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02 Aug Know Your Contract – Technology

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  • Our union contract guarantees new computers for faculty every four years
  • Replacements should occur on or before August 1st
  • Computers can be chosen from ACCC supported options up to $1,500 + 3 year extended warranty (for a total 4 year warranty)
  • Faculty are also entitled to classroom technology and printing support at all hours during which courses are scheduled, starting 30 minutes before the first class of the day
  • This entry refers to Articles VII of the 2018-2022 NTT contract and TT contract
  • Help welcome new faculty to UIC, the afternoon of August 21st. Sign up here.

No matter what field you work in, technology is an inseparable part of life at a modern university. In light of this reality, we’ve negotiated in our union contract to ensure that every faculty member has access to both a personal computer for their day-to-day work, as well as robust support for technology in the classroom. In this entry, we discuss what the contract has to say about your rights regarding workplace technology.

How Does The UIC Computer Program Work?
Per article VII.E of our contract:

“The University will provide each bargaining unit position a new computer not to exceed $1,500 (plus the cost of a three-year extended warranty) to be chosen from a set of available and supported configurations from the campus office of Academic Computing and Communications Center (ACCC).”

This is fairly straightforward. All faculty should be able to choose a computer which the university will provide, along with a 3 year extended warranty. To be extra-clear, the 3 year warranty is an extension over the standard 1 year warranties, so you should have a total of 4 years coverage. Also, the $1,500 limit is for the computer itself. The additional cost of extended warranties, where applicable, will be covered by the university in addition to this limit, not within it.

Can I Get A Computer If I Am A Visiting Or Adjunct Faculty Member?
Yes, as long as you are in our bargaining unit. Per the above contract language, the university must provide a computer for each position within the unit regardless of title, tenure, or performance. If your position is only in-unit intermittently because your percentage appointment is subject to change from semester-to-semester, you should still be entitled to a computer, at least during the time you are counted in the bargaining unit.

If you are unsure of your bargaining unit status, or feel you are being denied access to a computer inappropriately, contact us ASAP at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

Do I Own This Computer?
No. While the computer is provided for your exclusive use by the university, its important to recognize that it is still university property. This has a number of implications. First, if you leave the university for any reason, you do have to return the computer. Second, you should use this computer, even if it is a laptop that you take home at the end of the day, in accordance with the norms of conduct befitting a workplace.

When Can I Replace An Old Computer?
If your university-provided computer is more than 4 years old, you are entitled to a replacement. Technically, your department should have already initiated this process back in January, and you should have received your new computer on or before August 1st.

If you need to seek a replacement computer, you should start by asking within your own department. If for any reason you have trouble obtaining a new/replacement computer to which you are contractually entitled, contact us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

When Will Classroom Support Be Available?
Over the last year or two, the union has received a number of complaints that classroom support was not available throughout the day. Especially with the move to incorporate classes later in the evening, we prioritized negotiating for extended classroom support in the new contract.

Per article VII.F:

“The University shall provide classroom support during all hours in which courses are scheduled, including access to printers and technology support for classrooms with sufficient on-campus staff to facilitate timely support.  This support shall commence at least a half hour before courses are scheduled.”

So in short, faculty should be able to expect support during or immediately before their classes meet, regardless of how early or late the class is scheduled. Printer access is also guaranteed. If you have trouble getting service in a timely manner, you can let us know at UICUnitedFacutly@gmail.com.

What About Intellectual Property?
While this is slightly tangential to the technology support in our contract, we did seek to head off some questions regarding ownership rights in relation to third-party agreements the university has with vendors, like Blackboard. Per Article VII.G:

“In accordance with the University of Illinois Statutes and General Rules Concerning University Organization and Procedures, faculty members shall retain ownership rights to traditional academic copyrightable work.”  

This essentially reaffirms standing rules, but the underlying context is important. The university or its agents (read: administrators) cannot use third-party agreements to appropriate your work. If you suspect that your work is being used inappropriately without your permission, you should contact the union ASAP.

