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20 Nov UIC Town Hall Tonight 6pm and Member Meeting Recap

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  • UIC Town Hall: UIC Student Government has invited faculty to join their Town Hall from 6-7:30pm TONIGHT with Chancellor Amaridis, Provost Poser, VCAS Coronado, and VCSA Tolliver.
  • Admin Confirms No Changes to Spring Calendar: UICUF and the University Senate inquired as to possible calendar changes being considered by Admin, and have received confirmation that the calendar will remain unchanged for spring semester.
  • Member Meeting Recap: Yesterday, we held our Fall Membership Meeting. See the recap on how our members supported one another through this difficult year, and where we stand in bargaining going into the holiday season and beyond.

 

Dear UICUF Members,

We have several timely issues and events to discuss today, including a Town Hall Meeting organized by UIC’s Student Government, the spring semester calendar, and a recap from our member meeting!

UIC Town Hall
The UIC Undergraduate Student Government has arranged a Town Hall for Student Concerns TONIGHT from 6-7:30pm with the Chancellor, Provost, and several key administrators in charge of pandemic planning. USG has invited UICUF members to attend the town hall as well. The USG has been working hard to introduce policies they feel most likely to promote student success and wellness during the pandemic. Issues currently under discussion include grading during remote learning, availability of mental and emotional health services for students, availability of financial and technology support services, and racial justice demands. Faculty, staff, and students must unite and support each other as we advocate for a university that serves us all. Stay informed and demonstrate your solidarity by attending tonight’s Town Hall, and listening to our students as they advocate for their needs.

Join the Town Hall here: https://uic.zoom.us/j/89718597775?pwd=V3QwaFJBRDJHRElVZUZoNHJyRUNoZz09

Confirmed: Spring Calendar Will NOT Change
There has been some talk recently of altering the spring semester calendar in light of the continued COVID pandemic. Though no decisions had been made, or proposals officially submitted to UICUF or the University Senate, we felt it was important to stay ahead of things and had planned our own calendar survey to ensure faculty voices were heard.

As of today, our understanding is that the academic calendar for spring semester will not change, and that any changes would require Senate approval at a minimum. We appreciate those who weighed in by email and at the member meeting yesterday.

Member Meeting Recap
At our member meeting yesterday, we started by celebrating all the ways our members have supported each other and our community. This year has been challenging to say the least, and replete with seismic shifts in how we live, work, and relate to each other. We believe UICUF and our members have risen to those challenges admirably. When some of our colleagues lost their jobs, we raised over $16,000 to help with emergency expenses. We supported and continue to support our students seeking racial justice at UIC and beyond. And we honored our members in the Tutorium in Intensive English with our John Shuler Award for Shared Governance, for working together to fend off third-party outsourcing of their program in response to the pandemic. Needless to say, we are tremendously proud of our members, and all that they are doing to make UIC an even better, even safer place to work and learn!

We also heard from our Bargaining Team, who have continued throughout the pandemic to represent our members in negotiations with Admin. This has definitely not been an easy task, and it hasn’t always yielded results we would have preferred, but we feel confident saying that our membership is in a far better position for having made the effort, and having fought for a seat at the table. Impact bargaining is still ongoing, and we are, after almost 8 months of continuous meeting, finally working on written proposals with our Admin counterparts, though we are far from any breakthroughs. We also expect to soon be having hearings with the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board on some of the administration’s Unfair Labor Practices, which  we called out over the summer.

As we all prepare to take a well deserved break, if even for only a brief moment during the Thanksgiving holiday, we want to express our sincerest thanks for you, all of our members. You’ve not only taken it upon yourselves to strive for excellence in your work under daunting circumstances, but you’ve taken on the responsibility of looking out for your colleagues and your community. We are honored to work with each and every one of you!

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

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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 SAFER place to work and learn!

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12 Nov Member Meeting Next Wednesday, 11-18-20 @3pm

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  • Membership Meeting: Members can join our Fall Member Meeting next Wednesday, 11/18/20, from 3-4pm. If you’re not a member, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com to join!
  • Meeting Agenda: We will discuss ongoing pandemic impacts on our work, including your thoughts on teaching, research and service this semester, an update on Impact Bargaining from our Bargaining Team, and efforts moving forward for spring semester.
  • Spring Calendar Survey: The Provost’s office is considering alterations to the spring calendar in response to the pandemic. We will be issuing a brief survey on faculty preferences for possible calendar changes next week.

