Author: Tony Floriani

05 Dec Shared Governance is Your Right! What Shared Governance Should Look Like

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  • Shared governance is a pillar of our university’s policy-making processes, but to fully benefit, you need to exercise your rights!
  • Each academic unit should have clear, accessible bylaws, and an elected Advisory or Executive Committee, so that faculty can participate in the governance of their work
  • UICUF Staff are available to work with members on understanding and applying shared governance rights in your units. Contact UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com if interested.

 

Shared governance is one of academia’s most cherished principles, giving faculty a voice in decision-making at all levels of the university. It is also one of UIC United Faculty’s core commitments as a union to make the promise of shared governance a reality by backing it with the power of collective bargaining. We’ve delivered on that commitment by enshrining many shared governance principles in our union contract, ensuring that your rights are enforceable.

To get the full benefit out of shared governance, however, faculty need to understand their rights in the university’s decision-making processes, and work to develop a culture of engagement in those processes. Today, we’re exploring how shared governance at the unit level should function, based on the UICUF contract and university statutes.

Clear and Accessible Bylaws
Unit bylaws can have a significant effect on how your work is defined, and how you are treated as an educator, researcher, and employee in your academic unit. These bylaws should be clearly written, and readily accessible to you. Your unit head or office administrator should be able to help you get a copy of them.

We strongly recommend familiarizing yourself with your unit bylaws, or at least having a copy handy. Bylaws typically will describe how a unit’s shared governance structure works, and per our union contract, they must include certain explanations and definitions, such as workload expectations and reappointment processes for NTT faculty. These explanations and definitions, in turn, must be created with input from faculty via shared governance.

Executive and Advisory Committees
Every unit must have either an Executive Committee (if your academic unit has a Chair) or an Advisory Committee (if your academic unit has a Head or Director). These committees are the backbone of shared governance for faculty at the unit level. They must be elected by faculty, and should be consulted by unit executive officers on changes to bylaws and the development of other policies. In particular, units must develop certain standards in consultation with these committees. Having a functional shared governance infrastructure, in which faculty regularly participate, is critical to ensuring your rights are enforced.

UICUF Shared Governance Workshops
Educating faculty members on their rights plays an important role in how UICUF enforces our union contract. To that end, we are continually offering trainings and workshops to help faculty better understand their contractual rights, and to help each academic unit address issues specific to their situation. UICUF staff are available to help you understand how shared governance should work, and to assist you in improving these processes for your academic unit.

If you have questions about how to obtain your unit bylaws, whether your bylaws and committees meet contractual requirements, or would like to arrange a discussion about shared governance with a union representative, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

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We issue regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on our website. We encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. If you want to contribute your story, pictures, video, or other content related to the activities of the union, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With your support, we are making UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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21 Nov What To Do If You Think You Have A Grievance 

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  • While every workplace issue is unique, the UICUF grievance committee can offer advice and support.
  • Don’t wait to address it: The longer you wait, the harder it may be to deal with it, especially if it requires filing an official grievance.
  • Notify UICUF:  Most issues UICUF intervenes in are solved without formal grievance procedures, and your privacy is always a priority.
  • Write it all down: Keeping notes of the events that led you to contact your union can help you compose your thoughts, and serve as a reliable record during the grievance process.

 

Last week, we went into some detail about our new Grievance Committee and how it operates. This week, faculty were invited to attend grievance trainings to help members understand what a grievance is, and how the process works. Today we’re going to offer advice on how to proceed if you think you have grounds for a grievance.

Filing a grievance is a formal process for addressing a violation of the faculty contract. It is useful to know, however, that our grievance team commonly assists with issues that don’t rise to the level of a formal grievance. This leads us to our first and most important piece of advice.

Don’t Wait to Address the Issue
We’ve said this many times in communications in the past, and are repeating it here because it may be the single most important thing to remember when you’re facing a workplace issue: DON’T WAIT!

There are myriad practical reasons not to let a workplace issue linger unaddressed, from allowing bad behavior to become normalized, to risking further harm in the meantime. From a grievance standpoint, a failure to address an issue in a timely manner may mean sacrificing the option to file an official grievance at all.

