President Schlissel, Open the Books to U-M Employees

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel

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Huron Valley Area Labor Federation (HVALF), AFL-CIO recognizes the tremendous challenges that U-M faces: the hospital and all of Michigan Medicine are under financial stress due to the pandemic, and there is great uncertainty concerning when students can return safely to U-M’s campuses.  

In times of crisis, we can decide to come together to understand the crisis and devise the best responses to it, or we can let the crisis divide and fragment us. We believe that a cooperative approach will yield much better outcomes than top-down unilateralism.

Cooperation requires common understanding and trust. All stakeholders must understand the scale and nature of the problems that we are trying to solve, what has been done so far, and what assumptions are being made about the future. Opening the books means providing details about:

  1. Which units are losing money at what rate, and what share of those losses the units themselves are expected to absorb and what share will be paid by the wider university;

  2. What COVID-related federal and state money has been received (or is promised) and how it has been (or will be) spent;

  3. What share of the endowment can be used to help offset losses not offset by federal and state transfers;

  4. What assumptions about the future are being made, on what basis;

  5. What sacrifices each UM stakeholder has already made or will be making, to address the shortfall identified in current estimates.

We, the undersigned, call upon President Schlissel to direct appropriate UM Administration staff to (a) share the above information with union and other representatives of U-M employees, by Tuesday, May 19th; and (b) meet with those representatives within one week of that date to answer their questions about the material supplied.

(Are you a U of M employee? What kind of work do you do? Have you been classified as an “essential” worker? Do you have a story you want to share? Please tell us in the "Comments" section when adding your name!)

To: University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel
From: [Your Name]

Huron Valley Area Labor Federation (HVALF), AFL-CIO recognizes the tremendous challenges that U-M faces: the hospital and all of Michigan Medicine are under financial stress due to the pandemic, and there is great uncertainty concerning when students can return safely to U-M’s campuses.

In times of crisis, we can decide to come together to understand the crisis and devise the best responses to it, or we can let the crisis divide and fragment us. We believe that a cooperative approach will yield much better outcomes than top-down unilateralism.

Cooperation requires common understanding and trust. All stakeholders must understand the scale and nature of the problems that we are trying to solve, what has been done so far, and what assumptions are being made about the future. Opening the books means providing details about:

Which units are losing money at what rate, and what share of those losses the units themselves are expected to absorb and what share will be paid by the wider university;

What COVID-related federal and state money has been received (or is promised) and how it has been (or will be) spent;

What share of the endowment can be used to help offset losses not offset by federal and state transfers;

What assumptions about the future are being made, on what basis;

What sacrifices each UM stakeholder has already made or will be making, to address the shortfall identified in current estimates.

We, the undersigned, call upon President Schlissel to direct appropriate UM Administration staff to (a) share the above information with union and other representatives of U-M employees, by Tuesday, May 19th; and (b) meet with those representatives within one week of that date to answer their questions about the material supplied.