 

Dear UICUF Members,

We now have a link for you to join our remote member meeting next week. The meeting will be next Wednesday, 11/18/20, from 3-4pm, and all members are encouraged to join us and contribute. At the meeting, we will be broadly discussing how ongoing remote work and the COVID pandemic have affected our work, and members are invited to give your input. We’ll also have a discussion around ongoing impact bargaining, led by our Bargaining Team. As many of you know, bargaining has been ongoing since the pandemic began, and has yielded some important concessions, but with critical caveats, including timelines for many policies set to end soon. Lastly, we will discuss moving forward toward the spring semester, and ideas floated by the provost to alter the academic calendar in an effort to better address the realities of the COVID crisis.

This meeting will be immediately followed by an open meeting of the UICUF Representative Assembly, the legislative body that governs our union alongside our Executive Board. Members are encouraged to stay with us for this session as we discuss current issues and future membership organizing.

Spring Calendar Survey
Many public institutions, including our fellow U of I campuses, have recently moved to alter their spring academic calendars in response to the ongoing pandemic. The Provost’s office appears to be considering similar measures, including the possibility of starting later, offering mental health days throughout the semester, cancelling spring break, and other options to address both potential spread of the virus and the dangers of burnout from long-term remote instruction.

We want to share your input with the provost on the options we’re aware of, so that UIC can make the most informed decisions possible. We will be emailing you a survey early next week, and soliciting comments at the member meeting, so please consider sharing your thoughts!

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06 Nov Democracy in Action

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  • Vote Tallies Continue: Electing our next president is a process that does not end on Election Day, with votes still being counted in a number of key swing states. 
  • Every Vote Matters: With legal challenges already in play, it’s critical that we honor every vote by *counting* every vote, and respecting the results. See below for resources and action networks to help defend our democracy. 
  • Membership Meeting: As we mentioned last week, our Fall Member Meeting will be held remotely, 3-4pm, 11/18/20. Save the date and we will send a link to our members closer to the event. 

 

Dear UICUF Members,

At the time of this writing, the general election is still being tabulated, and the outcome remains uncertain. Significant numbers of legitimately cast votes have yet to be counted and/or reported, and even now, legal maneuvers have been laid out to challenge the outcome. It is UIC United Faculty’s position that the vote counting should continue to completion, and the results respected. Our next president must be decided by our long accepted, if flawed, electoral system, not by legislators or lawyers. It seems increasingly likely that this will mean resisting political pressure to end the count and/or settle the presidential election in a way that side steps the voting outcome and electoral process. 

Many labor and civic organizations are currently preparing to, if needed, push back against efforts to distort or circumvent the results of the election. While we have not at this time committed to any specific actions as a union, we are coordinating with local labor groups, and want our members to have access to participate in planning and actions currently underway.

What’s Happening Locally
There are many labor unions and advocates that are now watching the process to assure democracy is upheld. CTU, SEIU73 and 1600 have made formal statements committing to assure a free and fair election. Also, the AFT made this statement last week. In addition, there is a growing coalition around the US that is organizing under the title Labor Action to Defend Democracy (LADD)

Locally, the Illinois Defense Action Council, a growing group of labor and advocates for democracy, has been meeting to monitor and prepare for action – if needed. UICUF is at this table to learn and discuss what is happening and possible actions such as the rally last night. The intent is to be vigilant but not alarmist.

At this point, the next action being planned in Chicago is a Rally for Democracy in Union Park this Saturday, 11/7, at 1pm. Depending on what is happening, the message will be “continue the count and respect the results.” 

You can also sign up for alerts from the Illinois Defense Action Council by texting “we defend” to 787-753.

Member Meeting
As previously mentioned, we will hold a member meeting on 11/18, 3-4pm. We expect to discuss issues around ongoing impact bargaining and the effects of COVID on our work. We may discuss election issues if it is determined to be necessary at that time.

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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 SAFER place to work and learn!

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29 Oct Survey Says Workloads Have Increased

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  • Workload Survey Results: Among other things, our workload survey has revealed that the vast majority of faculty are working more hours since shifting to remote, most reporting a 5+ hour/week increase.
  • Get Out The Vote: People are voting in record numbers this year, and every vote counts, especially for passage of the Fair Tax. IFT is sponsoring member-to-member GOTV efforts which we highly encourage you to join! See below for details.
  • Racial Equity Letter: UICUF has officially endorsed a letter from the Good Trouble Coalition to UIC admin, following up on and standing firm on demands to address racial justice and equity issues at UIC. We invite and encourage you to sign in support as well!
  • Membership Meeting: As we mentioned last week, our Fall Member Meeting will be held remotely, 3-4pm, 11/18/20. Save the date and we will send a link to our members closer to the event!