Per our current contract, you have 30 days from when you should reasonably have known about an issue to file a grievance, and it is best to consider such an undertaking well ahead of that deadline when possible. The best thing to do if you’re experiencing a workplace issue is to get in touch with a union representative or email us at UICUnitedfaculty@gmail.com.

Notify UICUF
UICUF’s Grievance Committee, College Representatives, and trained staff, are all here for the express purpose of assisting faculty with workplace issues. We can advise and guide you in seeking informal solutions on your own, help organize a response with other colleagues experiencing similar problems, or intervene directly as appropriate.

We understand that considering taking this step can be daunting, and may bring up a lot of questions. For your peace of mind, we want our members to know first and foremost that we will always respect your confidentiality, and will work with you to develop a plan of action that you are comfortable with. With a team made up primarily of fellow faculty members, we are sensitive to concerns about hierarchical positions within the university, and the need to maintain relationships with colleagues long term. We work to resolve concerns informally where possible, and our team will not pursue an official grievance on your behalf without your knowledge and consent.

Keep Notes
If you are experiencing a workplace issue, we highly encourage you to take some notes on what happened/is happening. We’ve consistently found that simply writing things down helps members organize their thoughts and explain the situation in a clear and focused way. Especially in cases that do enter the official grievance process, notes can also provide a durable account of what happened, even if hearings take place weeks or months later. Taking a few minutes to write down your thoughts, and maintaining a record of related communications, can be tremendously useful!

A Few Words About Disciplinary Cases
While we actually have a whole other article about disciplinary issues, many of our most serious grievances come from cases of inappropriate discipline, so we wanted to cover a couple of basics here.

First, remember your Weingarten Rights. In short, these are your rights to have a union representative at any disciplinary meeting, including any meeting you think may lead to discipline. You’re also within your rights to stop a meeting in progress if you feel it has become disciplinary in nature. Critically, you must assert this right (simply stating you are asserting your Weingarten Rights to representation is sufficient), or you forfeit it.

Second, discipline may not be arbitrary and must be proportionate to the supposed infraction.. The disciplinary process should be positive and progressive in nature, meaning that its goal is to provide a path for improvement. The discipline should follow steps of increasing severity, but only if the issue isn’t resolved.

As always, if you have questions, or you think you may have a workplace issue that you want to discuss with a union representative, you can email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

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We issue regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on our website. We encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. If you want to contribute your story, pictures, video, or other content related to the activities of the union, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With your support, we are making UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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15 Nov Always Someone To Talk To – UICUF Grievance Committee 

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  • There is always someone to talk to if you have a concern at work; don’t wait, contact your union if you think you need a hand!
  • UICUF’s Grievance Team has evolved since the union’s founding from a small, ad-hoc group of problem solvers, into a full committee with a grassroots structure.
  • If you’re interested in helping with grievance work, consider becoming a College Rep: some positions remain open, and there are elections coming in April 2020.
  • All members are invited to attend one of two 90-minute grievance training next week in UH2028 – 3:30-5pm, Tuesday, 11/19/19 OR 3-4:30pm, Wednesday, 11/20/19.

 

Did you know that the union has a committee dedicated to helping our members resolve situations in the workplace, like improper discipline, or failure to follow procedures around evaluations, discipline or pay determinations? UICUF’s Grievance Committee is always available to discuss your questions or concerns, and the absolute first thing we want you to know is this: DON’T WAIT!

If you are experiencing a problem at work, contact us ASAP. Even if it’s not an official grievance, the union may be able to help with advice or other informal problem-solving. If you do bring an issue to UICUF’s attention, we are committed to honoring confidentiality for our members, and will work with you at your discretion to find the best solution to the problems at hand.

What Is The Grievance Committee
UICUF’s Grievance Committee is a group of faculty dedicated to solving members’ issues, whether they ultimately result in a grievance, or can be resolved informally. The team is led by our Chief Steward, Robert Johnston, who has been working with members on their issues with the support of professional union staff since the union was formed.

This team couldn’t function, however, without the ground-up support of our College Representatives, each of whom is legally a Steward of the union, empowered to consult on issues with members. They provide a local voice and perspective on issues in their own Colleges, and act as an accessible link between the grievance team and individual members. You can visit our website to find your College Representatives if you ever need to contact them.