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

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02 Jul Understanding the Recent Message on Health Insurance

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  • State employees’ health plans offered by UIC are changing. See our review of the impact on your health plan for details.
  • A special enrollment period will be offered by UIC this Fall, specifics TBD
  • Thanks to union (AFSCME) negotiations, state employees’ premiums have not increased over the past 5 years versus a 20% average increase in premiums nationally
  • Cost increases will average $13/month for employees, $18/month for dependents each year starting Jan 1, 2020
  • The 4% average raises secured in our contract will keep most faculty well ahead of rising health costs

 

Faculty, along with other UIC employees, will have likely just received an email from the University of Illinois Human Resources department, explaining that your health insurance plans are about to change. This email unfortunately lacked significant details about the nature of those changes, and we want to add context so that our members can continue to enjoy their summer and their 4th of July holiday without undue concern.

Most importantly, our union affiliates at IFT have supplied detailed information about the changes to your health coverage hinted at in the HR email, so that you can track exactly what will happen to your health plan. If you wish, you can use this information to opt for a new plan during the upcoming Special Enrollment Period, which UIC has pledged to offer during Fall Semester.

We also want to clarify that it is due to union negotiations, via the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), that state employees have enjoyed a period free of premium increases over the last 5 years. The increases anticipated pursuant to the ratification of their new contract will begin January 1, 2020, and will average $13/month for employees, and $18/month for dependents each year for the next 4 years. Our own negotiations this year, which will yield, on average, 4% annual raises for faculty, should keep most members’ pay well ahead of these increases, and we do retain the option to reopen our contract to negotiate on health coverage should premiums rise at unsustainable levels (Article VI.C.2).

 

We hope this information helps you better understand upcoming changes to your health care costs and options, and invite you to email us directly if you have further questions, at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

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

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21 Feb Are Faculty Naive?

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  • 120 faculty met yesterday to discuss bargaining, UIC finances, and our values.
  • Faculty proposals further UIC’s education mission at a tiny fraction of revenue surplus.
  • BARGAINING SESSION 18: Fri, 2/22, 1-4pm @SCE Tower, Rm 603
  • ORGANIZER TRAININGS: Open to all interested members, Mon, 2/25, 3-5pm and Tues, 2/26, 12-2pm @UICUF offices 1016W. Jackson Blvd.


120 union members met yesterday to discuss contract bargaining, university finances, and our shared values. For many attending, the budget figures we looked at were revelatory, as was the reality of Administration’s resistance to faculty proposals.

Admin negotiators have repeatedly asserted that faculty are acting naively at the bargaining table, that the finances are set and nothing can be changed. But if naivete means believing a better university is possible, or challenging Admin’s narrow view of what’s possible in a labor contract, the energy in the room yesterday suggests we have a whole lot of naive faculty at UIC.

Naive to Think Education is a Priority?
Our economic proposals represent less than 2% of the university’s revenue surplus this year–yet we are naive to think that education, and those who work to provide it, should be a priority in a university’s budget. Administration warns (read: threatens) tuition hikes and lay-offs if salaries rise, even though the latest financial reports describe a very healthy balance sheet for UIC. Additionally, Gov. Pritzker just proposed a 5% increase in higher education funding, and states have been reversing spending cuts for over a year now (the trend is still going strong). Admin would have us believe they need maximum flexibility in case we regress into abject austerity, recent news notwithstanding. How naive do they think we are?

A Naivete Worth Fighting For
So when Administration points to our proposals for fair salaries, for hiring faculty to keep up with enrollment, for protecting shared governance and academic freedom, and calls us naive, maybe they’re right. We believe UIC can do better. We believe education should be a funding priority. We believe faculty deserve more from a labor contract. That’s the kind of naivete worth fighting for.