 

Dear UICUF Members,

Over the last two weeks, we’ve been running a survey on workloads and how they’ve changed since faculty moved predominantly to remote work. 22% of our bargaining unit (317 faculty) responded, representing all colleges and most departments. The results indicate major, widespread impacts to both how much work faculty are doing, and the kind of work they are required to do.

Longer Hours Have Become The Norm
Probably the biggest single outcome from the survey is a confirmation that the vast majority of faculty are working considerably more hours per week than prior to the remote shift. 84% said they are regularly working at least an hour more per week than they did before the pandemic, but tellingly, 59% said they are working five or more hours a week beyond their previous norms. This extra work seems to come in the form of having larger class sizes for many, but we’ve also heard indications that faculty are spending much more time on service responsibilities, course prep, and especially support for (frequently distressed) students. Many have indicated that this extra work comes at the expense of research time which may critically impact their careers.

Erosions of Academic Freedom
We’ve also found that, despite the university unequivocally stating faculty will not be required to record classes, or teach in specific formats, this message does not seem to have reached all departments. 28% said they were required to record, 17% said they were required to teach synchronously, and 16% said they were required to teach asynchronously. We are looking into these reports and encourage faculty to let us know if they are being required to do any of the above so we can work to address these academic freedom issues. Email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

Failures of Shared Governance
Per our current contract, all departments must develop a workload policy based on input from faculty via an open and transparent shared governance process. With the vast majority of faculty saying they know of no such policy, or that these policies don’t exist in their department, it is now clear that the university has failed to live up to their fundamental commitments, both to shared governance and transparency. We are currently discussing adding online teaching expectations to such workload policies at the bargaining table. It remains clear that for protections to be effective, they need to be addressed both by unit administrators and faculty.

If you need help kick-starting the process of reviewing or developing language for workload policies, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com

GOTV
With less than a week before election day, there are still options to help get out the vote! Every vote counts, especially for passage of the Fair Tax, which we and our union affiliates have endorsed. Below, you can find a variety of options to volunteer for voter outreach with IFT, calling and texting union members around the state to get out the vote.

Phone volunteers, please contact: Amy Rueff amy.rueff@ilafl-cio.org
Text volunteers, please contact: Bill Looby 217-494-4014 BillL@ilafl-cio.org

Early vote GOTV Oct. 26-30
Statewide virtual phone bank shifts:

  • Thursday, Oct. 29: 11am-2pm/4:30-7:30pm
  • Saturday, Oct. 31: 10am-1pm
  • Monday, Nov. 2: 11am-2pm/4:30-7:30pm
  • Tuesday, Nov. 3: 10am-2pm/2pm-6pm

 

Text bank

  • 26-30: Noon-3pm/3-6pm
  • 31-Nov. 3: Noon-3pm/3-6pm

 

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

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22 Oct Virtual Member Meeting Nov. 18

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  • Membership Meeting: Save the date for our 11/18 Remote Membership Meeting, 3-4pm. A zoom link will be sent to members closer to the meeting date.
  • Workload Survey: Don’t forget to fill out our 5-question workload survey! We’ve already received great feedback about how workloads are changing due to remote work, and your response will help us advocate for better faculty conditions moving forward.
  • Comment on Visa Rules: You still have 4 days to comment on the draconian visa restrictions proposed by DHS. You can learn more about the visa restrictions and how to comment from our previous post on the subject.
  • VOTE!: Voting is underway, so make a voting plan if you haven’t already, and vote “YES” on a Fair Tax. We covered the Fair Tax, including exact legislative language, in a previous post.

 

Dear UICUF Members,

Our Fall Membership Meeting will be held remotely via Zoom, from 3-4pm on November 18th, and will be immediately followed by a meeting of our Representative Assembly, the elected voting legislative body of our union. At the Membership Meeting  we will discuss ongoing impact bargaining, findings of our workload study, and other contemporary issues.  All members are encouraged to participate in the member meeting, and stay for the Assembly session afterwards. All union meetings are always open to all members.

Workload Survey
We’ve already received 200 responses and need your input to get a clearer picture of how workloads and working conditions are changing due to COVID and remote learning. This will inform our ongoing impact bargaining over pandemic-related issues, and it’s only 5 questions, so please take a moment to fill it out. See link in the bullets above to take the survey. Results will be shared in future communications and at the upcoming membership meeting.

