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12 Jan Provost Consultation on COVID Measures

  • Ongoing Consultation: We met again on Tuesday with Prov. Reyes and an extensive administration team including health experts, and plan to have a follow-up meeting early next week on ongoing COVID measures and remote work. 

  • Return-to-Campus Decisions: Although a final decision and announcement is anticipated next Tuesday, admin expects to return to in-person classes on the 24th. The current 2-week hiatus will serve as a cooldown and observation period after the holiday spread of the Omicron variant.  

  • On-Campus Testing: Capacity is being expanded significantly, and admin highly encourages people to use on-campus testing given the issues many are experiencing seeking off-campus tests. All workers and students should get tested within 72 hours after returning to campus or provide a negative test to UIC Health. Anyone with a documented positive PCR test is exempted from testing for 90 days.
  • Process for Seeking Remote Work Accommodations: As a reminder, current UIC policy allows and encourages unit heads to offer flexible work arrangements to faculty where possible. Accommodations may also be sought through the Office of Access and Equity. Prov. Reyes has committed to reminding unit heads and administrators of this policy. If you have any problems with seeking an accommodation, please let us know immediately.


Dear Colleagues,

As we mentioned in our prior communications on remote work and COVID safety decisions, we met with Provost Reyes on Tuesday, sharing many concerns and questions brought to us by our members over the last week. We covered a variety of topics, including decision-making deadlines, consultation arrangements and transparency, safety measures, and ongoing issues with members seeking remote/flexible work accommodations. We are encouraged both by the powerful eloquence of what we’ve heard from our members, and by the new provost’s willingness to listen to those collective concerns.

Decision-Making Timelines and Thresholds

We pressed the administration to clarify the guidelines it is using to make a back-to-campus decision this semester–and to make that decision as soon as possible. Although the current expectation seems to be that in-person classes will resume on the 24th, the final decision will be made and communicated to the UIC community by the Chancellor, likely by next Tuesday, 1/18. This is a compromise to balance the needs of faculty and students to plan for classes the following week, while giving time for health experts to see how dangers relating to the surge in COVID cases is evolving. 

There is no single metric the administration is considering as a red-line for keeping classes remote, but we did speak extensively with the primary university health expert advising the administration on infectious disease prevention. They are particularly watching hospital capacity, and strongly emphasizing appropriate masking, meaning at least a 2-ply mask that fits well around your face (see below regarding mask enforcement and other mitigation measures). 

Consultation and Transparency 

We expect to meet again with the administration before they make a final decision on returning to campus.  Moreover, the Provost was receptive to our request to hold a town hall meeting next week to explain that decision and any safety measures being put in place. This of course means that we will continue using your input to formulate the union’s positions for that meeting. We strongly encourage you to send thoughts, questions, or concerns to us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. Your input is crucial.

COVID Safety Measures

Aside from the decision to hold classes remotely the first two weeks of the semester, we asked about other safety measures.  Given the challenges facing almost anyone seeking to get tested for COVID, we especially advised that on-campus testing capacity be ramped up dramatically for the foreseeable future. In response, the university will increase testing capacity from 3,000 tests-per-day to 8,000 tests-per-day, and will extend weekday hours for testing to 8am-6pm and possibly later if needed in the first days back. Testing will be available in Student Center East, Student Center West, and at a new location in the Forum. The administration also clarified that students and faculty should get tested within 72 hours after returning to campus, with the understanding that off-campus testing access is uneven at best. If you are able to get tested off-campus, you can still upload your test results to the U of I Health system. As a reminder, you must now also upload your booster information in the same system.

Also, additional work has been done on ventilation to test appropriate airflow and to install HEPA filters where natural airflow was found to be inadequate. You can review the ventilation assessments here.  

In regards to masking, the administration has advised that if you see problematic behavior in the classroom, you can report it directly to the Office of the Dean of Students to report the problem. The administration also says that it may revise its mask policy depending on potential changes in CDC recommendations relating to the effectiveness of specific kinds of masks with Omicron. The current emphasis is on appropriate masking with at least 2-ply masks that fit well over your face. Gators, bandanas, and single-ply cloth masks are believed to be insufficient barriers to COVID transmission at this time. 

