As the state’s right-to-work legislation approaches, the University and the Lecturer’s Employee Organization agreed Tuesday on a tentative contract for approximately 1,500 lecturers across the three University campuses.
The agreement will provide a compensation package for the non-tenure-track lecturers for five years. In a joint statement released by the University and LEO, representatives said they reached an agreement in good faith under a challenging climate.
The University and LEO reached an agreement at the University of Michigan, Dearborn after bargaining since November. The contract awaits ratification from LEO members and membership meetings across the three campuses. The ratification decision should conclude March 21. The current contract expires on April 20, but the new contract will go into effect on March 21, if approved.
The contract includes 8.25-percent salary raises over five years to the minimum starting salary for lecturers. First-time lecturers will receive $200 more a year for two years of the contract, and long-term lecturers will receive stronger job protection.
University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the University and LEO created a fair contract for employees and the University as a whole.
LEO spokeswoman Lila Naydan said LEO hopes to achieve an equitable pay structure — equal pay for the teaching portion of their work to tenured faculty and faculty on the tenure track — in future contracts, since the 8.25-percent increase will not achieve this.
LEO president Bonnie Halloran said the contract was negotiated under very difficult political economic situations, including cuts to state appropriation, federal sequestration, the right-to-work legislation and the University’s efforts to not raise tuition for the next year.
“We feel that we got the best contract we could under these very unique set of circumstances,” Halloran said.
Gov. Rick Snyder’s Dec. 11 announcement of the right-to-work law — which goes into effect March 25 and makes it illegal to require financial support of a union as a condition of employment — came after LEO and the University began negotiations on Nov. 30.
With the additional concern of this legislation, Halloran said it provided incentive for the negotiations to be completed as soon as possible.
Since Halloran is currently working to notify every LEO member of the contract agreement, she said she cannot release specific information about the contract details. She added that there are increases in salaries but not as big as LEO originally hoped.
In a statement, Alexandra Matish, chief negotiator for the University, said the agreement will provide fair benefits for lecturers.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that provides a fair salary and much needed flexibility in benefits, as well as continuing stability for lecturers,” Matish said.
Correction appended: A previous version of this article misstated a platform goal of LEO.