What Is The Grievance Committee Currently Working On
The Grievance Committee is, in some sense, always working to enforce our contract. This is often a matter of discussing contractual rights with faculty members, and informally working out solutions with program and departmental-level administrators. Over the last year, however, we have had a massive surge in grievance inquiries, including many that are serious infractions of the contract.

To address this influx, UICUF has recently revisited the role of the Grievance Committee in our bylaws, expanding it to include additional members so that they can handle the increased caseload. We are also holding more trainings for our College Representative so that they can be better Stewards at the local level and provide a more grass-roots response when issues affect more than just an individual.

Getting Involved
The best way to get involved with grievance support is to become a College Representative. There are currently open seats in some Colleges, and we will also be holding elections this coming Spring.

Want to learn more? We are holding grievance trainings for College Reps next week, and all UICUF members are welcome to join one of these sessions, to be held in University Hall 2028: 3:30-5pm, Tuesday, Nov, 19, and 3-4:30pm, Wednesday, Nov 20. Please RSVP with Jeff Edwards, UICUFJeff@gmail.com.

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We issue regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on our website. We encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. If you want to contribute your story, pictures, video, or other content related to the activities of the union, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With your support, we are making UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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07 Nov Advocating for UIC in the UI System and State Legislature

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  • UICUF’s newly formed Advocacy Committee will look into budgets, funding formulas and other structural issues affecting education at UIC.
  • UI Board of Trustees to meet NEXT THURSDAY, 9am @Student Center West
  • Faculty Advisory Committee is open to new nominees. Submit your nominating petition by November 11 if you wish to be considered.

 

UICUF’s New Advocacy Committee
During contract negotiations last Spring we won many important victories for faculty, students, and the UIC community at large. However, it also became glaringly obvious that not everything we wanted to accomplish was going to be addressed at the bargaining table. Bigger issues, like state higher-education budgets, funding formulas that determine how those budgets are distributed, and other structural issues, are still determined largely in a black box, without meaningful transparency or accountability.

This realization inspired the creation of a new committee of UICUF members interested in digging into deeper issues of power and equity that affect the lives of faculty and students at UIC. Chief among these concerns are the mounting structural deficit that the UI Board has created through long-term tuition freezes, covered by the problematic stop-gap of raising campus fees and differentials that de facto continue increasing costs for students. This committee will also pursue greater transparency in how UofI’s budget is distributed amongst campuses.

If you’re interested in getting involved, contact Janet Smith. No financial or budgetary experience is necessary, as we will be building a broad coalition of faculty and students to push for greater transparency at the Board and State Legislative levels.

BoT Meets in Chicago Next Week
Whether you want to get more involved or just learn about how high level decisions for the UI system get made, going to next week’s Board of Trustees meeting is a great first step. Members who have attended in the past have described these proceedings as eye-opening, especially in how little attention is paid to one of the university’s primary functions, education. The meeting will be held here in Chicago, on UIC’s West Campus, in Student Center West, from 9am, Thursday, 11/14. If you are interested in joining other faculty going to the meeting, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

UIC Faculty Advisory Committee
Now is also the time if you want to get involved in a long-running UIC institution, the Faculty Advisory Committee (unrelated to the union’s Advocacy Committee described above), which directly advises the administration on issues affecting the university. Interested faculty need to submit a nominating petition by November 11th. Instructions are listed on the petition form, but only 3 signatures of colleagues are required for a nomination, and the completed form must be filed in the Senate office in UH. We hope some of our intrepid UICUF members will take an interest in serving on this important committee!