No Substitute for Experience
The best way to know the truth of something is to experience it first hand. Come to our bargaining session tomorrow, Friday, 2/22/19, 1-4pm @Student Center East Tower, Room 603. Over 100 members have come to observe and caucus with the team to date, and we encourage you to join us in this eye-opening experience. If you cannot attend bargaining, consider training with the UICUF organizing team around contract action issues. Trainings will be held Monday, 2/25, from 3-5pm and Tuesday, 2/26, from 12-2pm at the UICUF offices (1016W. Jackson Blvd). RSVP to UICUFJeff@gmail.com if you are able to attend either event.

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Until we win a fair contract, we will be issuing regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and here 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 can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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25 Jan Tentative Movement in Negotiations, Long Journey Still Ahead

UICUF WEHEARTUIC

  • UICUF and Admin teams make good-faith moves on some articles
  • Admin still seeking to curtail key proposals on shared governance
  • Admin pleads poverty over raises, new tenure lines, amidst billion-dollar expansion plans
  • TAKE ACTION: Attend the U of I BoT meeting 9:30-11:30am, 1/31/19, @SCW


Both Sides Reassert Desire for Progress
In the first negotiating session between UICUF and Administration in 2019, the Admin team returned to the table with some concessions, recognizing that faculty can and will stand firm on our principles. Despite these moves, many issues remain unaddressed or dismissed outright. Proposals to enhance shared governance in certain areas, which is of particular importance to the union, still seems contentious for Admin negotiators. Meanwhile, UICUF presented counter proposals as well, revising some of our own language to create space for dialogue.   

University Growth: It’s About More Than New Buildings
We began this process with high expectations, especially in light of all the positive developments for the University. In contrast to the backdrop of previous negotiations, UIC is currently expanding. Plans to dramatically increase enrollment are being matched with a billion-dollar plan to build new facilities. Amidst this rapid growth, it seemed like a no-brainer that the faculty would share in the prosperity, with raises to catch up from the lean austerity years, and to support a growing student body. Our proposals at the bargaining table reflected this optimism. Unfortunately, our proposals to make faculty wages competitive were not met with the same enthusiasm Administration seems to have for new buildings. Given the contemporary example of Wright State, which has pushed faculty to tighten belts while their board prioritizes other projects, we’re very wary of any similar dynamic developing at UIC.

Act Now to Support a Fair Contract
At this time, after more than six months of negotiations, we remain far from what our negotiation team considers a fair contract. With our priorities clearly on the table, and the board’s only Chicago meeting of the semester coming up on Thursday, January 31st, we are encouraging members to join us from 9:30-11:30 at Student Center WEST to demonstrate our commitment to winning a fair contract. Email UICUFJeff@gmail.com to RSVP to this event.  

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Until we win a fair contract, we will be issuing regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and here 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 can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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24 Jan University of Illinois at Chicago United Faculty Stands with Wright State Faculty

Dear colleagues at Wright State University,

The faculty union at UIC is in full and steadfast support of striking faculty and students at Wright State University. You are on the right side of justice in this struggle, fighting for the soul of higher education.

Your courage to withhold your labor, which we know is hard to do, is really the only thing you can do in order to protect and improve your working conditions – your students’ learning conditions – when the administration stops negotiating with you. We all know that your strike, as opposed to their reaction to it, is truly right for students and Wright State University. And, no matter what they say, the university administration and trustees are responsible for the shutdown and for ending the strike.

Stand Strong!

Solidarity forever!

You will win this!

Janet Smith, President
UIC United Faculty, Local #6456 AAUP, AFT-IFT, AFL-CIO
#Fighting4Wright
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21 Jan Faculty Voices Winter 2019 Edition

If you want to catch up with what’s been happening with the union over the last semester, you’re in luck! Our Winter newsletter is now published and available, covering topics including the Janus decision, contract bargaining (and campaigning), our new Committee on Political Education, and our everyday union victories. There are also plenty of actions and events coming that you’ll want to check out, as well as a number of scholarship opportunities for union members and their families.

