Author: Tony Floriani

20 Sep Elections Edition: Take Action, Get Registered, Vote!

Protest Austerity 2016small

When Educators Act, Communities Win

For a long time now, public education, and the workers who serve the public as teachers, faculty, counselors, etc. have been under political siege. We have been subject to stalled or slashed budgets, cuts to programs, personnel, and basic classroom resources, and have steadily been in the crosshairs of privatization advocates who want to run schools as (profitable) businesses. Yet it has become an all too mainstream narrative that it’s the educators serving our students who are selfish, lazy, and getting rich by draining the public coffers.

In many states, however, where the worst effects of this corrosive narrative have been felt, educators are fighting back, not just in their schools and universities, but at the ballot box, and in the halls of power. As UICUF union member Elizabeth Todd-Breland wrote in the Washington Post recently, “educators are protesting not just for better pay, but also for increased funding for public education to benefit students and communities.”

The recent wave of teacher uprisings have won substantial gains for public education as a whole, using many time-honored tools from the community organizing playbook, including public advocacy, work stoppages, and electoral activism. We’ve also seen an unprecedented wave of educators signing up as political candidates across the country. Educators and communities are fed up, and increasingly fighting to shift the political momentum toward supporting public education instead of degrading and defunding it. We need you to join us in that fight!

 

We Need 90%

Given the significant impact that politics can have on public education, we want to remind everyone that national elections are right around the corner, and voter registration deadlines are coming even sooner.

Union member, Professor of Political Science, and former public servant, Dick Simpson, strongly urges his colleagues to participate in the election process. “The 2018 election is too important to sit out. We need 90% registration and 90% of us UICUF voting. To make it easy, your can register to vote electronically in Illinois and we have an early voting site on campus for three days before Election Day November 6.”

There are also a number of opportunities to register in person on campus. Next week, the Civic Engagement Committee of  UIC will be hosting National Voter Registration Day events in the quad. You can show up any time from 11-1pm, Tuesday, Sept. 25th. Come make sure you’re registered and ready to vote, in what promises to be a pivotal election for higher education issues in the state of Illinois, and the nation. If you haven’t gotten around to registering, or updating your registration with your current address, now is the time!   

 

Your Committee On Political Education

We also want to remind all of our members that UIC United Faculty has started an independent political fund to support candidates that support public higher education. Union dues never go toward funding political campaigns, but we clearly have a critical interest in supporting candidates who value public education.

Even small contributions help, and faculty members working to educate the public on political issues goes a long way toward promoting a vision of higher education of which we can all be proud. If you want to become a contributor to our newly formed Committee On Political Education (COPE) fund, or want to get involved with the committee’s work, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

* * *

Our next contract bargaining session is September 27th. We are asking all our members to wear their UICUF T-shirts and pins that day to show solidarity and support for our bargaining team at the table. If you are a member and need a T-shirt, pin, or other UICUF materials, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

 

Until we win a fair contract, 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!

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13 Sep Not For Sale

not-for-sale

Labor Relations: By the Book
UICUF and Administration teams met again September 12th to continue negotiating our next contract. Right away, we learned that this session was going to largely be an exercise in rejection. The Labor Relations Lead continues to follow the typical management playbook: offer nothing and hope the union will negotiate against itself, trading money for values.

We won’t.


But We Fixed It
The administration team responded substantively to three proposals currently on the table. Hours of Work (i.e., teaching loads), for which we proposed a system of shared governance-led accountability, was returned with agreement only that faculty should be notified when teaching loads change. We’ve already seen this scenario play out, however, with administrators arbitrarily changing workload policies, sparking crises for their departments. Administration claims that these scenarios don’t need to be in the contract because, when the union called them out, they made minor concessions. Just because you say your sorry, doesn’t mean it won’t happen again.


