Since the Lecturers’ Employee Organization’s walkout
on Thursday, the University and LEO have made no definitive
agreements in negotiations.

There has been “slow, positive discussion, but we’re
not anywhere near being ready to signing a contract yet,” LEO
President Bonnie Halloran said about negotiations since the
strike.

While Friday’s bargaining session at Wolverine Towers made
little progress toward the signing of a first contract between LEO
and the University regarding LEO’s wage compensation and
health benefits demands, the University presented a new job
security proposal that would redefine the appointment process for
lecturers.

“It was our bargaining team’s assessment that
we’re very close to settling” an agreement on job
security, University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said.

The new plan, “which the LEO and the University are in
substantial agreement on,” includes a three- to four-year
probationary period for new lecturers that would end in a defined
review process for every lecturer, she said. After this time
period, as long as the teacher passed the review, demand for the
course was strong and the budget resources were available,
lecturers would have the “presumption of
reappointment,” which Peterson said is an increased form of
job security.

The specific details and time in probationary period will depend
on whether a lecturer is defined as level one, two or three or is
an adjunct faculty member. As of now, level one lecturers have
their contracts up for renewal each term, teach specific courses
and are typically employed part-time. Those at level two go up for
renewal every year while level three lecturers have contracts for
three to five years. Level two and three lecturers tend to teach a
broad range of courses, may have administrative or service
responsibilities and are more likely to be full-time employees.
Levels are designated from the outset of hiring.

The proposal calls for level one lecturers to be hired per term
for the first three years, then after a successful review to be
hired annually, Peterson said. After six years and two reviews,
they could receive multi-year contracts.

Level two and three lecturers would receive a series of
year-long appointments for four years and then would undergo a
major review. If approved, they would be appointed for a three-year
contract. After another review at the end of that contract, they
would be eligible for five-year contracts. Lecturers in level two
would be eligible for promotion to level three after the first
review.

The two teams were also “discussing salary pretty
intensely, but didn’t come to any agreements” on
Friday, Peterson said.

A new proposal on wage compensation that was introduced by LEO
includes differentiated salary minimums at the University’s
three campuses, Peterson said. Initially, LEO demanded a flat
minimum salary of $40,000 for Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn
lecturers. Now, LEO has adjusted its demands to correspond with the
administration’s appeal for different pay for the different
campuses. The plan would incorporate pay increases for merit and
fluctuations in costs of living.

LEO also presented a new health benefits proposal that gives
year-round benefits to lecturers who work at least half time for
six months or more, Peterson said. Right now, lecturers are covered
only during the terms they are teaching. Lecturers who work
full-time in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts teach
at least three courses.

Under this proposal, lecturers who do not fall into the criteria
for year-long benefits, such as lecturers who work half time or
quarter time, would receive partial or pro-rated health care
coverage. In other words, the University would pay less for
benefits of an employee who worked less.

The University has not responded to the proposals on salary and
benefits. “We’re still working out the costs of what
the union has proposed,” Peterson said.

The two sides will meet again Thursday afternoon and all day
Friday, although Halloran said she expects an extra day of
bargaining to be scheduled this week.

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