Author: Tony Floriani

19 Jul Bargaining Update #6: Administration Finally Responds…Sort Of

Bargaining - NO

A Minimal Response

In our last session, the United Faculty team invited and encouraged the Administration’s negotiators to return with counter proposals, which they have so far withheld. We feel that it is difficult to negotiate if the other side only ever demands more of our positions, without staking any of their own. After all, how can we close the gap between our two sides on a given article if they refuse to tell us where they stand?

Well, yesterday, the Admin team did finally respond to our request for counter proposals. To be fair, they had warned that doing so might draw the two sides further apart, but we encouraged them to respond anyway. Given that warning, it’s not surprising that Administration chose to offer only the status quo.

We Just Really Love the Language In This Contract

The Administration team chose to return to the table with a counter proposal on only one of the four articles under discussion at this time. The article in question, regarding Academic Freedom, was returned unchanged, aside from a minor language correction. Note that while we’ve TA’d a number of articles with such minimal changes, this rebuttal is different. The United Faculty had originally brought a proposal with what we view as substantial and important upgrades, to ensure a fair, consistent, and transparent process for academic freedom reviews.

The Administration team’s reasoning for doing the bare minimum? They told us, as they have said repeatedly from the start of negotiations, that they just really love the current contract, and don’t want to see anything change.

A Missed Opportunity

We on the United Faculty side of the table view this move as a missed opportunity on the part of the Administration’s negotiating team. They have already stated that they agree with several of our positions in principle, but rather than bring substantive counter positions and attempt to move toward consensus, they’ve chosen to simply say “no” to our proposal.

We hoped, and still hope, that we can meet with the Administration’s team and truly discuss and bargain over areas of mutual interest, but so far we aren’t exactly being met half-way. Unfortunately, this is not unprecedented. It is, in fact, a move right out of the standard management playbook: Give us nothing, and hope we’ll bargain against ourselves. (Check out #4 on Harvard’s list of Hard Bargaining Tactics)

Moving Forward

The Admin team has responded to the strictest, most minimal interpretation of our request for counter proposals on areas currently under discussion. Of course, it is still very early in the process, and we will continue to appeal to their desire for a fair and efficient process. To us, this means a give and take, and especially where there is no financial implication, a discussion of shared values. We value our university, and want it to be the best place it can be, for us to work, and for our students to learn.

Our next bargaining session is Wednesday, August 1st.

For the duration of the bargaining process, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

In Solidarity,

UIC United Faculty Bargaining Team

Aaron Krall [Co-Chair], Senior Lecturer, English | Kevin Whyte [Co-Chair], Professor, Math, Statistics and Computer Science | Kheir Al-Kodmany, Professor, Urban Planning and Policy | Xochitl Bada, Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies | Joaquin Chavez, Associate Professor, History | Jim Drown, Senior Lecturer, English | Chris Kanich, Assistant Professor, Computer Science | Paul Pieper, Associate Professor, Economics | Paul Preissner, Associate Professor, Architecture | Laurie Quinn, Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Science | Jeffrey Sklansky, Associate Professor, History | Charitianne Williams, Senior Lecturer, English | Milos Zefran, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

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12 Jul Bargaining Update #5: 3rd Session Progress

UICUF Bargaining Team Day 3Our Last “Easy” TA

In our 3rd meeting with the University’s bargaining team, we opened with another quick Tentative Agreement on Article XVII – Access to Personnel Files. This is the last of our language streamlining changes that simply bring the NTT and TT contracts into closer alignment without changing their substance.

What’s Still On The Table?

We currently have 4 substantive proposals on the table, all originating from the United Faculty side. These are some of our non-economic proposals, which is to say that they do not deal with salaries and benefits, or directly impose other costs on the University or the Union.

Fair, Transparent, Consistent

In this session, we began with a focus on Discipline and Dismissal, and Academic Freedom. It is our hope that we can use the bargaining process not to dictate discipline outcomes, or define academic freedom, but to refine the process through which these principles are applied and upheld. Specifically, we are aiming for greater fairness, transparency and consistency, so that a faculty member, or an administrator, can go into these situations with a very clear idea of the steps, rights, and responsibilities involved on all sides.

The University’s team, which includes individuals from system and campus administration, as well as some individual department heads, seemed to agree that there would be value in such clarity and guidance. Of course, agreement in principle is not the same as an agreement on paper, but the United Faculty team sees this as a first step toward defining processes that everyone finds reasonable.

Next Steps

We didn’t come to any further Tentative Agreements, and likely won’t see more TA’s without hashing out some details from what’s already on the table, but we did make progress. We’ve agreed to take the University team’s input and make revisions to some of our proposals, but also sincerely hope to see counter-proposals from the University next time we meet.