Just Leave That To Us
Next up, Administration all but rejected an expansion of grievance procedures that would have made violations of the U of I statutes grievable. Our contract frequently references the Statutes, and the Administration team frequently says they would prefer to simply rely on the Statutes in place of our contract. They say that there is no need for contractual protections because they rarely see problems related to enforcement of the Statutes. UICUF has found that in reality, the Administration cherrypicks which statutes to enforce, and that the mechanisms of enforcement are opaque and in some case deeply flawed. A grievance procedure to contractually enforce the statutes seems at this point to be the only way to keep them accountable to their own rules. 


We’re Already Aware of That
Lastly, the Administration team outright rejected our request for a side letter outlining a process for reviewing campus safety. We asked for this in relation to expanded night classes in the new scheduling grid. They did, however, point to actions they’ve been taking while negotiations have been ongoing, like adding lighting and security personnel.

In an email sent on Sept. 6th, Vice Chancellor Coronado outlined improvements to campus safety. UICUF’s bargaining survey this winter indicated that 1 in 7 faculty feel unsafe on campus, specifically at night, but given the improvements being made, UICUF and the Administration want to hear from you: do you feel safer on campus at night? Email UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com, or go to Provost Poser’s open office hours, Tuesday, September 18 from 2:00-3:00 p.m., 2550 UH if you have lingering concerns.


UIC United Faculty: Values Are Not For Sale
In this session, we offered our last non-economic article, on Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure. Though this article is tightly intertwined with economic proposals regarding salaries, we offered it, at Administration’s specific request, as a show of good faith. They claim this is a minimum needed for them to consider what is already on the table, and we expect serious consideration of those articles moving forward.

To this point, we have presented only non-economic articles for discussion. We’ve chosen this path to keep an emphasis on articles that express our values, and impact our members’ quality of life. Administration has steadily quarreled with this approach, claiming they can’t make any significant decisions without seeing the money.

We disagree. We’ve held back money proposals precisely because we don’t believe our values are related to our salaries. We do not believe pay increases, which have fallen flat against inflation for years, should be held hostage, leveraged to force us away from positions on equity, transparency, and accountability.

When it all boils down, a union contract is NOT just a litany of economic exchanges. It represents our values, and our values are not for sale. 

* * *

Our next contract bargaining session has not yet been scheduled, but in the interim, we will continue to post weekly articles on topics of critical interest to our membership.

Until we win a fair contract, 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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06 Sep UICUF Endorses National Prison Strike

prison-strike-cervantes-square

Jailhouse Lawyers Speak
Millions for Prisoners Human Rights
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee of the IWW (IWOC)
and all incarcerated people

Re: In solidarity with the National Prison Strike

In recognition of our shared interests in fair compensation for our labor and access to education, among other concerns, the faculty union of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), UIC United Faculty Local 6456, offers this letter of solidarity to all incarcerated peoples participating in the 2018 National Prison Strike and the supporting organizations of Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, Millions for Prisoners Human Rights, IWOC, and others.

UIC United Faculty is committed to:

  • Realizing the mission of the University of Illinois at Chicago as a public research university in a democratic society;
  • Making sure that every member of the faculty has an individual voice and that the faculty as a whole has a collective voice in determining our future;
  • Making the promise of shared governance a reality by backing it with the power of collective bargaining;
  • Keeping the principles of academic freedom, free speech and free inquiry central both to our union and our university.

 

In alignment with our mission and that of our land grant university, UIC United Faculty believes that access to public education is central to social justice, and we stand in support with those striking for their right to education. Further, we fully support the demands of the strikers and the work of the organizing bodies of the Prison Strike, and stand in solidarity with incarcerated people everywhere as they seek to gain fair wages for their labor. We reject any policies which deny people their basic human rights, and believe everyone has the right to demand equitable treatment.

Standing firmly on the side of justice, UIC United Faculty is proud to endorse the National Prison Strike, and pledge our support.

In solidarity,

UIC United Faculty Local 6456

 

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06 Sep Summer ’18 Bargaining Roundup

What’s Happened So Far

A new school year may have just begun, but UIC United Faculty has been hard at work this summer negotiating a new contract with University Administration. For those just now tuning in, we wanted to offer a quick review of what’s gone on so far.