Visa Rule Public Comments
As we discussed last week, our international students may suffer considerable setbacks in pursuing their degrees if the newly proposed visa rules from DHS take effect. Students are likely to experience interruptions in their visa eligibility, and some may effectively be forced out of their programs entirely. Among the worst effects, students will be limited to 4- or even 2-year visas, despite at least a quarter of undergrads, and a majority of PhD students taking more than 4 years to complete a degree. See the link in the bullets above to learn more and make your public comment.

Voting
The vast majority of our members vote regularly, but in an election year where every vote counts, we feel it’s our duty to remind you to get to the polls one way or another. You can easily find information about polling places and/or mail-in voting via the Illinois State Government website.

And of course, it’s no secret that we have endorsed the Fair Tax. You can find our extensive coverage, including exact legislative language, in the link posted in the bullets above. In short, a “YES” vote for a Fair Tax will produce billions in needed state revenues, while reducing taxes on virtually all of our members and on the vast majority of Illinois tax-payers. Speculation that it will open the door to other types of tax hikes, including taxing retirement income, are unfounded. Retirement income is protected in state law, and the Fair Tax does nothing to change that.

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

***

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 SAFER place to work and learn!

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16 Oct Help Our Students Fight New Visa Restrictions

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  • Proposed DHS Rules Will Harm Our Students: The proposed rules will severely limit visa durations and create significant if not insurmountable barriers to degree completion for current and future international students.
  • Your Public Comment Can Make a Difference: Public comments are open until 10/26. Comments can delay or derail rules that adversely affect our students. We strongly encourage you to submit a comment (here or here) ASAP. See below for more info.
  • Workload Survey: UICUF will be running a brief survey via direct email next Wednesday to determine how the pandemic and remote work are affecting faculty workloads. You can respond to the survey now if preferred!

 

Dear UICUF Members,

We are writing today to alert you to a developing situation that could adversely affect our international students. Some of you may recall a push by the White House and Homeland Security this summer to severely limit student visas, an effort which was halted in the courts after being challenged by many higher education institutions before going into effect. Unfortunately, a new effort to limit student visas is underway right now, and our students, via the organization International Students Supporting Each Other (ISSEO), are sounding the alarm and asking for our help.

What Do The New Rules Do?
Very briefly, the new proposed rules will limit students to 4- or 2-year academic visas, despite the fact that at least 25% of undergrads and a majority of PhD students take longer than 4 years to complete their degrees. The proposal will also require renewing the visa through Citizenship and Immigration Services, rather than allowing students’ educational institutions to extend their student status. USCIS is already struggling under extraordinary backlogs which can delay proceedings by months or even years–due in no small part to the systematic understaffing and underfunding of immigration courts. This could make it difficult if not impossible to maintain a consistent student status, which will force many international students to discontinue their studies. You can review a great deal more information on the rules proposed, and how to support our students, in the ISSEO’s Call To Action Guide.

Submit a Public Comment to Support Our Students
UICUF intends to submit an institutional comment, but our students have asked that we all individually submit public comments, which together can delay, restrict, or build a case for dropping the proposal entirely. The action guide linked above can offer more details.

If you have questions or just want to take action in a supportive environment, ISSEO is hosting a Comment Party next Monday:

What: ISSEO Public Comment Party
When: Monday, October 19th
Time: 5-6 p.m. CST
Where: Zoom (RSVP to receive the event link)
RSVP: http://bit.ly/CmntRSVP2
Questions: Email ISSEO

Upcoming Workload Survey
We have received enough anecdotal reports of increased workloads attributable to the shift from in-person to remote work, that we are going to run a brief, 3-question survey to find out more about the phenomenon. Watch for the survey in your email next Wednesday, or if you prefer, you can fill it out right now!

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

***

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 SAFER place to work and learn!

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07 Oct Bargaining in the Wake of Two More Strikes

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  • 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!

