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The lecturers of the University of Michigan are on strike for now

The nearly 1,700 members of the University of Michigan lecturers union will attend class tomorrow morning as usual and will not go on strike.

The union had threatened to leave work on Monday and Tuesday without a new contract, but union officials said that sufficient progress was made in the talks to keep their members at work. The current contract with the University of Michigan expires on April 20.

"We are beginning to move forward at the negotiating table, thanks to the overwhelming support of LEO members, students, career teachers, university regents and other allies," said LEO president, Ian Robinson, lecturer in the department of sociology, it's a statement. "We have not yet achieved our objective of a fair and reasonable solution that recognizes the contribution of teachers to the university and our students." Thanks to the widespread support and solidarity, we feel empowered to continue negotiating the next days and weeks for the contract. outstanding that we all deserve. "

There are nearly 1,700 faculty – faculty from independent disciplines on the campuses of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint. They are represented by the Organization of Teachers' Employees, AFT-MI Local 6244, AFL-CIO.

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The administration of UM has said it is not necessary for the union to call a strike, and if the teachers withdraw, they will be harming the students just after the end of the school year.

"The university remains committed to negotiating in good faith and we are hopeful that an agreement will be reached before the current contract ends on April 20," the university said in a statement last week. "An interruption or labor strike by LEO members has its greatest negative impact on students at a critical time near the end of the academic year."

The administration said a strike would violate the terms of the current contract, which has a no-strike clause.

"The state law also prohibits labor strikes of public employees," said the administration's statement.

Voting to implement a strike – previously authorized by 80% of the voting members by electronic voting: was held during the meetings of LEO members last week. Teachers from all three campuses voted unanimously to proceed with a strike unless there is substantial progress in wage demands and other bargaining issues.

The minimum starting salary for a teacher is $ 27,300 at UM Flint, $ 28,300 at UM Dearborn, and $ 34,500 at UM Ann Arbor, a salary scale that is lower than community colleges and nearby public schools, the union said. a statement. The LEO negotiating team has proposed a minimum salary of $ 60,000 for UM Ann Arbor and equivalent salary increases at other campuses.

Teachers teach more than half of credit hours at the Flint and Dearborn campuses, and a third of credit hours at Ann Arbor.

At the Board of Regents meeting last month, regents Mark Bernstein, D-Ann Arbor, and Andrea Fischer Newman, R-Ann Arbor, publicly expressed their support for the speakers.

"It's time to invest in our teachers with the same enthusiasm we apply to other important priorities," Bernstein said.

Contact David Jesse: 313-222-8851 or djesse@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter: @reporterdavidj

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