Lecturers part of the Lecturers’ Employee Organization (LEO) at UM-Dearborn bargained with the University of Michigan administration on Friday for the initiation of a new contract.
The bargain was initially scheduled on Feb. 9, but was cancelled due to a snow day. It is the first of three bargaining days to fight for higher salaries and improved services that lecturers have been asking for since October 2017.
Bonnie Halloran, an anthropology lecturer, said the compensation to her work does not meet the quality of work she delivers.
“No student is going to college expecting to earn wages like that,” she said about the $28,300 current full-time work lecturer salary at UM-Dearborn. “This a problem for me. We just need to be paid comparably for the services that we provide for students on this campus.”
There was a strong turnout of lecturers, allies, including students, and faculty members on Friday.
The lecturers’ team presented a counterproposal to the administration’s package. The package includes proposals about appointments, layoffs and reviews.
The administration decided not to talk about benefits until there is more clarity about what is going to happen about salary.
Lecturers at UM-Dearborn perform the same services as tenure/track faculty, including doing research and holding office hours, but get paid a fraction of what they do. They have a one-term contract, making it often unlikely to teach two consecutive semesters.
Between 2016 and 2017, only $85 million went to salaries and benefits for lecturers out of the $462 million they made in tuition revenue for the University of Michigan.
Eric Marshall, a lecturer in journalism and screen studies, said he thinks lecturers are not getting paid what they are worth and not respected the way they should be “based on the incredible amount of expertise, education and background that most of us have and the amount of effort we put in to help our students.”
However, Marshall said he has high hopes for a successful bargaining with the administration.
“I think that we have a very mobilized membership,” he said. “I think that we’re prepared to do what it takes to get a fair salary and I do think that the administration will see that we’re valuable to this community and we’re worth more.”
The process is likely to continue until April, according the Teia McGahey, a union organizer for LEO.