The University of Michigan Central Student Government passed resolutions endorsing a potential strike by the Lecturers’ Employee Organization and advocating for an increased number of buses for students in their virtual meeting Tuesday night.
LEO, the union supporting non-tenure track faculty, quit their contract with the University Aug. 9 due to unsuccessful negotiations between the two parties, largely over pay parity across all three University campuses.
LEO has given the University until Sept. 8 to negotiate a new contract, and the organization can vote to strike if a consensus is not reached by this date. Members and supporters of LEO organized a protest during move-in last weekend to raise awareness of the potential of a LEO strike.
The CSG Assembly discussed a resolution that would express CSG’s support for LEO if they choose to strike. LSA sophomore Ashvin Pai, one of the sponsors of the resolution, said a resolution on behalf of CSG would make a positive impact to the cause.
“This resolution essentially endorses LEO’s bargaining demands or unresolved bargaining demands made during the 2021 bargaining cycle in order to widely circulate the endorsement,” Pai said. “And finally, we support and endorse LEO’s action, up to and including a strike in the case that their demands continue to go on as a result.”
The Assembly unanimously passed the resolution.
If LEO decides to strike, this fall will be the second year in a row that classes will be impacted by labor action. The Graduate Employees’ Organization and residential advisors organized a strike against the University during the fall 2020 semester in response to the University opening campus despite holding majority remote classes during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Senate Assembly also had a vote of no confidence for University President Mark Schlissel after disagreeing with his response to the pandemic in September 2020.
A resolution asking for increased buses on campus also passed on Tuesday night. As more students return back to campus for classes and the University maintains bus routes put in place at the beginning of the pandemic, many students are taking their complaints about the bus shortage and decreased routes to social media.
LSA senior Joseph Lobodzinski said despite the University’s social distancing measures, increased access to busing is necessary for students now that in-person classes have resumed.
“A lot of people have already made several complaints to us, the student government, and to the Office of Logistics, Transportation & Parking, so I believe that we ought to do something,” Lobodzinski said. “A lot of people don’t have cars, and they don’t have that necessary transportation besides the buses.”
The resolution was amended to include changes to the University’s bus routes, which according to the resolution currently consist of routes on streets and intersections that were not designated for bus traffic roads.
Rackham student Austin Glass said the issue with the bus routes also impacts students who commute. Glass said areas with stop sign lines at the crosswalks are not safe for bus transit and put pedestrians and car commuters at increased risk of accidents with buses along these routes.
“With the new routes, … these buses are routed now down streets that were not designed to have buses go down them, and they make turns at intersections that weren’t designed to have buses go through them,” Glass said.
The Assembly also passed a resolution to require all incoming CSG members to complete the University’s Planet Blue Ambassador Training and discussed the process of replacing vacated seats of CSG representatives.
CSG also appointed Business senior Jeein Shim as Deputy Policy Advisor for Environmental Justice.
Daily Staff Reporter Nirali Patel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.