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

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01 Oct Down to Brass Tacks on the Fair Tax

 

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  • UICUF Endorses a Fair Tax for Illinois: UICUF supports the Fair Tax ballot measure. The vast majority of our members (anyone making under $250k) will pay less or the same while the state raises funds vital to public institutions like UIC!
  • The Fair Tax WILL: allow different incomes to be taxed at different rates, like in our federal tax system and 33 other states.
  • The Fair Tax Will NOT: affect retirement income, or allow the legislature to do anything they want. The legislature already has the ability to change overall tax rates, and the Fair Tax will allow the legislature to differentiate tax rates by income.
  • DON’T SKIP THE QUESTION: The Fair Tax ballot measure requires at least 60% approval on the question itself or a majority of those voting in the election. This means that a non-vote is a “no” vote. Vote “YES” to support a Fair Tax.
  • Transparency and Trust: We believe our members will make the best decisions when they are best informed. Therefore, we have included links to the bill synopses and full texts, as well as FAQs below.

 

Dear UICUF Members,

As voting begins in Illinois, we want to remind you that we here at UICUF believe the Fair Tax ballot measure will benefit virtually all of our members, both directly and indirectly. The vast majority of you, those making under $250,000 a year, will pay less or the same in state income tax with the passage of this ballot measure, while some will be able to claim child and property tax credits. Indirectly, this measure will help the state raise funds urgently needed to support public institutions like UIC, and pay the people who work in those institutions.

There is a lot of information and, potentially, misinformation being broadcast right now about this measure and how it works. We’ll attempt to explain some key points in plain english here, and have provided links to the actual synopses and texts of the relevant bills for your further reading at the bottom of this message.

The Ballot Measure
The most immediately important thing to know about the Fair Tax is that it will be on the ballot in this election. It will require at least a 60% “YES” vote on the measure itself to pass, or a “YES” vote from a simple majority of all those voting in this election. This means it is less likely to pass if people skip the question, which is why we encourage you to vote “YES” and if you are uncertain, to do your research and make a decision rather than skip the question.

The ballot measure language describes eliminating a requirement in the Illinois constitution that tax rates be set equally on all taxpayers. This is referred to as a “flat tax.” The elimination of this amendment allows the state to set different rates relative to different income levels, which is the way our federal tax system, and the tax systems of 33 other states already work. You can see the textual changes in the amendment, per joint legislative bill SJRCA0001 here.

The Tax Act Amendment
The ballot measure, in practical terms, simply eliminates the requirement to tax all people at the same rate. An associated bill, already passed and signed, sets new rates, as well as a number of tax credit changes. This is where the new rates which you can check via the state’s rate-calculator, come from. It is not easy to encompass in simple language, but nor should it be viewed as a blank check or a slippery slope. The changes to tax rates are clear and specific, including the fact that those making under $250,000 a year will pay less or the same. You can see the exact text of the bill, SB0687, here.

What’s NOT CHANGING With the Fair Tax
It is very important to understand that the Fair Tax is specific in the changes it makes, and does not affect most of the ways in which taxes are set. Neither the constitutional amendment (which you’ll vote on this fall) nor the associated tax act amendment (already passed), change the legislature’s ability to raise or lower income taxes as a whole. The legislature already has the power to set tax rates. Likewise, there is nothing in this bill that permits the legislature to tax retirement income or any other type of income. Retirement income in particular is shielded by law, and nothing in the Fair Tax will change that.

The Actual Language
We fervently hope you will vote “YES” on the ballot question, and have laid out above why we feel it is the best choice for our members. It is, of course, ultimately up to you to make that choice, and if you wish to further educate yourself about the changes proposed, we want you to have the tools to do that. Below are the bill synopses (full texts accessible through links at the top of each page), along with the ballot language itself. We’ve also included the IFT FAQ for your review:

Illinois General Assembly Synopsis of Constitutional Amendment (Full text linked at top of page)
Illinois General Assembly Synopsis of Tax Act Amendment SB0687

Ballot Measure Actual Language

IFT’s Fair Tax FAQ

No matter what, we strongly urge you to VOTE and do so safely this election cycle. Voting information can be found at the state board of elections website.

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

***

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 SAFER place to work and learn!

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24 Sep SEIU Wins Historic Contract Strike | Admin Concedes on IP Protections

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  • SEIU Wins Historic Contract: SEIU reached tentative agreements on all of their contracts last night, ending their 10-day strike! UIC nurses ended their planned 7 day strike this past weekend, saying they’ve made great strides toward a contract agreement.
  • Admin Extends IP Protections: After UICUF expressed deepening concerns over faculty’s intellectual property rights for online spring classes, admin announced the extension of temporary protections through spring semester.
  • Support a Fair Tax for Illinois!: UICUF has endorsed the Fair Tax, and encourages you to vote YES to the ballot measure. It will offer tax relief to the vast majority of our members (Official Tax Calculator), and fund vital public institutions like UIC!

