Walkouts look likely after two days of Lecturers’ Employee
Organization meetings across the University’s Ann Arbor,
Flint and Dearborn campuses. The meetings yielded a total of only
nine votes in opposition to sending out strike- authorization
ballots to lecturers, said LEO member Marta Cruz, a Spanish
lecturer.

The walkout, planned for April 8, is intended to prompt the
University administration to speed up the bargaining process that
began last August. LEO, formed last May, demands increased wages,
job security and benefits for non-tenure track lecturers.

At the start of meetings Monday and yesterday on all three
campuses, 311 LEO members signed a strike petition, saying that
while they do not wish to strike, they are prepared to do so if the
University administration does not make a serious attempt to
resolve LEO’s concerns.

The strike authorization ballot will now be mailed out to
lecturers who then must vote by Saturday. If the initiative passes,
non-tenure track lecturers will not teach classes on April 8.

“This ballot gives authority to the union council to call
for a walkout,” Halloran said.

“At this point, it’s in the hands of the
administration whether they’re willing to make changes to the
system.”

In the past two weeks, the University has given no specific
details as to how the administration would respond to a
walkout.

“It’s too soon to talk about that. We would have
concerns about its disruption toward classes, but we don’t
feel that we are at that stage where it is necessary yet,”
said Julie Peterson, University spokeswoman in a previous
interview.

Non-tenured lecturers, who teach up to 50 percent of
undergraduate classes, are not properly compensated for their work,
said LEO President Bonnie Halloran.

According to an LEO news release, an Ann Arbor public school
teacher with a doctorate will start at a salary of $44,345 and rise
to $76,435 over ten years.

But the average salary of a full-time English lecturer with a
doctorate at the Ann Arbor campus is only $38,388.

“The administration touts the quality of undergraduate
education at the University,” Halloran said.
“There’s no desire to compensate half the faculty that
creates that high-quality education.”

Although the walkout would deny students a day of classes, Ian
Robinson, co-chair of the LEO Ann Arbor Organizing Committee Ian
Robinson feels that students will ultimately benefit from the
action.

“I am more convinced all the time that these kinds of
reforms that we’re proposing are win-win situations,”
Robinson said. “It’s win for students, win for faculty
and win for administration.”

Also approved by a unanimous vote in Ann Arbor during
yesterday’s meeting was the LEO strike platform.

Some of LEO’s proposals include a just-cause termination
provision that mandates that the University show reasonable
motivation if any lecturers are fired.

Other proposals include a seniority-based lay-off and recall
system , increased salaries that are based on years of teaching and
summer benefits for eligible non-tenure track faculty.

If the strike is not effective in speeding up bargaining,
lecturers may withhold grades until the administration settles.

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