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We issue regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on our website. We encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. If you want to contribute your story, pictures, video, or other content related to the activities of the union, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With your support, we are making UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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31 Oct Retro Pay | COPE Info Session | Strike Updates

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  • Reminder: retro pay for the 2018-2019 school year should have appeared in October paychecks. We encourage you to double-check the amounts for accuracy.
  • UICUF COPE holding info session on IFT endorsement process next Thursday, 11/7
  • Strike updates: SEIU won tentative agreement | CTU has TA and will return to work tomorrow | Decatur teaching assistants currently on strike | Triton College workers announce 11/6 strike date

 

Retro Pay
We want to start this week’s message by reminding faculty to check your pay stubs from October. UIC previously stated that retroactive raises would be included in this month’s paycheck, and past experience tells us that despite best efforts, there are likely to be some errors. UICUF encourages our members to double check to ensure that their retro pay is present and accurately calculated. If you think there is an error in your retro pay, we recommend first speaking with your unit or college HR contact, but if this does not resolve the problem, you can contact us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

COPE Info Session on IFT Endorsements
Next week, UICUF’s Committee on Political Education will host Illinois Federation of Teachers Legislative Director John Cusick, who will provide information about how the IFT’s candidate endorsement process works. As affiliates of the IFT, our members have a voice in this process, and we encourage faculty to attend the meeting and get involved.

What:  Information Session on the IFT Endorsement Process
When: Thursday, Nov. 7, 1:00 – 2:30pm
Where: Rm. 950, University Hall (in the Hist Dept).
Background: Beginning in December and extending through early February, the IFT will conduct a series of meetings with candidates for Illinois office, including but not restricted to the Illinois State Senate and House of Representatives. The purpose of these meetings is for IFT members to ask candidates their positions on a host of issues, including, though not restricted to, educational matters and policies. The meetings are open to all IFT members, and participation by UICUF members in the past has been highly appreciated.

Strike Updates
In other news from around the city, it’s been an eventful few weeks for Chicago’s education and organized labor communities. Chicago teachers and school support staff were forced to go on strike for fair contracts, and a third strike by City Parks District employees was averted at the 11th hour with an agreement they call “the best deal we have ever gotten.” In higher ed, Governors State University faculty and staff won a contract this month, and Triton College workers have announced a November 6 strike date if they do not have a fair contract in hand by that time. Decatur Federation of Teaching Assistants have also been on strike for a fair contract.

As of this afternoon, we’ve learned that all unions involved in the CPS strikes, including support staff and teachers, have reached tentative agreements and will be returning to work tomorrow, 11/1/19. SEIU won a contract earlier this week, but continued to honor picket lines pending an agreement on teacher contracts. Last night, the Chicago Teachers Union reached a tentative agreement on their contract, and today, they reached a return-to-work agreement with Mayor Lightfoot which includes making up five instructional days to cover days lost during the strike.

By all reports, the new contracts are a win for workers at Chicago Public Schools, and we will share more about the specifics of each on our social media channels as we learn more.

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We issue regular updates via email, FacebookTwitterYouTube, and on our website. We encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. If you want to contribute your story, pictures, video, or other content related to the activities of the union, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With your support, we are making UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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21 Oct CPS Strike Week 2 Update

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As of today, Monday, 10/21/19, the mass strike of CPS Teachers and school employees is continuing. Some progress has been made in negotiations, but its clear that we still need to keep the pressure on city officials if we hope to see a fair contract for Chicago’s teachers, school employees, and the students they serve.

The day began with pickets (which will continue every day from 6:30-10:30am) and demonstrations, and there will be another mass rally at Union Park at 2pm.

Tuesday’s events will include solidarity actions for the many other workers, including higher ed workers, who are fighting for fair contracts in and around Chicago. In particular, workers at Triton College will hold a rally to announce their own strike for a fair contract from 12-1pm (2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL, 60171) and NEIU workers will rally 2-3pm after going 450 days without a contract (5500 N St Louis Ave, Chicago, IL 60625).

Wednesday’s events have not been made public yet, but expect major actions to be announced around the Mayor’s Budget Address and the Chicago Board of Education meeting at 10:30am (42 W. Madison Street, Garden Level, Board Room).