Download the PDF versions here:
Faculty Voices Issue 2

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10 Jan UICUF Prepares for Contract Campaign Escalation

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  • Progress remains elusive as tense contract negotiations set to resume Spring Semester
  • UICUF plans next steps and the imminent escalation of the contract campaign
  • Failure by Admin to acknowledge faculty issues in negotiations could lead to strike vote
  • Union urges faculty to speak with their college Representatives for info on future actions
  • To join the Organizing Committee, email UICUFJeff@gmail.com


Negotiations Continue With No End In Sight
UICUF and U of I Administration have been negotiating over the faculty union contract since June of last year, and our previous contract expired in August. In the final session between the two parties before winter break, discussion became heated as faculty attendees expressed frustration with Administration’s dismissive stance toward faculty proposals, hampering the pace of the proceedings. Cautious hope for fair treatment at the bargaining table notwithstanding, it is becoming clear that we will need to take action beyond those negotiations to win a contract we can all be proud of.

Organizing Committee to Escalate Campaign, Prepare for Possible Strike Vote
An Organizing Committee was convened yesterday to plan a campaign of escalating pressure on Administration. That campaign is intended to continue until faculty get a fair contract, and may incorporate workplace actions, including calling for a limited or indefinite strike before the end of the semester. The consideration for a strike is not taken lightly, but is seen as an increasingly likely outcome, if Administration continues to disregard faculty concerns and proposals in the negotiating process.  

In light of the growing need for direct action to secure a fair contract that respects faculty and enriches the UIC community, UICUF leadership is calling on all members to watch for ongoing union communications, and get involved in any way you are able. At this time, participation in our Organizing Committee, or as a Contract Action Team member are of paramount importance. To get involved, please email UICUFJeff@gmail.com. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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Until we win a fair contract, we will be issuing regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and here on our website. We strongly 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 can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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03 Jan 2018 – A Busy Year for UICUF

UICUF and allies from UIC Unions United make our concerns known at a meeting of the U of I Board of Trustees

UICUF and allies from UIC Unions United make our concerns known at a meeting of the U of I Board of Trustees

 

A Year of Challenges
2018 was a year of challenges for UIC United Faculty, and indeed, unions around the United States. From dealing with the Janus decision in the US Supreme Court, to engaging U of I Administration in what’s turned out to be a very contentious contract bargaining process, there has been plenty to keep our union members on their toes. We can, however, proudly say that we’ve tackled all of these challenges head-on, preparing for the worst, handling the bumps in the road as they came, and in many cases turning potential pitfalls into opportunities. While UICUF began 2018 with many uncertainties on the horizon, we ended the year stronger than ever.

The Janus Decision
Anticipating an anti-union ruling in Janus v AFSCME last spring, we chose to act, rather than wait for the axe to fall. Over the first six months of 2018, UICUF staff and member volunteers embarked on a campaign to meet with as many members as possible. By the time the Janus ruling did arrive in late June, we had met with more than 2/3rds of our members, virtually all of whom signed recommitment cards signalling their ongoing support, regardless of the changing legal environment. Thanks in no small part to member engagement, we experienced virtually no negative membership impact from Janus, and in fact, our membership has only grown since then — a trend that shows no sign of reversing.

U of I Tests the Boundaries and UIC Unions Unite
Just because we were well prepared for the Janus decision does not mean the event passed without incident. In the immediate aftermath of the decision, we found that UIC Payroll, and U of I Labor Relations had chosen to ignore months of meetings and advanced notices meant to keep their records of dues payers updated and accurate. Instead of acknowledging our updated lists and valid membership cards, they chose to arbitrarily end dues for 145 confirmed faculty union members, not fully restoring their dues status for nearly 2 months. Others were hit much worse than we were though, and this is how UIC Unions United was formed.

