Lecturers left their classrooms yesterday afternoon and rallied on the Diag to show their discontent with salary and job security, among other grievances, at the University.
Lecturers Employee Organization members have been in negotiations since August with the administration and who agreed on several provisions but did not yet discuss the lecturers’ key concerns.
University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said the University negotiation team is positive about the bargaining progress.
Members of LEO spoke as they stood on the steps of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library and spoke of their individual concerns as non-tenure faculty.
Ian Robinson, who teaches in the Residential College and the sociology department, said lecturers deserve more respect.
“Lecturers are treated like second-class citizens because we do not publish and research as much as professors do, but as lecturers we do the bulk of the teaching — something, we believe is most important,” Robinson said.
By the end of March, LEO members hope their demands are met and specifically that their salary is increased.
Kirsten Herold, who is on the LEO negotiation team, said lectures’ salaries are “pitiful” compared to what professors receive.
“After 12 years of teaching here, my daughter’s kindergarten teacher, who just graduated from Eastern (Michigan University), is making more than me,” said Herold, an English lecturer.
Because lecturers’ positions are non-tenure — which, LEO members said makes their job less secure — their bargaining platform includes establishing explicit criteria for regular job evaluations.
“I think job security is a very important issue,” said Herold. “I know co-workers who don’t even know if they are working next semester.”
LEO, formed last May, represents 1,500 non-tenure-track instructional staff on the Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn campuses.
Graduate Employees Organization members, who filed a grievance and an unfair labor practice charge because they say the University unfairly added a premium to their health care, also rallied yesterday.
Students Organizing for Labor and Economic Equality also showed support for LEO and GEO at the rally. SOLE member Marlowe Coolican said students also benefit when lecturers and Graduate Student Instructors’ demands are met.
“If our GSIs and lecturers aren’t paid well, they won’t be able to teach to their potential.” Coolican said.
The LEO and University bargaining teams will continue to meet on Fridays and eventually reach a contract agreement.