As before, we want to remind you to support our colleagues in CPS and other educational institutions around the city and state, in any way you can. UICUF stands in solidarity with the strikers, and will continue to do so until they win fair contracts that improve conditions in our city schools for workers, students and their communities.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

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We issue regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on our website. We encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. If you want to contribute your story, pictures, video, or other content related to the activities of the union, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With your support, we are making UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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16 Oct CPS Strike is Imminent Tomorrow

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  • A mass strike of Chicago teachers and school staff appears imminent TOMORROW, Thursday, 10/17/19
  • School pickets from 6:30am | UIC Solidarity Rally 11-Noon | Downtown Rally 1:30-5pm
  • Support the Strike: Don’t cross pickets | Join job actions and community events | Call the Mayor (312)-744-3300
  • Follow on Facebook: UICUF | CTU | SEIU | Solidarity Campaign
  • Other social media: Twitter | Instagram
  • Help feed students who may miss school-provided meals: Bread for Ed

 

At the time of this writing, a mass strike of Chicago teachers and school support staff appears imminent, with the bargaining teams saying they are still far from an agreement on a fair contract. We are awaiting final guidance from our fellow union workers in CTU/SEIU this evening, but we anticipate that strike activities will begin TOMORROW, Thursday, 10/17/19.

Sweeping changes have been proposed by Mayor Lightfoot, but not backed up in writing. Teachers and support staff have demanded that the City make good on promises concerning enforceable class size limits and fully staffing ALL schools with nurses, librarians, counselors and special ed teachers.

UIC United Faculty stands in full solidarity with striking workers at Chicago Public Schools, and we strongly encourage our members to do what they can to show support individually. There are many ways to support the strike and put pressure on City negotiators to offer workers, and the students and families they serve, a fair contract.

  • Honor Picket Lines: Pickets will begin at local schools from 6:30am tomorrow. Don’t cross them, and if you’re able, join them!
  • Attend Solidarity Events: A UIC Solidarity Rally is scheduled for 11-noon in the Quad tomorrow, and a downtown rally is scheduled for 1:30-5pm at the Chicago Board of Education (corner of Dearborn and Madison).
  • Call Mayor Lightfoot at 312-744-3300 and ask her to put her promises in writing in an enforceable contract!
  • Donate to Bread For Ed: Help feed children who will miss out on school-provided meals during the strike.

 

We will send periodic updates to keep you informed about the strike, but you can follow everything in real time via social media:

 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

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We issue regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on our website. We encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. If you want to contribute your story, pictures, video, or other content related to the activities of the union, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With your support, we are making UIC an even better place to work and learn!

 

 

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03 Oct Meeting Recap – Our Fight is Far From Over

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  • UIC United Faculty held our Fall Membership Meeting Yesterday
  • One thing seems abundantly clear: There’s plenty of work ahead to make UIC an even better place to work and learn
  • UICUF Senate Caucus will tackle issues covered by statute that weren’t addressed in the contract
  • UICUF’s new Advocacy Committee will be working to change fundamentals in system governance, like how budgets are formulated
  • UICUF COPE will continue working on legislative issues affecting faculty

 

Yesterday, UICUF held it’s Fall Membership Meeting at Hull House, and as our leadership and committee chairs sounded off, one thing seemed abundantly clear: we may have won some major improvements in our contract negotiations this past Spring, but there’s still much more to do as we seek to continue improving working and learning conditions at UIC.

To recap, our contract victory this past May ensured a variety of improvements, from increased minimum salaries and guaranteed raise pools, to appointment and due process protections for NTT faculty, and workload protection for our entire bargaining unit. However, there were plenty of things we couldn’t achieve in those negotiations, and a number of issues we won in our contract that will still take work to successfully implement.

In Your Departments
Many of our new contract victories, like workload protections, rely on shared governance to implement. Our Shared Governance committee will be spearheading the effort to inform and encourage our members to take advantage of those victories by using their powers of shared governance to the maximum potential.

In the Senate
As we reported in a previous weekly update, we have a newly formed Senate Caucus that will be discuss many of the issues our members are experiencing that have their roots in university statutes. The Senate is by most measures the strongest expression of shared governance at the university, with the purview to recommend changes to the statutes. The new Caucus was formed simply to keep our many members in the Senate informed about issues affecting faculty, and the current list is a long one. Among the top items on the agenda are granting longer term contracts (currently capped at 3 years for NTT), strengthening academic freedom protections, and addressing problematic changes to mandatory RNUA documentation.