Accommodations for Flexible/Remote Work

As an important reminder, university policy gives unit heads the power to offer flexible/remote work accommodations where possible, but also provides for an alternate process through the Office of Access and Equity. The administration agreed to remind Deans and Department Heads of this policy, and clarify responsibilities therein. They also advised us that due to a sudden departure of an OAE staffer, there has been a backlog of accommodation requests. They are aware of the problem and are working to cover outstanding requests ASAP. If you are having problems seeking an accommodation, of course, please let us know at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

The provost also indicated that his office would soon be developing guidelines relating to faculty choice to continue with on-line learning for their courses depending on various circumstances—particularly a large number of student absences.  We expect to be able to consult on such a policy before its announcement. 

Solidarity, and stay safe,

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 Jan Discussions Ongoing on Return to Campus

  • Class Formats in the New Year: First, of course, UICUF wants to wish all our members a very happy new year! At this time, the first two weeks of the semester will be remote.

  • Your Input Matters: Thank you to all who wrote with questions or concerns in the waning days of 2021 about the shift to remote classes. We shared many of these questions (anonymously) directly with Provost Reyes, and will continue to do so. So please continue to share your thoughts.

  • Ongoing Discussions w/the Provost: At this time we are anticipating meeting again with Provost Reyes next Tuesday, 1/11, to discuss implications for a return to campus after the planned two week remote period ends. Again, your input matters very much. Email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com


Dear Colleagues,

We hope you are enjoying the last few days of winter break, and the first days of a new year! 

As we reported in late December, we have been in discussion with Provost Reyes and his team about plans to hold the first two weeks of spring semester remotely because of rising COVID cases. We are pleased with Provost Reyes’s improved communication with UICUF, though we continue to advocate for bringing union representation into the decision-making process earlier to make collaborations more fruitful. 

Member Input is at the Forefront of Our Efforts
Before the break, we asked you for your input as union members on the last-minute decision to go remote for the first two weeks of spring semester, and we want you to know that we shared those concerns (anonymously) directly with the Provost during the winter break. We highly encourage you to continue sharing your thoughts on the evolving situation via email to us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. We will pass on questions, ideas, and concerns directly to the administration anonymously as a general rule. 

Here is a brief summary of the most commonly cited issues members have already brought to us to share with the administration: 

  • Several members expressed concern about the short notice of the decision, and when a follow-up decision would be made to return (or not) to in-person classes. UICUF asserted that the sooner such a decision could be made and announced, the better it would be for faculty planning their classes and other activities.

  • Relatedly, members were concerned as to how the remote versus in-person decision was made and how it will be made in the future. We have asked that decision-making and presumed red-lines for extending remote learning be as transparent as possible, and communicated as early in the process as possible. We’ve also asked that the administration include both the Union and the Senate as plans are formed, as opposed to giving us early notice of decisions that have already been made.

  • Faculty reiterated a concern that has been present since the start of the pandemic about the lack of personal discretion to choose online or in-person work based on their own health needs. Current processes based on a poorly aligned ADA process through the Office of Access and Equity, or based solely on the discretion of Heads and Deans for faculty to opt out of in-person work on a health basis, are inadequate and must be revisited.

  • Members pointed out logistical issues around getting a PCR test in a timely manner in order to return to campus. We have strongly suggested that the on-campus testing system be prepared to handle a massive rise in testing needs in the short-term to accommodate the stated requirements, and not rely on people doing these tests done at home or at potentially unregulated problematic outside testing sites.

Next Steps
We are pleased to say that we do anticipate meeting with Provost Reyes, along with many of the decision-makers in the administration, next Tuesday to discuss future plans for returning to campus, and other implications of the surge in COVID cases. Health professionals in the administration, as well as health professionals among our union leadership will be present. As before, we welcome input ahead of that meeting and will report back ASAP on the proceedings to give you the most timely information possible. 

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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21 Dec Follow Up on Remote Work Announcement

  • First Two Weeks of Spring Term are Remote: Per the recent email announcement this morning to all faculty, most classes are now expected to meet remotely for the first two weeks of Spring Semester.

  • Consultation with the Union: While UICUF was not directly involved in this policy decision, we are pleased to say that Provost Reyes did consult with us before releasing it. We concur with the general intent to pursue the safest return to campus possible.