There have been 6 negotiating sessions since we submitted a demand to bargain in May.  Below are links to all of our bargaining related articles, with abstracts for those who want to catch up, but don’t have a lot of time!


UIC United Faculty Union Announces Intent to Bargain New Contract – 5/9/18
UICUF presented University Administration with our demand to bargain a new contract. We set goals of addressing

  • 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.


Bargaining Update #1: First Session Scheduled, Follow for Updates – 6/12/18
University Administration agrees to meet with us, and initial bargaining dates are scheduled.

Bargaining Update #2: Meet The Team – 6/18/18
UIC UF sets up social media and invites members to meet the bargaining team for the first time.

Bargaining Update #3: First Session Report – 6/21/18
UICUF and University Administration negotiating teams meet for the first time. Beyond introduction, we introduced:

  • Articles ready to sign with no changes
  • Articles altered solely to bring TT and NTT contract language closer together
  • Common-sense updates to our nondiscrimination language.


Bargaining Update #4: Early Tentative Agreements – 6/28/18
UICUF and University Administration teams signed tentative agreements (final, subject to ratification) on 6 articles with no changes, or non-substantive language changes. UICUF Introduces articles on Academic Freedom and Discipline & Dismissal.

Bargaining Update #5: 3rd Session Progress – 7/12/18
We signed agreements on one more set of articles with minor changes, and dug into more challenging issues of Academic Freedom and Discipline & Dismissal. UICUF agreed, after substantial discussion with local UIC administrators at the table, to rework the D&D articles with their comments in mind. We encouraged the Admin team to respond to some of our proposals directly at the next session.

Bargaining Update #6: Administration Finally Responds…Sort Of – 7/19/18
UICUF offered a revised Discipline & Dismissal proposal at the Administration Team’s prompting. The Admin Team, lead by U of I Labor Relations, answered our call for counter proposals by returning our Academic Freedom articles without acknowledging any of our proposed changes.  

Bargaining Update #7: The Football Gag – 8/3/18
The Admin Team responded to our revised Discipline & Dismissal articles by wiping out all of the changes we’d made at their own request, and presenting a counter proposal barely changed from the current contract. They proposed one original change from their side: that non-renewals be classified as non-disciplinary in all cases, and therefore not subject to grievances. UICUF presented articles to improve transparency and accountability of campus safety effort related to the new scheduling grid.

Bargaining Update #8: Defining Workload, Holding the Line on Due Process – 8/24/18
UICUF rejected Administration’s counter on Discipline & Dismissal as an effort to erode the accountability of discipline rather than strengthen it. We moved forward with presenting articles creating shared governance-based accountability for workload definitions, and transparency on the use of SIT Scores.

* * *

Our next contract bargaining session is Wednesday, September 12th. Until we get a fair contract, we will continue to post weekly articles on topics of critical interest to our membership.

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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30 Aug Union Greets New Faculty Amidst Salary Freeze by U of I System

Frozen Salaries

UICUF Offers Warm Welcome Back to Faculty and Students

Last week, UIC United Faculty greeted the newest members of our academic community. Our President, Janet Smith, spoke to new faculty at the campus orientation event about the history and ongoing importance of the union, and members from every college were present to personally welcome our new colleagues to the university. Meanwhile, at the annual Comp Camp for faculty teaching first year writing and composition, new faculty were eager to engage with our members about the work of the union. Between the two events, 25 new faculty became members on the spot!

To continue the warm welcome, there will be a Back-to-School Picnic for UICUF members and their families this coming Sunday, 9/2. We will usher in the new school year with a fun-and-sun event, and hope our new colleagues can join us!

And we haven’t forgotten the other new faces at the university. UICUF will be offering students free ice cream at the Student Involvement Fair in the East Campus Quad, along with info on the unions work, and how it affects their education. Our working environment is their learning environment. We strongly encourage UICUF members to come meet students at this fun event next Wednesday, 9/5.