UIC has many unions involved on campus, but UICUF, UIC GEO, SEIU, and INA are some of the largest, representing over 8,000 workers. All of them realized after the Janus decision, that if we didn’t work together, Administration would simply continue to use the ruling as an excuse to pursue a broader union-busting agenda. Together, we formed a coalition, UIC Unions United, to push back on this agenda. Since then, we’ve demonstrated our strength through a number of actions, including a march on the Labor Relations office, a demonstration at the Board of Trustees meeting in November, and several pickets, to show that we won’t accept unilateral moves by the Administration to disenfranchise our members, or rewrite the terms of our contracts on their own say-so.

Since forming the coalition, the vast majority of members that UIC had cut from the rolls have been restored, though the university administration has done nothing to compensate the unions for these costly “errors.” More alarmingly, they still maintain that they have the right to revoke memberships at their own discretion without so much as informing the union. Every member organization of the coalition is now in the process of filing Unfair Labor Practices and/or grievances against the administration over these claims. We’re sure to see more of this play out in 2019. Regardless of the outcome, we all agree we are much stronger for having come together, even if it took difficult circumstances to galvanize us.

Contract Negotiations
UICUF’s contract was set to expire in August of 2018. Long in advance of that date, we had convened a group of faculty from nearly every college at UIC to prepare for contract bargaining. In the fall of 2017, we polled faculty to learn what they felt were the most pressing issues of the day, and planned for months on how to turn the results into proposals that could make it into a final contract. In May, the Bargaining Committee presented a demand to bargain, and in June, contract negotiations began in earnest. Or at least they appeared to.

What we quickly learned was that the negotiator assigned by U of I Administration had no interest in discussing, well, much of anything really. We presented our non-economic issues first. While there was feedback and even requests for re-writes, few counter-proposals were offered. At the same time, they held back campus wage pools, falsely claiming that it was the union’s fault. To be clear, if they truly wished to give out raises, labor law offers several commonly accepted avenues to do so, with the unions permission, which would have been given if sought. They chose not seek that permission, or even bring up the issue in negotiations beforehand, depriving us the opportunity to proactively offer it.

Since June, we’ve faithfully returned to the bargaining table, despite the growing evidence that the administration does not seem interested in negotiating, so much as dictating terms. Thus, we ended 2018’s bargaining sessions with dozens of faculty in the room, while members testified as to their disappointment in Administration’s disingenuous tactics, and the time wasted while they try to avoid serious negotiations. Discussion became heated, but we did conclude with a note of hope for 2019. When next we meet, we expect U of I’s negotiating team to honor their verbal commitment to return with written counterproposals for at least one of our proposed articles. It’s not much, but even incremental improvements are worth pursuing at this stage. With each effort that fails to bring us closer to a viable contract, tensions between the union and the administration will only rise. While we hope Administration will return to the table in 2019 willing to take seriously our full set of proposals, we are also anticipating the need to significantly increase our visibility beyond the bargaining table.

A New Year Ahead
2018 brought many challenges before the union, some of which are yet ongoing. 2019 is likely to bring more still, but we are ready to rise to the occasion, thanks to the support of our dedicated members and activists, and our allies on and off campus.  We do not yet have new bargaining dates set, but we do know that the U of I Board of Trustees will return to Chicago for a meeting on January 31st. We will continue to keep you informed of every opportunity for you to represent yourselves and your colleagues under the union banner.

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Until we win a fair contract, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, 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!

UICUF WEHEARTUIC

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13 Dec #WeHeartUIC

UICUF WEHEARTUIC

Giving Faculty a Voice #WeHeartUIC
As this is an off-week from our contract bargaining efforts, we won’t be reporting on new progress in that realm, as such. However, our union of full-time faculty here at UIC doesn’t exist
solely to bargain and enforce contracts. At its core, UIC United Faculty is about the people who power the university with their labor, and critically, about letting their voices be heard.