Our next bargaining session is next Tuesday, July 17th, from 2:00-5:00.

For the duration of the bargaining process, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!
WeHeartUIC - LogoIn Solidarity,

UIC United Faculty Bargaining Team

Aaron Krall [Co-Chair], Senior Lecturer, English | Kevin Whyte [Co-Chair], Professor, Math, Statistics and Computer Science | Kheir Al-Kodmany, Professor, Urban Planning and Policy | Xochitl Bada, Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies | Joaquin Chavez, Associate Professor, History | Jim Drown, Senior Lecturer, English | Chris Kanich, Assistant Professor, Computer Science | Paul Pieper, Associate Professor, Economics | Paul Preissner, Associate Professor, Architecture | Laurie Quinn, Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Science | Jeffrey Sklansky, Associate Professor, History | Charitianne Williams, Senior Lecturer, English | Milos Zefran, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

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05 Jul Happy 4th (and 5th) of July From a UNITED FACULTY

National_Labor_Relations_Act2

Another Reason to Celebrate

Happy 4th (and 5th) of July from UIC’s United Faculty!

Many of you will have been out celebrating Independence Day with your friends and family yesterday, enjoying a well deserved holiday. We also want to remind you that today, the 5th of July, marks the 83rd anniversary of the National Labor Relations Act, which gave workers the *legal* right to form unions, bargain and strike.

This didn’t just happen because the powers that be were feeling generous after their patriotic revelries that day. Workers across the nation, and the organizations representing their interests, fought hard in their workplaces, in the streets, and in the halls of power, to bring this bill to FDR’s desk, and have him sign it.

And Another Reason to Join

Last week, the US Supreme Court made another historic decision, this time, stripping unions of the right to collect a fair share of fees from all workers benefiting directly from the services and representation their unions provide.

This means that today, if you wish to have a strong union, a representative voice in contract negotiations, and a credible defender of your rights in the workplace, you have to make a proactive decision. While we don’t agree with the outcome of the Janus decision last week, we can all agree on this: with or without fair share fees, our union’s true strength is our willingness to stand together and ACT together for our shared interests.

Fortunately, a week out from what was meant to be an historic blow to unions across the nation, we can say that our union remains strong. We’ve just begun bargaining a new contract, and our office has, in fact, been overwhelmed with both new membership applications, and current members reaffirming their solidarity with their colleagues.

You can add your voice to this chorus of faculty saying “I’m sticking with my union” by becoming a member today. Eligible UIC faculty (both Tenure Track and Non Tenure Track), contact us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com to learn more and join our union!

As a reminder, our next bargaining session is next week, July 11th.

For the duration of the bargaining process, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

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28 Jun Bargaining Update #4: Early Tentative Agreements

Signed TA Articles 6-27-18

TA’s and Our Second Day at the Bargaining Table

We had another interesting day at the bargaining table Wednesday. We TA’ed some easy articles, discussed some of our previous proposals, and introduced two new article proposals.

For those who are unfamiliar with the negotiating process, or just need a refresher, “TA” in this context means Tentative Agreement (not Teaching Assistant!). It is a mechanism in the process wherein all parties agree to accept the article under discussion. Discussion on that article is then assumed to be closed, and generally can’t be reopened unless both parties agree. TA’ing articles usually means you’re making progress, but as one might expect, the first few are the easiest.

In this case, the University team came to the table ready to sign 3 articles for both Tenure Track and Non-Tenure Track contracts, which we proposed last week with no changes:

Article V – Diversity and Affirmative Action

Article XVI – Labor Management Meetings

Article XX – Electronic Availability of Agreement

They also agreed to sign 3 articles with minor language changes that don’t alter the substance of the contract, but were inserted to align the Tenure Track and Non-Tenure Track contracts more closely:

Article I – Purpose

Article XI – Governance

Article XXI – Savings Clause

Though we won’t necessarily be publishing changes in real time, you can view the current versions of these articles on our contract page. They aren’t the most exciting, but they are important nonetheless.

Reaching Tentative Agreements on these articles is a clear step in the right direction, if a small one. We discussed several other articles, including Non-Discrimination, which we proposed last week, and we brought two new proposals around Academic Freedom, and Discipline and Dismissal.

Fair and Efficient Negotiations

It may seem like we’re moving at lightning speed, but things will doubtless slow down from here as each side weighs proposals and counter-proposals. We continue to have every hope of completing this process efficiently and fairly, but we will not be rushing to the finish line at the cost of careful consideration of each proposal in turn. All-in-all, though, we are off to a good start!

Our next bargaining session is in two weeks, July 11th, from 2:00-5:00.

