28 Sep Bargaining Update: Solidarity Amid Halting Progress
At The Table This Week
Yesterday, UICUF’s Bargaining Team came to the table with the understanding that we’d laid the groundwork for more substantial discussion on non-economic issues. As a reminder, we have not brought forward any overtly economic proposals, in order to keep the focus on quality of life issues and shared values.
Unfortunately, the Labor Relations Bargaining Lead has chosen to double down on their prior insistence that they can’t discuss much without our economic proposals. The Administration Team had previously asked for a specific article, on Appointment and Promotion, as a path to move forward. As a show of good faith, our team agreed to present that article, but the Administration Team has returned with little other than status quo rejections of our proposals since then, and another demand for our economic proposals before they will proceed.
We fundamentally disagree that it is necessary to weigh, for example, non-discrimination or transparent discipline processes, against pay raises before decisions can be made. Our members deserve both improved working conditions AND a meaningful raise in the next contract, and we don’t intend to accept false equivalencies that would seek to pit one against the other.
That being said, we are having positive discussion around some issues, and may be nearing agreement on one additional article. There are certainly still opportunities to move forward with what is already on the table, should the Administration Team choose to do so.
Solidarity Beyond the Bargaining Table
Meanwhile, we want to remind everyone that the strength of our union is defined not just by the skill of our negotiating team, but by the commitment of our membership. This week, we’ve initiated a number of activities to strengthen our union, and encourage you to remember the importance of day-to-day solidarity.
This Tuesday, we had our first Representative training of the semester, giving our elected Reps the tools they need to serve as a resource for members in their departments. Training included modules on communications, department relations, and perhaps most critically, resolving member issues, up to and including formal grievances. Another training will be offered next Tuesday, 10-2pm, and we invite all members to learn how the union works, even if you are not a current Representative.
Bargaining Team members and other volunteers also set up a table in University Hall on Wednesday. We handed out dozens of T-shirts and pins to our members, and encourage everyone to wear your union gear on bargaining days to support our efforts at the negotiating table. Solidarity matters, and it starts with you!
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Our next contract bargaining session is October 9th. 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!
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