After another day of negotiations, members of The
Lecturers’ Employee Organization and the University are still
divided on key issues that will likely lead to a walkout, if left
unresolved.

Despite an impasse on wage and job security issues, the two
sides managed to agree upon another contract article at
yesterday’s meeting, this one regarding how the University
posts its available job positions. Since bargaining began in
August, 18 articles have been tentatively agreed upon in what will
become the first contract between LEO and the University.

While the University is pleased with the progress of the
negotiations, many LEO members said they are unhappy with the
bargaining process and are still prepared to strike on
Thursday.

LEO President Bonnie Halloran said the organization is still
focused on its three key issues, which were not resolved
yesterday.

“We are looking for significant progress on the issues of
salary, job security and benefits, so the agreement on job posting
is not sufficient progress,” said Halloran, a lecturer on the
University’s Dearborn campus.

But University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said yesterday’s
meeting was constructive.

“(We) felt they had a very productive conversation. There
are some big issues that remain, and those will have to be
negotiated out. It’s a big contract to finish, and it’s
going to take some work. Every time they meet they’re making
a little more progress.”

Jeff Frumkin, lead negotiator for the University, also said
progress was made at yesterday’s meeting.

“I think it was a typical and productive day of
bargaining. We were able to reach another agreement,” Frumkin
said.

While specifics of the tentative agreement reached on job
postings have not yet been released, Halloran explained that the
agreement would establish a consistent way of announcing new
positions for lecturers.

Negotiations between LEO and the University are scheduled to
resume tomorrow.

Lecturers are planning to stage a one-day walkout on Thursday if
progress toward agreements on the key issues is not made at the
meeting.

English lecturer George Cooper said LEO likely will strike.
“A walk-out will draw students’ attention to the number
of lecturers on campus. It will also draw the attention of the
University,” he said. “If half of the classes
don’t run on Thursday it will be a physical reminder of who
teaches the classes, and you can only hope that this information
leads to better decisions.”

A letter sent last week from University Provost Paul Courant to
deans and department chairs asked them to encourage faculty and
graduate student instructors not to strike.

The letter stated that a strike by public employees is against
the law in Michigan and would disrupt educational activities.

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