For the duration of the bargaining process, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!
WeHeartUIC - LogoIn Solidarity,

UIC United Faculty Bargaining Team

Aaron Krall [Co-Chair], Senior Lecturer, English | Kevin Whyte [Co-Chair], Professor, Math, Statistics and Computer Science | Kheir Al-Kodmany, Professor, Urban Planning and Policy | Xochitl Bada, Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies | Joaquin Chavez, Associate Professor, History | Jim Drown, Senior Lecturer, English | Chris Kanich, Assistant Professor, Computer Science | Paul Pieper, Associate Professor, Economics | Paul Preissner, Associate Professor, Architecture | Laurie Quinn, Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Science | Jeffrey Sklansky, Associate Professor, History | Charitianne Williams, Senior Lecturer, English | Milos Zefran, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

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21 Jun Bargaining Update #3: First Session Report

UICUF Bargaining Team - 1st Negotiation 5

Hitting the Ground Running

Yesterday we held our first negotiating meeting with the University Administration’s bargaining team. We came prepared to lay the groundwork for the negotiating process, and to move forward on a number of articles if opportunity allowed.

Beyond introductions, we were able to move quickly into those articles, introducing items we were prepared to reach Tentative Agreements (TA’s) on, without any changes. We also proposed amendments to align the language of our Tenure Track and Non-Tenure Track contracts, where those language differences do not appear to impact the substance or intent of the articles.

While there are certainly some differences between the two bargaining units, we negotiate as one faculty, and stand united as one union. We want to see this reality reflected in the language of our contracts wherever practical, and we hope the university will accept this in good faith, particularly where no other substantive changes are being proposed to the existing contract.

Non-Descrimination

Ultimately most of the proposals we brought contained no substantive changes, but we did ask for expanded inclusiveness in our non-discrimination articles. In the current national climate of heightened tension around a host of identity questions, we feel that making a statement that we will protect members of our community from discrimination is simply common sense. We believe the University should agree.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting with the University Administration’s team will be next Wednesday, June 27th, 2pm-5pm, in Student Center East, Room 713. We have expressed, and our counterparts on the University’s team seem to agree, that pursuing a negotiating process which is both fair and efficient is in everyone’s interest. We hope the University will come back to the table ready to have constructive discussions around the articles we’ve presented, and we look forward to reaching early agreements wherever possible.

For the duration of the bargaining process, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

In Solidarity,

UIC United Faculty Bargaining Team

Aaron Krall [Co-Chair], Senior Lecturer, English | Kevin Whyte [Co-Chair], Professor, Math, Statistics and Computer Science | Kheir Al-Kodmany, Professor, Urban Planning and Policy | Xochitl Bada, Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies | Joaquin Chavez, Associate Professor, History | Jim Drown, Senior Lecturer, English | Chris Kanich, Assistant Professor, Computer Science | Scott McFarland, Lecturer, English | Paul Pieper, Associate Professor, Economics | Paul Preissner, Associate Professor, Architecture | Laurie Quinn, Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Science | Jeffrey Sklansky, Associate Professor, History | Charitianne Williams, Senior Lecturer, English | Milos Zefran, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

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18 Jun Bargaining Update #2: Meet The Team

Meet Your Bargaining Team

Last week, we announced that negotiations on our 3rd contract will officially begin on Wednesday, 6/20/18. We will be holding a brief meet-and-greet on location, to support our bargaining team and show our union pride. Join us:

Wednesday, 6/20/18, 1:45-2pm
@Student Center East, Illinois Room C (third floor)

Come wearing your UIC T-shirts for a group photo, then we will hear a few words from our bargaining team before negotiations begin in earnest.

#ReadyToBargain

IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT you can still support your union online:

  1. Print the WeLoveUIC-logo
  2. Hold up the sign and take a selfie
  3. Post on twitter or facebook @UICUF #ReadyToBargain

 

As ever, the willingness of our members and our communities to be active observers and participants in this process are what we need in order to achieve the best outcomes possible. Therefore, for the duration of the bargaining process, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

In Solidarity,

UIC United Faculty Bargaining Team

Aaron Krall [Co-Chair], Senior Lecturer, English | Kevin Whyte [Co-Chair], Professor, Math, Statistics and Computer Science | Kheir Al-Kodmany, Professor, Urban Planning and Policy | Xochitl Bada, Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies | Joaquin Chavez, Associate Professor, History | Jim Drown, Senior Lecturer, English | Chris Kanich, Assistant Professor, Computer Science | Scott McFarland, Lecturer, English | Paul Pieper, Associate Professor, Economics | Paul Preissner, Associate Professor, Architecture | Laurie Quinn, Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Science | Jeffrey Sklansky, Associate Professor, History | Charitianne Williams, Senior Lecturer, English | Milos Zefran, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

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12 Jun Bargaining Update #1: First Session Scheduled, Follow for Updates

One month ago, on May 9th, UIC United Faculty presented UIC Administration with our demand to bargain over what will become our third contract since the union was founded in 2012. Last week, the university responded with proposed meeting times, and we have mutually agreed to several dates for our opening negotiating sessions. We can now announce that our first session will take place on Wednesday, June 20th, from 2pm-5pm. We will announce the location when confirmed.

