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#RespectTheLecs: Demand a Fair Contract for UM Lecturers

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As students, alumni, workers, and members of the broader University of Michigan community, we are outraged by the exploitation of UM Lecturers by the University administration. We have all been promised many things by this administration-- a high quality education, a diverse and equitable campus, a University we can be proud of. We have seen the administration fall short on these promises over and over again. They have invited Nazis to our campus, brazenly ignored marginalized students’ protests about the unsafe conditions they face here every day, failed to provide adequate and equitable healthcare, and most recently, offered our lecturers a salary that falls $10,000 short of the annual living wage of families with children here in Washtenaw County. The disenfranchisement of Lecturers is exacerbated when they are forced to contend with the already high and increasing living costs of Ann Arbor. It must also be acknowledged that existing is more expensive as a woman, a person of color, a queer or trans identified individual, or a disabled person. And many face the additional burdens of systemic oppression through the intersection of these identities. Low wages are anti-DEI when they serve to propagate these oppressions.

In the 2016-2017 academic year, Lecturers brought in $462 million in total tuition revenue for the University. Yet, those same Lecturers only received a collective $85 million for salaries and benefits for themselves and their dependents. It is evident that our tuition dollars do not need to be raised in order to help pay Lecturers. UM needs to allocate more of their $11 billion endowment to the Lecturers who  generate it through their work as educators. Lecturers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions. As alumni and potential donors we will remember the way the administration values its educators in this contract. It is unacceptable for our university to oppress our educators by creating artificial precarity.

As the LEO union continues bargaining with administration, lecturers demand a fair wage and benefits. We demand the University respect our Lecturers, and we ask for you to stand with us. Our community is strong, and through our intersecting fights, we have built an expansive network of individuals fighting for justice. As members of the UM community we fully support the Lecturers, and we invite you to stand with us. Sign this petition, and attend the grade in, followed by the Regents meeting, on Thursday February 15 at 3:30PM to show solidarity with our Lecturers.

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Statement written by Vidhya Aravind, Neala Berkowski, Kelly Garland, and Hoai An Pham

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