 

University of Illinois System Greets Faculty With Frozen Salaries

In contrast to the hand of friendship extended by the union to faculty as we begin the new semester, Labor Relations has chosen to freeze faculty out of this year’s campus wage program. They erroneously claim that they can’t give us our merit raises during contract bargaining, referencing labor law meant to protect the sanctity of those negotiations.

What they don’t say is that it’s acceptable and common practice for groups engaged in contract negotiations to waive these “status quo” rules at times for the benefit of the employees. This is allowed, to ensure that employers can’t leverage the withholding of customary or universal perks, like yearly raises or bonuses, against organized employees negotiating a contract.

UICUF has met directly with Labor Relations representatives no less than 6 times this summer, yet not once was it mentioned that the university planned to hold back distributions of merit raises to its faculty. The fact that this was not discussed with the union directly, despite ample opportunity, tells us all we need to know: withholding our earned merit increases is a strategy to build leverage against the union in negotiations.

We fully anticipate that they will come back with this already insufficient 2% raise offer at the bargaining table later, hoping that our membership will be frustrated enough to just accept it. We will not, however, let this gross manipulation of status quo rules deter us for fighting to get the raises our members truly deserve.

 

Beyond Campus Wage: The Real Story Behind Stagnant Wages at UIC

Looking beyond intention, to the ultimate substance of the salary program, the 2% salary program offered by President Killeen for 2018-2019 is an insult. It is in no way connected to the financial reality of living in Chicago, and is below the nearly 3% annual inflation expected this year. But this is not news for most faculty at UIC. Historically, this program has lagged behind inflation, and certainly below the expectations of what experienced professionals should be earning in an expensive urban area like Chicago. And it surely does not help faculty catch up after two years of flat wages from politically frozen budgets. Plain and simple Faculty at UIC deserve more!  

This all comes in the shadow of a half-billion dollar budget deal struck with Gov. Rauner to help build a highly questionable new campus in the Loop. Of course, just a few months ago, Rauner seemed to forget that the University of Illinois system already has a campus in Chicago (Audio clip at 3:45).

When you look at the whole picture, it’s easy to see that Rauner, his appointees on the U of I board, and their representatives in Labor Relations don’t really care about UIC (when they remember we exist). That is why UICUF will be fighting for an investment in human capital this year, an investment that will ensure the recruitment and retention of the top-notch educators and researchers that our students and Chicagoans deserve.

* * *

Our next contract bargaining session is Wednesday, September 12th. In the interim, we will continue to post weekly articles on topics of critical interest to our membership.

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!

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24 Aug Bargaining Update #8: Defining Workload, Holding the Line on Due Process

Class - Nursing          Class - Lecture          140_20151027

Defining Workloads

This bargaining session, the UIC United Faculty team presented a new article on workload. It is UIC United Faculty’s position that faculty need a voice in workload decisions, specifically through existing shared governance processes. The union has registered a number of complaints about dramatic shifts or inconsistent accounting of workloads, often imposed unilaterally by administrators with little or no faculty input. We do not feel that such coercive, top-down practices are appropriate for determining the working conditions of dedicated professionals. 

While imposing a one-size-fits-all solution on every department would be equally inappropriate, we do feel that existing shared governance structures can and should be engaged. Shared governance is one of the most important principles in academia, and UICUF believes that giving an engaged, empowered faculty a voice in how workloads are defined is the most practical way to address each unique department’s needs.  