  • Questions and Concerns: Upon reading the announcement (the first we’ve seen of the actual policy) we believe there are both questions and potential concerns to address regarding implementation. We highly encourage members to reach out with your own thoughts at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com so that we can share them with the Administration.   


Dear Colleagues,

Since our last message on Friday, we’ve learned that most classes will be moving back to remote formats for the first two weeks of Spring Semester. An official announcement from the administration this morning confirmed some of the details of this decision. Though some types of classes, such as labs and clinics, will be exempted, we are operating on the assumption that the vast majority of students and faculty will be off campus through this initial period. 

Though UICUF was not involved directly in the decision-making process, we were consulted before release of the announcement, and offered some input. The union agrees with the broad strokes of the decision and its efforts toward our shared goal of ensuring the safest possible return to classes after the winter break. We do, however, have a number of important questions around the specifics of implementation, which we intend to follow up on, sharing any response as soon as possible. 

Notably, the decision-making process related to such policies remains somewhat unclear, and though the union and the Senate were consulted, those consultations occurred only briefly before the announcement was made. Nor did we have an opportunity to see the specifics of the announcement before it went out. We are pleased that the administration has opted for transparency with the union at this stage. At the same time, we hope to move closer to genuine shared decision-making on issues that affect conditions of work for our members. 

We also see no specific indication of how or when a decision will be made to extend, or end, this remote-work period. As our members must plan and prepare class materials in a potentially quite different way based on such a decision, we believe a clear set of contingencies–and as much advance notice as possible–are the minimum necessary to ensure classes can proceed without any more disruption than necessary. 

Finally, we’re aware that there will be questions and concerns about certain exceptions to the general policy, such as the Library, along with other specific details from the announcement. We strongly encourage our members to email us ASAP with your thoughts so that we can pass on concerns to the administration. UICUF will, of course, continue to represent our members on this issue as events develop.  We will monitor our email over the holidays to keep on top of this, though there may be a short delay in responses due to limited staff coverage through the winter break. 

If you have any thoughts or questions, please share them with us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com or your unit representative. 

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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09 Dec Bargaining Team And Survey Extension

  • Bargaining Team Appointments: Our Executive Board this week officially appointed our new Bargaining Team, including Co-Chairs Aaron Krall (Senior Lecturer, English) and Xochitl Bada Garcia (Associate Professor, Latin American & Latino Studies)!

  • Bargaining Survey Extended: The committee has decided to extend the bargaining survey to 12/16 to give as many people as possible a chance to complete it. We have heard from hundreds of our colleagues, but every response matters! Those who haven’t responded may receive an email and/or text reminder this week.

  • FAST Fund: We continue to raise money for the FAST Fund, and we are at ~$4,400 raised to help students in need. The Fund has already sent out $5k in the first round of aid offerings, and will do another round in the new year. The fund is volunteer run and all money (minus processing fees) goes directly to UIC students in need. 


Dear Colleagues,

We are excited to announce that the Bargaining Committee has been officially appointed by our Executive Board, and given the charge of preparing for contract negotiations in the spring semester. Of course, some members of the team have been meeting since October, but we now welcome on board our new Bargaining Co-Chair, Xotchitl Bada Garcia, Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies, who will be working alongside our returning Co-Chair, Aaron Krall, Senior Lecturer, English.

It is not too late to join the team! Bargaining is an all-hands process, and we welcome faculty to join us, even if you may not necessarily wish to be at the negotiating table. There are many topics to research and work on, and we encourage broad participation. If you’d like to help with bargaining in any capacity, email UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com and a staffer will get in touch to discuss how you can best apply your efforts! 

Survey Extension
As a reminder, if you haven’t seen the survey at all, it may have fallen into a Spam or Promotions folder, especially if you use Gmail. If you’ve checked there, and still can’t find the link, email us and we’ll troubleshoot getting you the survey ASAP. 

If you have trouble accessing the survey, email us ASAP at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com 

As a reminder, the survey is completely anonymous and results will be used in aggregate to inform our bargaining positions. On average, members have needed just 17 minutes to complete the survey.  

FAST Fund Update
We are continuing our fund drive to support UIC students in need through our new FAST Fund, which distributes small amounts of quick cash for emergency expenses. We are now at $4,400 (at the time of this writing), and are so grateful to all the members who have contributed so far! 

