The University of Michigan filed a petition July 1 for fact finding with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission to help reach agreement in contract negotiations with the union that represents lecturers on all three campuses.
In the fact-finding process, a neutral third party makes recommendations to resolve open issues in negotiations. Either party may petition for fact finding if bargaining and mediation have failed to result in a final agreement.
Fact finding is the final impasse resolution procedure available to public sector employees. It is illegal for public employees in Michigan to go on strike.
U-M and LEO, a unit of the American Federation of Teachers, have been engaged in negotiating a new contract since Jan. 15.
Over the course of 26 formal sessions, the parties have made progress on a number of significant issues, reaching 17 tentative agreements to date. However, they have not been able to agree on key economic issues and several non-economic issues. These include salary and compliance with the university’s felony disclosure policy (SPG 601.38).
The university previously requested assistance from a state-appointed mediator in April. There was hope that negotiations on a new contract would conclude then.
The university hopes to reach an agreement to ensure a smooth start to classes in the fall term. A limited number of additional bargaining sessions are scheduled in July, based on the availability of the LEO bargaining team. The university remains open to bargaining during the fact-finding process.
LEO represents approximately 1,650 full and part-time university lecturers on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses. The current LEO contract is a three-year agreement that took effect July 13, 2018, and remains in place.