While the bargaining process has just begun, the bargaining team has been meeting regularly since Fall of last year to prepare. We have spent that time surveying the membership on bargaining priorities, crafting contract proposals, and preparing for the challenges of meeting our administration at the negotiating table. We hope our efforts will facilitate an efficient and productive bargaining process. However, we are ready to stand our ground, if need be, to win the human capital our university needs to thrive, dignified salaries that allow members to reside in the Chicagoland communities that we serve, and shared governance processes that empower all faculty.   

As ever, the willingness of our members and our communities to be active observers and participants in this process are what we need in order to achieve the best outcomes possible. Therefore, for the duration of the bargaining process, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media, and consider supporting the bargaining team by attending a rally, 30 minutes prior to the first session. Details for the rally will be announced shortly. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

In Solidarity,

UIC United Faculty Bargaining Team

Aaron Krall [Co-Chair], Senior Lecturer, English | Kevin Whyte [Co-Chair], Professor, Math, Statistics and Computer Science | Kheir Al-Kodmany, Professor, Urban Planning and Policy | Xochitl Bada, Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies | Joaquin Chavez, Associate Professor, History | Jim Drown, Senior Lecturer, English | Chris Kanich, Assistant Professor, Computer Science | Scott McFarland, Lecturer, English | Paul Pieper, Associate Professor, Economics | Paul Preissner, Associate Professor, Architecture | Laurie Quinn, Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Science | Jeffrey Sklansky, Associate Professor, History | Charitianne Williams, Senior Lecturer, English | Milos Zefran, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

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09 May UIC United Faculty Union Announces Intent to Bargain New Contract

20180509_150124

Today, we, the United Faculty of the University of Illinois Chicago, formally announced our intention to bargain for a new contract. It is our hope that through negotiation, our union can make UIC an even better place to work and learn. In our negotiations this year, the United Faculty will seek to address:

 

  • Stagnant salaries amid rising costs of living in the Chicago area.
  • Changing demands on faculty pursuant to rapid enrollment growth at the University.
  • Shared governance principles that must form the backbone of decision-making at the University.

 

Faculty at UIC provide top quality education for students in the Chicago area, and perform research that deepens knowledge and improves lives the world over.  Yet despite raising salary minimums 40% since our first contract, we still have faculty who are paid well below the median income for our community. At the same time we are being asked to accept an ever expanding list of duties.

Therefore, we will pursue increasing salaries for our lowest paid faculty, as well as improved salary pools across the board. We will also work to keep faculty from bearing the burden of increasing healthcare costs, which politicians are callously trying to pass on to workers. The University has pleaded poverty for years amid stagnating salaries, while pointing to no-budget austerity measures as justification. Administration owes it to the entire UIC community to fight alongside our members for adequate funding that will address years of lost income growth among faculty, without laying the cost at our students’ feet. UIC faculty are proud to serve the communities of Chicago. We deserve the dignity of a professional income in our hometown.

Additionally, our University is projecting and planning for rapid growth over the coming years. As UIC fervently pursues its capital campaign to fuel this growth with new classrooms and dorms, it must also pursue a parallel human capital campaign to effectively handle the influx of new students. While non-tenure track faculty play a key role in realizing the goals of our university, a commitment to sustained student growth should be matched with a commitment to sustained growth in secure, tenure-line positions, which are critical to the operation of a top research university.

The United Faculty are also concerned with threats to shared governance. Statutes and bylaws are too often ignored. Meanwhile, discussion and advisement are not always required for critical issues facing faculty, like merit determinations or appropriate workloads. We intend to address disparities, and ensure that the spirit of shared governance is applied to important questions affecting all our faculty.

We hope that the University administration will join us in negotiating a timely and effective agreement. We will be keeping you informed throughout this process, and encourage our members to participate by attending and respectfully observing the negotiating process.

In Solidarity,

UIC United Faculty Bargaining Committee

Kheir Al-Kodmany, Xochitl Bada Garcia, Joaquin Chavez, Jim Drown, Chris Kanich, Aaron Krall, Paul Pieper, Paul Preissner, Lauretta Quinn, Jeff Sklansky, Janet Smith, Vit Vanicek, Kevin Whyte, Charitianne Williams, Milos Zefran

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