You can donate to the FAST fund here if you would like to help: https://givebutter.com/uic

A new round of aid will be distributed in the new year, and we will let you know when applications will open again so that you can inform your students!

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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02 Dec Bargaining Survey Closes on Monday 12/6

  • Complete Your Bargaining Survey by Monday: Our bargaining survey period is coming to a close this Monday, 12/6/21. Your input is important to the union as we determine the most pressing issues for bargaining in the Spring, so we encourage you to complete the survey ASAP!


  • “I Didn’t Get The Survey”: Some members report having trouble receiving or finding the survey. Most often, this is because the survey went to a spam or promotions folder. In other cases, we may have an incorrect email, or there may be another technical issue. If you have any trouble finding or accessing the survey, email us for prompt assistance.


  • FAST Fund Giving: We’re happy to announce that members have contributed over $3k to the FAST Fund to support students in need for Giving Tuesday. As a reminder, the fund distributed $5k to students in just a few days earlier this semester, and will be assessing new applications in the new year. You can donate to the fund here

Dear Colleagues,

We just want to briefly remind you of the importance of completing your bargaining survey before the survey closes on Monday, 12/6/21. As we’ve discussed in previous messages, this survey gives us insight into the conditions you work under, and gives you an opportunity to voice your needs and ideas about what our next contract negotiation should cover. Our bargaining team is now meeting regularly to prepare for those negotiations, which we anticipate starting in the Spring Semester.   

Of course, some members have reported issues accessing the survey. By far the most common issue is the survey being sent to a spam or promotions folder, so we encourage you to check there for messages from UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com if you have not seen a survey link yet. If you still can’t find the link, email us at the address above and we’ll troubleshoot getting you the survey ASAP. 

If you have trouble accessing the survey, email us ASAP at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com 

As a reminder, the survey is completely anonymous and results will be used in aggregate to inform our bargaining positions. On average, members have needed just 17 minutes to complete the survey.  

FAST Fund Update

As many of you know, we recently created the FAST Fund to support students with small amounts of fast cash (usually around $200) for necessities like groceries, utilities, or making the rent. We had to close initial applications for support after just a couple of days because the need was so great that we quickly sent out the entirety of the $5k the FAST fund started with. 

Since then, members have graciously contributed more than $3k in additional funding, and you can donate to the fund here if you would like to help: https://givebutter.com/uic. Even small contributions help, and because we are completely volunteer-staffed, we are pleased to say that 100% of the money you give will go directly to UIC students in need. There is also plenty of work to do, so if you are interested in volunteering, email us at uicuf.fastfund@gmail.com

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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19 Nov Bargaining Survey Now Live

  • Bargaining Survey is Now Live: Members should have received a link via Survey Monkey yesterday to participate in our bargaining survey. Please let us know if you have any trouble finding or accessing the survey at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.


  • Taking the Survey: Your input will directly impact our bargaining positions. The survey takes 15-20 minutes to complete, and your responses are anonymous.


  • FAST Fund Update: Our newly created FAST Fund, set up to aid students in need, has already distributed the entire $5,000 initial fund in just the first few days of operation, and we are now taking a pause to do more fundraising. You can donate to the fund here


  • Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Rally: Our members participated in a rally against sexual harassment and discrimination with UIC GEO yesterday. This is a major issue that is being addressed in GEO contract negotiations right now. Pics below! 

Dear Colleagues,

Our bargaining survey is now live, and we’ve already heard from many of our members! We strongly encourage you to participate if you haven’t done so already, so the union can better understand the issues you face ahead of contract negotiations next spring. Members should have received a link to the survey in their email from Survey Monkey yesterday morning, 9am, 11/17/21.  

If you have trouble accessing the survey, email us ASAP at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com 

The survey should take only 15-20 minutes to complete, and your responses are anonymous. The bargaining team will use the results to guide decisions on bargaining positions and proposals. 

