By Maria Kanso, News Editor
The union that represents lecturers on all three campuses, LEO, is negotiating a new contract with the University of Michigan. An event was held on Thursday during where lecturers explained their needs and asked for support during bargaining day on Feb 9.
Alicia Schaeffer, a composition and writing lecturer at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, said that lecturers and students are “worth more.”
“They deserve to have instructors who are respected and don’t need to leave every semester because they don’t get classes or go somewhere where they can actually live on what they’re making,” she said.
Lecturers are non-tenured instructors that have fixed-term contracts which have to be renewed each time they expire. They have a one-term contract at UM-Dearborn, which means lecturers could teach one semester and not know whether they will teach the following one.
Lecturers are similar to tenure-track faculty in preparing and teaching courses; they hold office hours and many do research.
At the Dearborn and Flint campuses, LEO lecturers taught more than half of student credit hours, and a third were taught by lecturers in Ann Arbor between 2016 and 2017.
In that time, lecturers made $462 million in tuition revenue for University of Michigan, but only $85 million are spent on salaries and benefits for lecturers.
The minimum salaries of lecturers at UM-Dearborn is $28,300, $34,000 in Ann Arbor and $27,300 in Flint.
The bargaining will take place between lecturers and the administration on Feb. 9 will be the first bargaining day which the LEO organization calls “ALLIES” can be present to show support.
Alexander Elkins, a lecturer at UM-Ann Arbor, said he encourages as much students and family members of lecturers to come to bargaining day.
“We don’t think we’re going to win if it’s just us fighting alone against the administration,” Elkins said. “We think it’s necessary for students to demonstrate their discontempt with the treatment of lecturers to the administration.”
Elkins also said he thinks the tenure track is disappearing and that the university is losing by hiring people part time and “cycling people in and out.”
LEO wants the new contract to include are raising salary minimums, provide affordable healthcare coverage, inclusive teaching and community service funds, clarity about performance evaluations, and disability accommodations and year-long appointments.
LEO is hoping for a new contract by April and has been bargaining since October.