In an effort to share these voices, and their stories, we’ve created a web series about how faculty at UIC show their love for their work, their students, and their university. We will be posting these stories under the hashtag #WeHeartUIC on our new UIC United Faculty YouTube channel. Here’s the first of those videos, from our esteemed colleagues in the Political Science department, Dick Simpson and Katharine Floros:

 

We expect to share more of these videos in the future, because working at Chicago’s premier public university is more than just a job. Faculty at UIC do more than just lecture. They create the learning environment for their students, and we think that the pride and passion they pour into their work speaks for itself!

If you enjoy the video, and want to see more, please subscribe to our YouTube channel so you’ll see new content as it is released. If you are a faculty member and want to tell us about how you Heart UIC, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

Last Bargaining Session of the Semester
The last bargaining session of the semester is coming up next Monday, 12/17, from 1-4pm at Student Center East, in the White Oak Room. Among other discussions, we will be hearing from more of faculty members, arguing for respect in the face of an administration that, so far, refuses to acknowledge the true value of their labor.

We hope you’ll join us in observing the proceedings. UIC faculty Heart UIC, and that commitment deserves recognition. A fair contract would certainly be a good start in that direction.

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Until we win a fair contract, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, FacebookTwitter, YouTube, 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!

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04 Dec UICUF Resolution in Support of UNO/Acero Charter School Teachers

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UICUF Resolution in Support of UNO/Acero Charter School Teachers

December 4, 2018

Whereas over 500 Chicago Teachers Union members at 15 UNO/Acero charter schools are on strike—the first strike of a charter operator in U.S. history; and

Whereas, as fellow public education professionals, we know the intimate link between the work that UNO/Acero teachers do with youth and our work in higher education – in that many of their students go on to become our students, and many of our graduates serve as teachers, staff and administrators in their schools; and

Whereas the disparity needs to be addressed between CTU members at UNO/Acero who work hundreds of hours more than CTU members in district schools, for an average of $13,000 per year less, and paraprofessionals—the backbone of our school communities—earn even less. All this while management’s take of public dollars went up more than $10 million this year—while spending $1 million LESS on classroom resources; and

Whereas management has refused any wage increase for underpaid paraprofessionals, insisted on class sizes of 32—four more than the target for CPS classrooms, refused to increase desperately short-staffed special education positions, refused teachers’ efforts to bring nurses into each school, refused to provide wrap-around services for students, and even refused to include sanctuary school language in the contract for their overwhelmingly Latinx students; and

Whereas we value all CTU teachers as strong partners in our mission to serve Chicago’s communities, and we recognize the high-quality work that they do, often under the most difficult circumstances, including conditions of instability, budget cutting and lack of a contract; and

Whereas the CTU has been a long-time, constant partner with UIC faculty, providing the resources, professional development, and advocacy needed for a strong and stable school district; and

Whereas we support the demands by UNO/Acero teachers for smaller class sizes, increased compensation, and for more resources going to help teachers in the classroom instead of UNO/Acero management; and

Whereas we know that good working conditions for teachers are good learning conditions for students; and

Whereas our UICUF members live in communities throughout the Chicago area, are parents, grandparents, and family members of CTU teachers and students, and have a vested interest in their lives and successful futures; and

Therefore be it resolved that we stand in full solidarity with the UNO/Acero teachers in their struggle for a fair contract and for the schools that all Chicago communities deserve.  We will do our best to support and attend solidarity meetings, rallies, and demonstrations, as well as walk their picket lines if they are forced to go out on strike; and

Be it finally resolved that we will do all we can to educate our members and our entire campus community, our neighborhoods, families and friends on the critical importance of the teachers’ fight, alongside of our own fight to defend state workers and save our state universities—An Injury to One is an Injury to All.

UIC United Faculty, Local #6456, AFT-IFT, AAUP, AFL-CIO

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