FAST Fund Update

We launched our FAST fund to help cover students’ costs on Monday and by Wednesday evening had given out the full $5,000 we started with. Thank you to everyone who shared the application with your students. We have temporarily paused new applications for aid while we fundraise more money to give out! We know that our students have a lot of financial needs, and we hope to be able to continue helping them meet those needs. You can donate to the fund here: https://givebutter.com/uic

Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Rally

Faculty members joined grad students in the Quad despite inclement weather yesterday to demand the administration act on protections against sexual harassment and discrimination. The UIC Graduate Employee Organization currently has several proposals on the table in their contract negotiations that seek to address these issues, which we covered in a prior communication. UICUF will likely consider our own proposals on these topics in our contract negotiations, coming in Spring 2022. 

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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17 Nov Announcing the UIC United Faculty FAST Fund for Students

Square format FAST FUND_11-12_21_FINAL

Dear Colleagues,

We’re excited to announce a new UICUF-run fund to help UIC undergraduates cover costs necessary to help them complete their education! A joint project between our parent union, the American Federation of Teachers, and the non-profit Believe in Students, the FAST Fund allows faculty unions to quickly give out small grants to help students cover costs like childcare, rent, car repair, medical expenses, licensure fees, or anything else that will help support their education.

UIC’s FAST fund is now live and accepting both applications and donations. If you know a student who needs assistance, please direct them to: bit.ly/UIC-fast. If you would like to donate to the fund, you can do so at: givebutter.com/uic. If you want to join the FAST Fund committee or help in some other way, please reach out to us. We encourage you to share this widely, especially with your students.

Solidarity,

UIC United Faculty FAST Fund Committee
Celeste Janusewksi, Chair (Occupational Therapy)
Kim O’Neil (English)
Michael Scott (Mechanical & Industrial Engineering)

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12 Nov Bargaining Survey Coming Wednesday

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  • Union Members Will Receive Our Survey Wednesday: UICUF will be sending our bargaining survey out by email on Wednesday, 11/17/21. Input on bargaining priorities is a privilege of union membership. If you ae seeing this message, you are likely not a union member. You can join the union via our website.
  • Why Take the Survey: Our bargaining survey is one of the most important ways for our bargaining team to assess what our members want ahead of contract negotiations coming in spring 2022. It will directly influence union proposals and priorities when we negotiate everything from pay to workloads, professional development to retention.
  • Listening Sessions: Another way we seek input from our members is through listening sessions, set up in collaboration with members in each unit, where union representatives meet with members to learn about their experiences and priorities for the coming year. If you’d like to help us set up a listening session, email us.
  • Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Rally: As discussed in past emails, UICUF will join our grad worker colleagues for a rally in the Quad around greater workplace protections in cases of harassment and discrimination on Wednesday, 11/17, from 12:30-1:30pm. Mark your calendar!

 

Dear Colleagues,

It’s time once again for union members to participate in our Bargaining Survey. As we’ve mentioned in the past, our current union contract will expire in August of 2022. We anticipate starting our negotiations with the UIC Administration this coming spring semester. The Bargaining Survey helps us identify and gauge interest in issues ranging from pay raises to workloads, retention, professional development, and much more.

Join the Union Now to Participate in Our Bargaining Survey and Support Contract Negotiations in 2022

Members will receive an invitation to participate in the survey via email this coming Wednesday. The survey will be administered through Survey Monkey. All answers are anonymous, and the survey should take you only about 20 minutes to complete. Members will have until 12/6 to complete the survey.

As a reminder, weighing in on bargaining priorities is a privilege of union membership, as is voting to ratify the final contract after it has been negotiated by the bargaining team. Responses will be read by the bargaining team, and directly influence the team’s positions, proposals, and priorities when we meet with administration to negotiate a contract on behalf of UIC faculty.

Listening Sessions
While the bargaining survey is one of our most important tools for reaching as many members as possible, we will also do more focused Listening Sessions by department or college, in collaboration with our members in each unit. We are looking for members who are able to help set up these meetings for union representatives and bargaining team members to speak directly with members in your departments. If you’re interested in having a union representative speak with your unit about contract bargaining, please email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com and we will work with you to set up a session!

Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Rally
UICUF is dedicated to making UIC a safer place to learn, which we believe includes confronting discrimination, harassment, and bullying in the workplace. We will be joining UIC GEO for a rally supporting these goals in the quad on Wednesday, 11/17, from 12:30-1:30pm. Mark your calendar and join us! If you have a story of your own to tell, please let us know. We are here to support you in any way that we can

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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04 Nov A Word on Union Raises and Dues

  • How Our Raises Stack Up: Over the last 4 years, our union contract mandated 4% annual raise pools (2% merit, 2% compression/equity) for our bargaining units. Using the Gray Book for comparison, we’ve found that UIUC faculty, UIC Medical School Faculty, and most UIC Administrators, received far less, including no raises at all in 2020.
  • 1% Pays for It All: Union dues for UICUF are 1% of your salary. It may sound like a lot, but if you’ve ever received 1% more in a single year than you would’ve without a union contract, your union colleagues have already won you enough to pay almost the full cost of those dues…for life.
  • Why Dues Matter: We couldn’t negotiate or enforce our contract effectively without dues. Our union is an opportunity to pool our resources to win better working conditions. It allows us to maintain an office and professional staff, train members and leaders, and maintain a legal fund. This is how we win strong contracts and protect our members.

  • How We Win: A new round of contract negotiations is coming in Spring 2022, and we are already preparing. Union dues and active membership together are what give us the power to push for better working conditions in a process that is responsive to faculty needs, not just accept the status quo.

 

Will you join your union colleagues as a member today?

UNION MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION
You can join online in less than 5 minutes, and a union representative will confirm receipt of your membership application within a working day. Dues are deducted through payroll each month.

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

Today, we’re going to just talk about the money: contractually mandated raise pools and union dues. In the video above, our Treasurer Michael Scott, Associate Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, talks about how our raises stacked up and how dues money made it possible to win those raises.

 

Did you know that according to the Gray Book most non-union UIC employees were given no raises last academic year? That includes Medical School faculty, and Administrators. Same with non-union UIUC faculty. This year, they received only 2% raise pools, even as state and federal funds covered the vast majority of unusual costs related to COVID, the U of I endowment posted record gains, and enrollments hit yet another record high.

 

Faculty covered by the UIC United Faculty contract, by contrast, benefitted from 4% annual raise pools (2% merit, and 2% compression/equity) every year since 2018. We also negotiated higher minimum salaries for all ranks. Further, we have raised the floor for faculty pay from $30k/year to $50k/year since our first contract’s effective date in 2012. We also negotiated 10% minimum raises on promotion, and guaranteed professional development funds, and protected the majority of those funds from clawbacks during the height of the COVID pandemic.

 

All of this is to say that if you’re reading this, you’ve almost certainly benefited financially from our union contract, and we’re proud of the work union members have done to win on bread-and-butter issues for all faculty.

 

1% Pays For It All

Of course, the union difference is only possible because of our active and dues paying members. Dues for UICUF are 1% of pay, typically deducted from payroll each month. That may sound like a lot, but consider that this 1% is money the union’s efforts have already put in your pocket.

 

If you’ve ever received a 1% raise that you wouldn’t have without our union contract, you’ve

virtually made back the equivalent of your union dues, not just that year, but for the rest of your career.

 

Let’s compare what happened over the last four years of our union contract to the Campus Wage raises for non-union employees using a simple starting salary of $100. First, the salaries for people without a union contract:

NO CONTRACT 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Total
Previous Salary $100 $102 104.04 $104.04
Campus Wage Raise Pool 2% 2% 0% 2%
New Salary $102 $104.04 $104.04 $106.12 $416.22

 

Now, the salaries for people with our actual union contract:

WITH CONTRACT 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 Total
Previous Salary $100 $104 108.16 $112.49
Contract Raise Pool 4% 4% 4% 4%
New Salary $104 $108.16 $112.49 $116.99 $441.64
Dues $1.04 $1.08 $1.12 $1.17 $4.41
Net after Dues $102.96 $107.08 $111.37 $115.82 $437.23

 

You might notice that not only did the union contract bring in significantly higher raises, but that take-home pay was also a lot more even after deducting union dues. In fact, dues rise by only a penny on the dollar when a union member gets a raise, meaning the first time you get a 1% raise you wouldn’t have received without the union contract, your dues are virtually paid up for life.

