On July 18, the Librarians, Archivists and Curators (LACs) of the three University of Michigan campuses were officially recognized as a bargaining unit within the Organization of Lecturers, the union of non-tenured professors on the three campuses of the University. The LEO communication committee wrote that this new unit will be called LEO-GLAM, which stands for galleries, libraries, archives and museums, in order to reflect the heritage and the environments in which most BACs work.
In a public statement, LEO Vice President Kristen Herold wrote that the union was delighted to welcome CALs.
âWe are all non-tenured professors at the University, and we have all fought tirelessly for dignity and respect in our workplaces,â Herold wrote. âThere is power in a union and we are eager to build that power together. “
Last summer, the Board of Regents at UM vote assert organizational neutrality Politics this facilitated the process of recognizing a new union. Meredith Kahn, Librarian for Gender and Sexuality Studies and spokesperson for LEO-GLAM, said the process of forming this new bargaining unit for ILCs began shortly after the adoption of this resolution. Kahn said the LACs decided to join LEO rather than forming their own union because of commonalities with other non-tenured professors.
âWe found that we shared a lot with our fellow non-tenured professors,â Kahn said. “We are a union that will have two contracts.”
Colleen Marquis, the only archivist on the UM-Flint campus, noted during remarks at the first LEO-GLAM meeting that the formation of the new unit will help the Flint and Dearborn campuses receive equal recognition and support.
âThe administration claims to focus and support diversity while allowing its two most diverse campuses to wither through neglect,â said Marquis.
Marquis said they hope the conditions of their own working environment will be addressed as part of future negotiation efforts.
“We recently here at Flint had a library consultation and they told us that the students’ impression is that the university doesn’t care about the library because the furniture is old and shabby, and we all have” ‘Looks really overworked, “” said Marquis.
Kahn said LEO-GLAM’s long-term goals will be informed by members’ experiences and collective needs. Marquis explained that they want to bring hard data and the human side of the issues to the negotiating table.
âWe have already sent out the quantitative questionnaires which had a huge response, we are so happy to see so many people engaged,â said Marquis. âWe’re working with the bargaining committee to do qualitative questionnaires and it’s going to be more organizing conversations to get stories that represent these issues. “
Kahn said that LEO-GLAM training will not only positively affect LACs, but all students, faculty and staff.
âOur working conditions are the learning conditions for our students,â Kahn said. âWe help create, maintain, catalog, describe, preserve and provide access to materials often used in education and which often form the basis of scholarship. “
Another recent development in local unions has taken place with the United Physicians Assistants of Michigan Medicine (UPAMM), who negotiated their first contract with the hospital administration last May. Kahn said that since the regents’ resolution was passed last year, she expects more groups of individuals to come together and stand up for their working conditions.
âWe’re joining a working class family if you will, with our sister union GEO and with other unions on campus,â Kahn said.
Marquis said the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic allowed the LACs on the three campuses to forge stronger relationships, which ended up being the key to the formation of LEO-GLAM.
âI think when COVID happened and the University started taking austerity measures, librarians, archivists and curators looked around Ann Arbor and realized wow, no one is backing us apart from us “said Marquis. âThey started to think about their colleagues on other campuses and how they could help them. ”
Journalist for the daily Scarlett Bickerton can be contacted at [email protected]