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We look at the situation of nontenure-track faculty where we teach, the University of Michigan. We explain why the university’s approximately 1,500 nontenure-track faculty formed a union, the Lecturers’ Employee Organization (LEO), MFT&SRP/AFT, AFL-CIO, and briefly outline what we achieved in our first collective agreement, ratified in June 2004. We argue, first, that the conditions under which nontenure-track faculty typically work are problematic-not only for those who do the work, but for the university and society-and, second, that the best way to respond to these problems is to organize inclusive, democratic unions.
U-M Lecturers Jennet Kirkpatrick and Ian Robinson write extensively on the organizing of lecturers at U-M in the latest issue of Dissent magazine.
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