 

Reining in SIT Scores

We also sought to discuss other articles, but no specific movement could be found on anything currently on the table. The UIC Administration team rejected any notion of contractually addressing the use of student evaluations of faculty, often referred to as SIT Scores. While the faculty senate has tentatively accepted the use of these evaluations, they offer a stern warning against their consideration absent other methods:

“It is important that all participating faculty and students are aware that a growing body of research exists to suggest that student evaluations of teaching may be biased in terms of specific faculty populations, such as women and individuals of minority status. For this reason, the data from student evaluations of teaching are not to be used in isolation from other recommended approaches to the evaluation of teaching effectiveness…”

An over reliance on, and potentially improper use of these notoriously flawed scores in evaluating faculty has been a major, ongoing concern for our members. While the University Administration clearly doesn’t want to even discuss the use of SIT Scores in faculty evaluations, or the publishing of such scores, we intend to continue advocating for common sense guidelines, and further study of the issue in general.

 

Holding the Line on Due Process

Our team, meanwhile, was forced to reject proposals from management that would simply enshrine an unsatisfactory status quo regarding academic freedom protections and discipline and dismissal procedures. Having seen the opaque and often subjective way that the university handles faculty discipline, UIC United Faculty simply cannot accept that less is more when it comes to due process protections for our members.  

Overall, UIC United Faculty is disappointed in the University Administration team’s unwillingness to discuss these concerns in earnest. We will, however, be returning to the table next time with the hope that further progress can be made, and that Labor Relations will not categorically stifle discourse on issues that matter to our members.

* * *

Our next contract bargaining session is Wednesday, September 12th. In the interim, we will continue to post weekly articles on topics of critical interest to our membership.

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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16 Aug UIC United Faculty Newsletter: 1st Issue!

Today, we are excited to publish our first full newsletter, the UIC United Faculty VOICE! Learn about issues affecting our members, upcoming events, and new member benefits from our affiliates. You can also download a printable PDF version of the VOICE. Enjoy!

We also want draw your attention to the our union’s Representative Assembly Meeting, and New Faculty Meet and Greet next Thursday. All members are encouraged to participate in our union democracy at our Rep Assembly in UH2028 at 3pm, and then join us in welcoming new faculty at the end of their orientation in Student Center East at 4:45pm.

Lastly, bargaining updates will resume next week with our last negotiating session of the summer. Our previous contract has officially expired, but will remain fully in force until a new contract is agreed upon by both parties. If you have any concerns in this regard, contact us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. In the meantime, visit our facebook and twitter feeds for more content.

Faculty voice Issue 1-1Faculty voice Issue 1-2Faculty voice Issue 1-3Faculty voice Issue 1-4Faculty voice Issue 1-5

PDF/Printable Version: Faculty voice Issue 1

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09 Aug UIC Union Coalition Action: Labor Relations Responds

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Campus Unions Unite for Answers

On July 24th, UIC United Faculty, along with two dozen representatives from our fellow unions, GEO, SEIU and INA, visited the administration’s Labor Relations office. By that time, we had already spent several months trying to negotiate with LR on common-sense policy updates related to the Janus ruling. Particularly at stake was the timely and accurate inclusion of new members, and the exclusion of non-members on dues deduction.

A month after the ruling, LR had not agreed to a mutually workable dues policy, and they appeared to be implementing their own policy changes without informing, much less consulting with, our unions. When our repeated efforts to have them disclose these policy changes were ignored, we felt we needed to take stronger action. That day, we walked into the LR offices to read our demands, and emailed the letter to the head of LR for good measure.

Labor Relations Responds

It’s now clear that Labor Relations did get the message. We were somewhat surprised at how quickly our action elicited a response!

We were also disappointed by the response we finally did get back from the Head of LR, which was blustery and riddled with inaccuracies. We conferred with our fellow unions, and together issued a level-headed follow up, asking for clarification on LR’s erroneous claims. So far, we have not heard back.

In the spirit of openness, here are Labor Relations’ response on post Janus dues deduction and our union coalition’s follow-up to that response. 

What Happens Now?

So what *did* we get out of this excursion? Some answers, at least as to how Labor Relations views their responsibility toward campus unions and union members. It’s now very clear we will have to take further action vis-à-vis our own contract, and possibly through legal channels to ensure the protection of our membership. Indeed, it seems clear from their response that LR is inviting such action.