 

Why Dues Matter

Simply put, the union can’t operate without dues money. Dues pay for our local staff and office, as well as the cost of training for our members and leaders. Dues allow us to sustain a legal defense fund for protecting our members and enforcing the contract. And dues contribute to the larger labor movement, including our affiliates, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Teachers, and American Association of University Professors, where we regularly turn for crucial expertise and resources.

 

Our union is an opportunity to pool our resources, to have a meaningful voice that our administration cannot ignore in the way that it could an individual faculty member. And it is the commitment of members, both as dues payers and active participants, that gives us the power to win strong contracts and protect those victories through hard times.

 

To all our fellow union members, it’s thanks to you that we have a strong voice at UIC, and have enjoyed the benefits of progressively better union contracts over the years.

 

If you are not yet a member, and you’ve read this far, will you consider joining all your union colleagues who make our faculty union possible?

 

UNION MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION

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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01 Nov Fighting Harassment, Discrimination, with Union Contracts

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  • UIC Grad Workers Lead the Way: UIC GEO, the graduate workers union, is leading the way in negotiating new and badly needed contract protections against workplace sexual harassment, discrimination, and bullying. These issues affect all of us at UIC and we’re proud to support UIC GEO in this cause.
  • Status Quo: Currently, complaints go to the university’s Office of Access and Equity (OAE), notorious for their slow and equivocal responses to issues, which rarely address the individual’s concerns. 

  • Proposal-At-A-Glance: GEO is proposing practical changes, including guaranteed accommodations to protect those experiencing harm (regardless of whether/how an OAE investigation proceeds), options to file complaints via union grievance procedures, and an end to mandatory reporting that limits survivors’ autonomy.
  • Joint Rally Supporting Anti-Harassment/Anti-Discrimination Proposals: UICUF will join our grad worker colleagues for a rally in the Quad around greater workplace protections in these cases on Wednesday, 11/17, from 12:30-1:30pm.

Sexual Harassment and Discrimination GEO proposal

Dear Colleagues,

 

As we discussed last week, our colleagues in the graduate workers’ union, UIC GEO, are currently bargaining their next contract. We are preparing for our own next round of negotiations, anticipated to begin this spring, and are watching the proceedings with keen interest.

 

Among their current set of proposals, we think those dealing with sexual harassment, discrimination, and bullying bear particular note. In our own experience, current university policy is woefully inadequate in these areas.The process by which complaints are filed, reviewed, and addressed leaves much to be desired.

 

Here are some of the proposed fixes that GEO is bringing to the table:

 

  • Guaranteed workplace accommodations to move those experiencing harm out of toxic situations without requiring formal reporting to OAE
  • An end to mandatory reporting, which takes autonomy away from survivors of sexual harassment or assault and drives a wedge between them and potentially supportive colleagues
  • Expanded protections for workers who do choose to file formal reports with OAE
  • The option to pursue sexual harassment or discrimination complaints through the union grievance process instead of filing with OAE, giving them clearly structured procedures and timelines
  • Expanded definitions of sexual harassment and more groups protected from discrimination
  • New language on workplace bullying and discriminatory harassment

 

These proposals aim to give those affected by harassment, discrimination or bullying more support for getting out of bad situations, while maintaining autonomy over who they can talk to and how they can address an issue. They also ensure, with the backing of union contract enforcement, that protections for complainants are automatic, and not tied to the outcome of an adversarial investigation, or a punitive outcome for those named in a complaint.

 

Importantly, adding these options does not remove or invalidate the option to engage in formal reporting through OAE, but does give those affected more alternatives if they feel that process is not appropriate for their situation.

 

If you have questions about how these proposals will work, or how they might affect faculty, you can reach a union representative by emailing UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com with any questions.

 

Rally to Support Anti-Harassment/Discrimination/Bullying Proposals

UIC United Faculty will join UIC GEO for a rally in the Quad on Wednesday, 11/17, from 12:30-1:30pm, in support of these groundbreaking proposals. GEO has also invited our members to speak on their own experiences with sexual harassment, discrimination, and/or bullying at UIC. These are issues that affect every worker on campus, so please mark your calendar and drop by for the rally!

 

If you are willing to speak on your own experiences, please contact us confidentially at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

 

Solidarity,

UIC United Faculty

 

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We hold a regular office hour from 12-1pm Wednesday each week. Use the following link to add it to your calendar:

Wednesday 12-1pm

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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