“It’s very exciting. It’s been a long haul,” says LEO president Bonnie Halloran, U-M-Dearborn adjunct lecturer of behavioral sciences. “In general we feel it was a good contract and a good process.”
While a number of issues were resolved earlier, the sides reached agreement on matters concerning economics and job stability during the past two months. The most recent round of talks dealt with 18 issues, but primarily with implementation, which involved defining a new structure for the appointment of lecturers, says Assistant Provost Jeffery Frumkin.
In addition to wanting improved salaries and benefits, the union wanted a systematized method for categorizing non-tenure-track faculty, and for performance reviews and promotion, Frumkin says.
“The University had an interest in looking at these appointments in a more systematic way as well but needed to maintain a level of flexibility that would allow responses to programmatic needs and budget,” he says. “A large amount of work goes into mapping people from their current places into new positions.”
The agreement designates lecturers I or II as instructors hired to teach a specific course or courses. They may be full- or part-time, but most often are part-time. Lecturers III and IV are hired to teach a broader range of courses and may have administrative or service responsibilities within their department. They may be full- or part-time, but are more likely to be full-time. Adjunct lecturers are defined as those who hold regular, full-time employment with the University and also are hired to teach one or more courses at the University. Other key issues resolved include:
Job stability: Lecturers I or II will be hired per term for the first three years, then after a successful performance review they will be hired on an annual basis. Lecturer Is will be considered for promotion to lecturer II after the first review. After six years and two successful reviews, they will receive three-year contracts.
Those designated lecturers III and IV will receive a series of one-year appointments for the first four years, at which point they will undergo a major review. If successful they would be appointed for a three- to five-year contract with another review at the end of that period. Lecturer IIIs would be considered for promotion to lecturer IV after the first review.
Lecturers will have a “presumption of reappointment” after the first review period, provided they have successful performance that meets the standards for excellence as prescribed by their departmental evaluation criteria, and provided the enrollment demand for the course(s) still is strong and the budget resources are available to support them.
The appointment process for adjunct lecturers or professors will be addressed separately through a memorandum of understanding.
Salaries: Minimum full-time salaries have been set for the three campuses as follows: for lecturers I and II, Ann Arbor—$31,000, Dearborn—$25,000 and Flint—$23,000; lecturers III and IV, Ann Arbor—$34,000, Dearborn—$30,000 and Flint—$29,000.
Minimums for lecturers I and II will increase in 2006-07 to $25,500 in Dearborn and $23,500 in Flint. Both the University and the LEO recognize that many individuals are, and will continue to be, paid well above the minimums because of market demand and other factors.
Individual instructors will receive an annual salary increase equal to the average faculty increase in the arts and sciences college of each campus. Lecturers also will be eligible for additional promotional salary increases after each successful performance review. For lecturers I and II this will be a 5 percent increase at the beginning of the fourth year and a 7 percent increase at the beginning of the seventh year. For lecturers III and IV, this will be a 7 percent increase at the beginning of the fifth year and another 7 percent after the second major review.
Benefits: LEO members appointed at half-time or greater will continue to receive University benefits, including medical insurance for them and their dependents. The union agreed to the University’s health insurance premium-sharing structure with the provision that any substantial changes to the proportion of health insurance premiums paid by the University will be reviewed before implementation, and the union will be able to provide comment on the proposed changes.
The University agreed to bridge benefits during the summer for those returning instructors appointed at half-time or greater in both the fall and winter terms.
Implementation: The three-year contract is effective upon ratification, with provisions for later start dates concerning salaries and the appointment process. The benefits bridge will begin in summer 2004. Implementation of the new appointment process and title structure will be delayed until September 2005 to allow time to fold existing instructors into the new structure.
Letters from the union council and bargaining team members, strongly encouraging ratification, were sent May 26 to LEO members, Halloran says.
“I cannot speak for what the membership is going to do, but we had a meeting May 24 and participants were overwhelmingly in support of the economic issues,” she says. “If that’s any indication, I think the vote will be successful.”
Dan Gamble, associate director of academic human resources, says in the 28 years he has been a part of such negotiations, the sides in this case settled some “very serious and emotional issues” with great respect for their differences.
“I think this was extremely professional and absolutely the most polite session,” he says of the negotiations that began in August.