August
19.

The last article that was passed regards how the University
posts its available job positions.

“The lecturers are an important group on campus and they
do a good job in terms of creating a wonderful and intellectual
environment,” University President Mary Sue Coleman said.

The negotiations, which began at 1 p.m. at the Wolverine Room in
the Michigan Union, mostly revolved around salary and job security
issues, Peterson said. The negotiations were scheduled to last
until 5 p.m., but bargaining sessions were restarted at 5:30 p.m.
and extended into the early morning at the Administrative Services
Building near the Wolverine Towers.

Salary talks include an agreement on minimum full-time salary
for LEO members. The University has suggested salaries of $28,000
at the Ann Arbor campus — the highest paid campus —
while LEO demands $40,000 for all campuses, including Dearborn and
Flint. The administration’s plan would cost the University
$300,000 annually, and and the University said LEO’s plan
would cost $12 million for Fiscal Year 2005.

LEO’s job security demands include the elimination of
lecturers’ temporary-employee status, regular job performance
evaluation and hiring and lay-off procedures based on
qualifications and seniority. These demands would give lecturers
“a level of job security beyond that afforded most other
instructional employees of the University,” Provost Paul
Courant said in an e-mail sent to deans, directors and department
heads April 1.

The third major demand of LEO is a revision of their
health-benefits package. LEO wants year-round coverage as opposed
to coverage only during the term that a lecturer teaches.

The two sides did not sit down at the bargaining table until
around 10 p.m. Before that, the lead negotiators for the two
bargaining teams made “conceptual presentations” of
their perspectives on the issues. Each presentation was followed by
questions from the opposing group.

And while there has been little movement in talks, both sides
say they have been able to remain civil throughout the bargaining
sessions.

“The negotiations have always been very
professional,” Halloran said.