UPDATE: This story has been updated to include an interview with LEO President Bonnie Halloran.

University officials and officials from the Lecturers’ Employment Organization have reached a tentative contract agreement.

The announcement, which was made in a joint press release between the two groups, comes after approximately eight months of contract negotiations and about three months after the expiration of LEO’s previous contract with the University. The tentative agreement was reportedly reached last Friday afternoon.

Both parties praised the agreement in Tuesday’s press release as providing “a fair compensation package for the 1,445 non-tenure-track instructors on the three U-M campuses.”

In a statement, Jeffery Frumkin, the University’s associate vice provost and senior director of academic human resources, praised the success of the tentative agreement.
“The agreement provides a fair salary and continues the University’s commitment to provide increasing stability for lecturers,” Frumkin said in the statement.

LEO President Bonnie Halloran echoed that the tentative contract agreement would provide a more stable environment for lecturers.

“We believe this agreement improves the job security and financial situation of our members,” Halloran said in the statement.

Details about the specific language in the tentative agreement will not be publicly released until LEO members ratify the contract in September.

However, it is known that University and LEO officials were able to agree on clarifications to the appointment and performance review process for lecturers. Such reform to the process was a high priority of LEO officials, who highlighted some of the process’s shortcomings when LEO VP Kirsten Herold was denied reappointment in the spring. Herold has since been offered a position as a communications specialist in the University’s Career Center.

And while University officials won’t release details about other terms in the tentative agreement, LEO officials have posted information about the tentative agreement on the union’s website.

According to the group’s website, the tentative agreement includes a more gradual implementation of the University’s modified health insurance cost sharing program. If the agreement is approved, lecturers would not see the full burden of the new cost sharing program until 2012. And even then, lecturers with a 50 to 79-percent appointment would not be negatively impacted by the change.

The gradual implementation, which Halloran classified in an interview with the Daily as “very elaborate,” was one of the final pieces to fall into place during negotiations.

“This happened on the last day of bargaining,” Halloran told the Daily. “It doesn’t totally reach the goal we had of no negative impact, but when you add in the fact that we negotiated a $500 salary adjustment … when you take all those things into consideration, it means the part time lecturers will not be negatively impacted by these changes.”

The tentative agreement also includes pre-defined pay raises for Ann Arbor lecturers for each of the next three years. Ann Arbor lecturers would receive a 2.5-percent increase in 2010 and 2011 and a 2.75-percent increase in 2012.

Halloran explained the pre-determined raises were put in place because of a prior disagreement between LEO and the University.

“We had a problem a year ago where we raised questions about the raise that lecturers got; we were not getting the same raise that the tenured faculty in LSA got,” Halloran said.

Halloran said that issue, which was resolved after University administrators agreed that lecturers were entitled to larger raises, caused administrators to push for predetermined raise amounts for lecturers in this contract.

“The University did not want to be in the same position in another year, or two years later or three years later where there was a disagreement on what the raise was that lecturers would get,” she said. “So they insisted on negotiating for a fixed percentage raise and that’s why that language is there.”

Under the tentative agreement, lecturers would also receive an additional $500 “base salary adjustment” in Sept. 2012. The minimum pay for lecturers would also be increased by $1,300 over the life of the three-year contract. The raises are reportedly meant to serve as equity adjustments to help bring lecturers’ pay levels more in line with non-tenure faculty.

And while Halloran said this is a step forward for lecturers, she said there’s still a ways to travel before the gap can be completely closed.

“From our perspective, it’s a small step towards what we’re looking for but it’s the beginning of what we’re hoping to be a continual process … that we can continue to make these kinds of salary adjustments over time because of tremendous gap between what lecturers get paid and what tenure track faculty get paid,” Halloran said.

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