07 Oct Bargaining in the Wake of Two More Strikes
- Impact Bargaining Resumes: Impact bargaining resumed Tuesday as we look to work proactively get ahead of ongoing disruptions going into Spring Semester.
- Labor Board Advances ULP Charges Against Admin: The Illinois Labor Board has issued a complaint regarding our Unfair Labor Practice charges against UIC Admin over failure to engage in impact bargaining prior to implementing new policies.
- Learning from 2 *More* Strikes: This fall we added two fresh strikes to our pile of evidence that UIC Admin won’t bargain unless forced to do so. UICUF is beginning forward planning for negotiating our 2022 contract, starting NOW.
- Fair Tax Q & A 4:30pm Thursday: Last week we offered the exact legislative language setting up the Fair Tax so you can review for yourself. IFT is hosting a Fair Tax Q&A tomorrow. Join the session if you have questions and please VOTE “YES” for a Fair Tax.
Dear UICUF Members,
After a break while the semester got underway, and after two strikes from our colleagues in INA and SEIU played out, impact bargaining with the UIC Administration resumed on Tuesday, We have been bargaining over COVID-19 impacts to our contract since April, with mixed results. Admin has given some concessions, but these changes have typically been dictated after brief discussion, rather than agreed upon. They are also temporary in duration, full of loopholes, and lacking in accountability. The administration’s persistent view that they do not have to bargain to agreement, but rather can “consult” and then do whatever they want, is the subject of nearly 20 separate ULP charges currently moving forward with the state Labor Board.
We are, therefore, continuing to bargain with an eye to spring semester. Few concessions are guaranteed past the fall, and none have been codified in contractually enforceable agreements. Critically, the date for departments to determine courses that must be taught in-person is next week, Oct. 15. We are seeking clarification of the language, which does not directly speak to individual discretion or procedure for opting-out of in-person instruction, and will keep you posted.
UIC Administration’s Unfair Labor Practices
Imposing policy changes on issues currently under negotiation–without first reaching agreement between the parties–is a clear violation of labor law. In June, when it became clear that the Administration would not take its duty to bargain seriously, we filed a series of Unfair Labor Practice charges, citing the failure to bargain in good faith before deciding on policies affecting our contract.
Last week, the Labor Board advanced these charges against UIC Admin by issuing a complaint in the case, a step that confirms the charges are substantial enough to warrant a hearing. The Administration has until the end of the week to respond, and we anticipate a hearing date will be set thereafter.
Learning from Two More Strikes
Just a few weeks ago, UIC was hit by two simultaneous strikes, adding to a contentious record showing the Administration never bargains seriously until workers force them to. For INA, it took nearly half a year and a 7-day strike to win their contract. For SEIU, which bargained on behalf of 4 different bargaining units, it took upwards of a year on average, and a 10-day strike, to win a fair contract. Previously, UIC GEO had to bargain for over a year and go on strike to win their contract, and our own current contract was won only after a year of bargaining and the threat of a strike which was averted mere hours before the deadline.
Are you seeing a pattern here? UIC Admin has approached every negotiation in the last two years with the same attitude: refuse to move on anything until the union membership gets so fed up that they’re willing to strike. While planning for a year-long lead time and a strike every time we bargain a contract is far from our preference, it’s impossible to ignore the precedent.
Our contract expires in a little under 2 years, and it takes months to prepare before bargaining officially begins. If these timelines are predictive, it strongly implies we need to start preparing now. We’ve already begun holding preliminary strategy sessions to this end and invite any interested members to get involved! Email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com if you’re interested in helping us lay out the vision and strategy that will drive our next major contract negotiation!
UIC United Faculty