We are now also suddenly in receipt of payroll data that we were essentially told couldn’t be provided prior to this point. That data shows pretty clearly that our action to have the university honor new union memberships in a timely manner WORKED. We should see the proof of that in the next payroll

While the effort to protect our members’ paychecks from petty Labor Relations games will doubtless continue, we consider this a definitive step toward a positive resolution.

* * *

Our next contract bargaining session is Wednesday, August 23rd. In the interim, we will continue to post weekly articles on topics of critical interest to our membership. Look out next week for an overview of student evaluations, how they’re used here at UIC and elsewhere, and the best practices we hope to win for our university in the future.

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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03 Aug Bargaining Update #7: The Football Gag

Kick the Football Charlie Brown

Kick the Football, Charlie Brown!

Three weeks ago, the UIC United Faculty team proposed changes to discipline and dismissal in our contract. We aimed to describe a process for discipline that is Fair to the faculty under scrutiny; Transparent, so that all parties know what to expect; and Consistent, so that faculty are treated equally across the university.

When we presented our changes, we received predictable push back from the University Labor Relations representative, who is the administration’s bargaining lead. Despite this, local UIC administrators, who also sit on the admin team, engaged with us at length on this topic, saying that clear guidelines could be useful all around. The UIC administrators at the table went as far as to ask our team for rewrites of the article, with bullet-point steps for a discipline procedure.

While we’d gone into it expecting equivocation at best, the offer to consider clear discipline procedure after some rewrites was a welcome development. The request, after all, fit our goals of making explicit the mechanisms of an often vague and inconsistent process, and had come out of what we felt to be a very productive engagement over mutual values.

“AAUGH!”

Perhaps, after years of hard bargaining tactics from U of I Labor Relations, it was naive to think that having local UIC administrators at the table would change the dynamic. We took the request for rewrites at face value, but when we arrived at the table this Wednesday, the Labor Relations lead made it clear that they had no intention of letting us play ball.

In their counter proposal, virtually all of the rewrites they asked for us to provide were dismissed. When asked where the desire for specific discipline guidelines had gone, Labor Relations only acknowledged that a faculty member should be notified when discipline is taking place. Any process beyond that most basic principle, they consider to be too “one-size-fits-all.”

This counter proposal, which went notably unremarked upon by UIC administrators in the room, further stipulated that non-renewals are not discipline and wouldn’t be covered under this article. Labor Relations justified this by pointing out that it is rare to have any NTT discipline issues reach a formal stage, asserting that covering non-renewal under this heading would be obtuse. We can’t comment on the volume of so-called “formal” discipline cases involving NTT faculty, but it seems a tautology that a process lacking “formal” steps would imply a dearth of “formal” discipline. Moreover, when faculty can simply be non-renewed, with or without cause, why bother with formal discipline at all? Excluding non-renewal from the NTT discipline process only exacerbates the opacity we believed we were invited to address.      

By dismissing our efforts to address UIC administrators requested changes, it feels very much like Labor Relations is pulling away the football at the last moment.

 

Campus Safety and Grid-Lock

Discussion on campus safety was somewhat more direct. Administration refused to consider our proposal to form a committee or task force to deal with safety concerns pursuant to the new scheduling grid. The reason: having anticipated some campus safety concerns, there already is a plan in place to deal with safety in the new scheduling grid. See the Campus Scheduling Committee Report (after-hours safety proposals on pg15). Further, any concerns should be brought directly to the Provost.

Unfortunately, fully one-fourth of our members responding to our survey last fall said they had concerns about safety on campus. In particular, many of our members signaled specific concerns about teaching late classes under the new scheduling grid. We do appreciate that the Provost’s office is working to address some of these issues. However, we are not entirely satisfied with the suggestion that our concerns can be satisfactorily handled without meaningful input or oversight from stakeholders outside of administration. It is still our hope that some form of collaborative process can prevail, for our members’ peace of mind, and that of others in the community.

***

Our next bargaining session is Wednesday, August 23rd.