At the Board Meetings
Our newly formed advocacy committee (look out for a profile of them in future updates), will be looking into how the university system is governed, and how we can ensure fair and just treatment for UIC within that system. In particular, funding models remain opaque, and seemingly lopsided in favor of programs in Urbana, even as UIC tends to work with students who have the greatest need for resources and support.

In the Legislature
UIC faculty are surely no strangers to how structural issues in the state legislature can affect how we work and how our students learn. UICUF isn’t helpless in this arena though. We have established a Committee on Political Education (COPE), which is addressing issues in the legislature, and lets members volunteer to pool resources in support of political campaigns that may affect UIC in the future. First on their to-do list is to get parity in treatment for our NTT faculty as compared with state college faculty, who enjoy more timely reappointment notices, and receive reasons for non-reappointment.

As you can see, even though the big contract push is over, there’s no shortage of ways we can continue to move the needle, making UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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We issue regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on our website. We encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. If you want to contribute your story, pictures, video, or other content related to the activities of the union, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With your support, we are making UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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26 Sep Want More Job Security for NTT faculty – Support UICUF COPE

Know Your Contract Training
Student Center West, Room 206AB, 12-1:30pm, Mon, 9/30

Fall Member Meeting
Jane Addams Hull House, 3-5pm, Wed, 10/2

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  • COPE is UICUF’s Committee on Political Education. It allows us to collect and spend money on political campaigns, make endorsements, and engage in the political process
  • COPE’s primary role is to manage political contributions collected from our members, and educate students, faculty and the public on political issues that affect faculty
  • Faculty can get involved by becoming a contributor, or by emailing Kate Floros, COPE Chair. COPE is currently looking for strong communicators with graphic design skills
  • Union dues never go toward paying for political activities

 

This week we are exploring the role of the UICUF Committee on Political Education (UICUF COPE) in supporting faculty by giving us a voice in the state political processes that affect our university.

How Will COPE Improve Working/Learning Conditions at UIC?

  1. The COPE will work with other unions representing faculty in Illinois, and allies in the state legislature to create or expand laws impacting faculty rights. First and foremost, we hope to bring state laws regarding reappointment notifications for our NTT faculty in line with existing legislation governing faculty at community colleges. Should this effort succeed, NTT faculty would receive notification of non-reappointment months earlier than they currently do, and they would have the right to receive a written explanation for the non-reappointment.
  2. The COPE will bring faculty issues into focus with our union allies and affiliates. The COPE was successful in getting a resolution placed on the agenda of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) convention, which, if passed, would commit the IFT to working toward passage of legislation like what is described above.
  3. The COPE intends to make its first-ever endorsements and/or contributions to a political campaign that has bearing on the health of our university ahead of the March 2020 Illinois primary elections.

 

What Is the COPE and What Else Does It Do?
The COPE has the same legal profile as a Political Action Committee, legally separate and distinct from UICUF. The distinction allows UICUF members to pool their funds/influence for endorsements and support of political/election campaigns which our union can’t otherwise participate in. This offers our members peace-of-mind knowing that union dues aren’t being used for politics, while also allowing politically-minded members a way to unite and support politicians and/or legislation important to university working conditions. The COPE is primarily focused on state and local issues and candidates, in order to most directly affect legislation related to higher education policy in Illinois.

The COPE’s other, equally important role is to educate students, faculty, and the public on faculty issues and working conditions. The committee is currently doing student outreach, and crafting a “UIC 101” one-sheet to help students understand how UIC as an institution is organized, its place within the University of Illinois System, and its status as a public research institution. There will be other educational materials about the student cost of attendance and the UIC budget later this academic year.

 

How Can Faculty Get Involved?
Faculty can get involved in the COPE initially by becoming a contributor. Union members (who are US citizens or permanent residents) can download a contribution form from our website and return it to kate.floros@gmail.com. Contributions are generally made through payroll deduction, but can be accepted in the form of a check if preferred. The COPE team strongly encourages faculty to consider becoming contributors, even if you can only afford a few dollars a month!