 

Dear UICUF Members,

At the time of this writing, we are excited to inform you that SEIU has won fair contracts for each of their four bargaining units at UIC! The agreements, finalized late yesterday, mark the culmination of over a year of contract negotiations, and the end of the union’s 10-day strike that mobilized more than 4,000 members to withhold their labor. These workers, deemed essential, and hailed as heroes by UIC, were forced to go on strike to win the professional respect and treatment all workers deserve. The agreement reportedly includes:

 

  • $15/hr pay floor for chicago workers, and across the board raises for each year of the contract
  • Improved access to PPE
  • Commitments to maintain safe staffing levels
  • Protection against outsourcing
  • Hazard pay provisions and equal pay protections

 

Though the strike is over, SEIU members say they are more strongly united than they have been in years. The union membership will now vote on ratifying the contract, and have already committed to carrying their renewed strength into mobilizing support for the elected officials who supported them.

Meanwhile, INA, the union representing UIC nurses, ended their planned 7-day strike over the weekend. They are still negotiating their contract, but members say they have made more progress since authorizing the strike several weeks ago than they had over all the previous months of bargaining.

Victory on Intellectual Property Rights
This week, after significant union pressure, UIC Administrators approved an extension to their temporary policy protecting faculty IP rights when accepting ION and Course Builder assistance. UICUF had raised the alarm over the administration’s reluctance to extend the policy, which asserts that accepting such assistance under normal circumstances would entail faculty giving up licensing rights to their course materials, while creating an exception only for fall semester.

The extension of this policy exception is a victory for faculty who have justifiable concerns over the rights to their course materials, allowing us to sign-up for course prep assistance with peace-of-mind, knowing we are not inadvertently giving away our rights. It is, however, only a temporary solution to an issue that is clearly going to continue resurfacing. We will continue to call on the administration to make explicitly clear where the university believes its licensing rights extend, and to commit to informing faculty before they make decisions that may impact those rights. We view transparency on this issue as not only a matter of fairness, but also a legal imperative that we will fight for on behalf of our members if necessary.

Voting Plans and The Fair Tax
As we’ve written in the past, UIC United Faculty has endorsed the Fair Tax proposal which you will see on your ballot this general election. The Fair Tax and its accompanying legislation will objectively lower state income taxes for the vast majority of our members, while providing an overall tax boost to pay for critical state-funded services, like the University of Illinois system. We encourage you to vote YES for a Fair Tax for Illinois!

Meanwhile, to ensure that you are able to vote and have your vote counted in good order, we recommend starting by creating a simple voting plan. This can be as minimal as confirming the place and time when you intend to cast your ballot, and putting a reminder on your calendar. You may also wish to confirm that your voter registration is up to date, and/or research the candidates and questions that may be presented on your ballot. You can find information on voter registration, voting locations, and more at www.elections.il.gov/.

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

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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 SAFER place to work and learn!

 

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17 Sep Shame: UICUF Appalled by Regressive Strike Breaking Tactics

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SHAME
UICUF Statement Against Regressive Strike Breaking Tactics

UIC United Faculty (UICUF)—the union representing over 1,400 tenured and non-tenured faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago—is disturbed and appalled that the university administration has recruited scabs to substitute for UIC workers exercising their legal right to strike for fair and just contracts.  The university has contracted with firms that specialize in providing strikebreakers, which allegedly includes bringing scabs in from states currently listed on the City of Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order.

Union members in SEIU Local 73 and the Illinois Nurses Association have been working without a contract while risking their own health and safety as frontline hospital workers in the fight against COVID-19.  Rather than negotiate new contracts that recognize the invaluable labor and heroism of their employees, the administration has refused to bargain seriously and, when challenged, turned to scabs.

The administration has in effect refused to treat its unionized workers as members of the university community or even the Chicago community.  The administration has not provided adequate health protections and insists on paying below the city minimum wage on the basis of a technicality, claiming UIC workers are state workers and not workers in Chicago. The city has made clear what a minimum wage for those working in this city must be, yet the administration insists on using a loophole in the law to pay them less.

In these shameful acts the administration is taking a position reminiscent of unscrupulous employers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, before the New Deal.  This is the old deal: take an unsafe job that pays below the minimum wage or be replaced by a scab.  UICUF is ashamed that the UIC administration has taken this regressive position, and has doubled down on defending it with vile strike breaking tactics.  We fully support SEIU 73 and the Illinois Nurses Association in their efforts to achieve  fair and safe contracts.

In Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

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