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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25 Jul Union to UIC Administration: Stop Playing Games with Members’ Money

UIC Unions Stand Together

UF-GEO-INA-SEUI MOB 7-24-18

Yesterday, the UIC United Faculty joined with the Graduate Employees Organization, Illinois Nurses Association, and SEIU Local 73 to tell the UIC administration that we will not accept any further bureaucratic dithering or intransigence where union membership is concerned.

UIC Administration: Playing Games With Your Dues Money

On June 27th, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, which stripped unions of the right to collect fair share fees. Anticipating this, UICUF and a number of other campus unions had been working with UIC administration to make sure the transition would roll out smoothly when it came. We were assured by the administration that dues deductions would cease for non-members, and continue for members. We were assured the process would be seamless and accurate.

However, after the ruling, the administration was non-responsive and unwilling to meet with us. Representatives of UIC Payroll, Human Resources and Labor Relations systematically ignored our efforts to confirm accuracy of membership lists prior to the July payroll deadline. Since then, administrators from these offices have insisted that there is no need to meet and discuss this topic.

Given that in the last payroll, UIC failed to deduct dues for over a hundred of our members without notice, we very strongly disagree.

Solidarity In Action

MOB Reading Demands 7-24-18

We have been ignored, told nothing has changed, told changes can’t be made in a timely manner, told that they will happily drop our members outside the bounds of our contracts, and told that our contracts have not been violated. So yesterday, dozens of UIC union members and leadership gathered at the Human Resources office tell them a few things.

Naturally, they sent a visibly flustered, completely new and unknown Labor Relations representative to deal with us, while the head of LR was “not in the office,” even though he was seen moments after we left. Unperturbed, we read our demands with a promise to return if our concerns are not addressed immediately.

Below is our open letter to the UIC Administration. We hope they will respond with clear answers and real solutions. We are, however, prepared should they choose to continue to obfuscate and obstruct.

Open Letter to UIC Administration

Thomas Riley

Executive Director- Labor and Employee Relations

University of Illinois at Chicago- Human Resources

Westside Research Office Bldg. (MC 264)
1747 West Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL 60612

July 24, 2018

Dear Mr. Riley,

In light of the June 27 Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, and in response to the University’s attempts to unilaterally impose a new system for payroll deductions and revocations without consultation from the campus unions and in violation of the collective bargaining agreements, the Illinois Nurses Association, SEIU Local 73, United Faculty, and Graduate Employees Organization are demanding the following. We expect a response from you by Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

  1. The University will stop stealing money from the Unions by immediately correcting payroll codings by the next pay period. The University will compensate the Unions the amount of money it failed and refused to deduct in the last two pay periods.
  2. The University will cease and desist from improperly honoring revocation requests made directly to the Employer. Union membership is between the member and the Union. The University will not cease to deduct and remit payroll deductions from a Union member unless directed to do so by the Union.
  3. If the University is in possession of a signed Union membership card for a member of the bargaining unit at least 7 business days before a paycheck, the University will deduct dues from that member’s paycheck and remit them to the Union.
  4. When the Union submits new membership cards to the University, within 2 business days, the University will confirm receipt of the cards to the Union and will confirm that the cards will be properly processed to facilitate payroll deductions.
  5. When the University fails to process payroll deductions from a member of the bargaining unit with a signed Union membership card on file, it will notify the Union upon discovery of the error and will, upon the Union’s request, process double the normal amount of payroll deductions in the next paycheck.
  6. To ensure proper payroll deductions, the University will provide the most up-to-date bargaining unit list, in Excel spreadsheet format, to the Union upon request.

If these demands are not met, the unions reserve our rights to pursue any and all remedies available to us under our respective collective bargaining agreements, state, and/or federal law.

Sincerely,

Jeff Schuhrke and Anne Kirkner

GEO Co-Presidents

Janet Smith

President, United Faculty

Doris Carroll and Paul Pater

Co-Chief Stewards INA

Membership

SEIU Local 73

 

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