In the spirit of inclusiveness, each year, the COPE leadership team hosts a meeting where contributors are encouraged to help articulate COPE priorities. Additionally, the COPE team will reach out to contributors in advance of the March 17, 2020 primary election, before endorsements and/or donations are made, to elicit feedback on COPE’s endorsement plans. There are also monthly board meetings open to contributors (email Kate if you want to know the place and time of the next meeting). Lastly, some board seats become available every year, and any contributor is eligible to become a member of the board.

We hope you will take a moment to become a contributor, and get involved with our Committee on Political Education!

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We issue regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on our website. We encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. If you want to contribute your story, pictures, video, or other content related to the activities of the union, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With your support, we are making UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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19 Sep The Senate Caucus – Committee Profile

**Know Your Contract Trainings Friday 9/20/19**
Applied Health Sciences Building, Room 315, 10 – 11:30 am
College of Nursing, Room 202, 12 – 1:30 pm

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  • The Senate Caucus is a newly formed effort by UICUF to inform discussion in the University Senate on issues affecting faculty
  • The group was formed in response to the administration’s position in bargaining that certain issues are more appropriately addressed by the Senate through the Statutes
  • Senators can get involved by emailing Milos Zefran. UICUF members are encouraged to run for Senate, and communicate with Senators on issues affecting them day-to-day

 

Unions are always most visible during contract negotiations, but UICUF does so much more than bargain our contract. Dedicated faculty volunteers work on a variety of committees and efforts year round to promote safe, satisfying and enriching working conditions at UIC, to deal with workplace issues, and of course, to enforce our contract.

To give our members a better idea of all the ways UICUF is working for them every day, we will be showcasing the various committees and their work throughout the Fall Semester. Each segment will introduce a new or existing UICUF committee, discuss their work and goals, and let you know how you can get involved.

Without further ado, our first feature is on the newly established Senate Caucus!

What Is The Senate Caucus And What Does It Do?
The Senate Caucus is a group of Senators who are also UICUF members, specifically dedicated to discussing and educating other Senators on issues that affect faculty in our bargaining unit. It was formed, in part, as a response to the Administration’s frequent refrain during our last contract negotiations that certain issues were outside the scope of a labor agreement, and could only be addressed by the Senate through the UI Statutes. While we don’t entirely agree with this logic, it has prompted an interest in making sure that the Senate is at least aware of these issues when they do come up.

The University Senate has always been a fulcrum of shared governance, and UICUF appreciates their independent role in defining policy in areas like curriculum and tenure. The Senate Caucus is not a political party, or a mechanism to whip votes in the Senate. It’s intention is to bring forward and educate on issues in the Senate, and to keep UICUF members informed about Senate proceedings on issues of note. We strongly encourage UICUF members to interact with your representatives, and share your own opinions on key issues.

What Is The Senate Caucus Working On Right Now?
The Senate Caucus is brand new, but it already has a long list of agenda items to address. Key points include:

 

  • Increasing the maximum length of NTT appointments
  • Improving processes for protecting academic freedom and tenure
  • Opening access to sabbaticals for NTT faculty
  • Addressing the structure and uses of student evaluations
  • Creating “Teaching” titles to replace “Lecturer” and create an associated third rank for affected faculty

 

While there is no particular order of priority for these laid out at the moment, we hope to keep members informed if and when each issue does come up. Given the long list, we anticipate the Senate Caucus will have plenty to do this year, but if you want to put forward other ideas, we again encourage our members to be in touch with their College’s Senators.

How Can Members Get Involved?
Senators who want to be a part of the Senate Caucus can contact Milos Zefran (Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering) to be invited to the Caucus listserv. The Caucus will meet in person once per semester to discuss issues.

UICUF members who are not Senators can get involved in several ways. First, we highly encourage you to run for Senate if you are able. There are seats open every year, and even some seats unclaimed at the time of this writing in certain Colleges. Of course, not everyone can commit to being a Senator. The Senate meetings themselves are open to non-Senators if you just want to drop in (see our Calendar for dates), but in most cases, the best way to interact with the Senate is to be in contact with your College’s Senators about issues that matter to you!

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We issue regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on our website. We encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. If you want to contribute your story, pictures, video, or other content related to the activities of the union, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With your support, we are making UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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