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23 Jan Killeen Windfall Stands Out Amid Staffing Concerns

Strike for fair contract sign cropped

 

Stark Contrast: As UI President Killeen is Rewarded, Workers Left Behind
Last week we reported our expectations for the Board of Trustees meeting in Chicago. This included a vote to raise tuition for Fall 2020 and the President’s salary a whopping 40%. While some board members challenged the tuition increase, no one questioned paying the president $835,000 a year for the next four years. This, while promising administrative cost savings and while union members demonstrated just a few feet away over low pay and understaffing of service and support positions. Talk about a study in contrast.

What it Takes to Get a Fair Contract (If You’re a Worker)
We here at UIC United Faculty are frustrated with these developments, to say the least. We have all experienced how hard this institution will fight to keep from paying workers what they deserve, from custodial staff to full professors. You can see in the image above the wisdom that U of I unions have earned the hard way, that to get a fair deal, a strike has to at least be on the table. SEIU is currently bargaining four contracts, but the tone-deaf display at last Thursday’s meeting leaves little hope for an amicable and timely resolution. Given recent history, a strike authorization seems to be required before U of I will even start talking about a fair deal–if you’re a worker.

Even Our Best and Brightest
While some reap magnificent rewards simply for doing their jobs, others are not even able to keep the rewards they’ve won for exemplary work recognized by the university! The highly competitive Teaching Recognition Program awards a handful of best-in-class faculty each year with a permanent bump in their base pay.

Since our first contract, which raised up the base of many NTT faculty, UICUF has repeatedly had to intervene because UIC administrators refuse to add the value of the award to the new base. One of our lowest paid members has had this happen twice! After fighting and winning it back during our first contract, we are at it again – this time for two of our faculty members, whose rights we defended this week in a grievance at Level 3 (Provost). To justify their miserly position in the hearing, the administration stuck with a different definition of base – one that arbitrarily nullifies award-based raises if a faculty member later gets a raise-to-minimum salary increase. The administration’s decision de facto harms lower-paid faculty, and simultaneously gives a painfully honest assessment of how they truly value excellence in teaching: only at their own convenience.

Despite both having excellent records, characterized by consistently going above and beyond what is expected (and we know that the bar keeps rising), and having been publicly honored by UIC, the university is actively fighting to give these faculty less than they’ve earned. Why should these faculty have to grieve to just keep what they have earned and rightfully deserve? Adding insult to injury, the value of both awards, carried over their whole career won’t amount to a fraction of what UI President Killeen was just given for even a single year of his new contract. Needless to say – but we will anyway — the U of I Board needs to seriously reflect on their priorities.

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We issue regular updates via email, FacebookTwitterYouTube, 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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15 Jan UI Holds Back Yet Another Union Contract

**Visiting Faculty are invited to join our first meeting of the Visiting Faculty Caucus**
**10-11:30am, Friday, 1/24/20 @UICUF Offices, 1016 W. Jackson Blvd**
**to discuss and address issues specific to visiting titles at UIC**

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  • ACTION: UICUF Faculty are invited to join a demonstration at the Board of Trustees meeting TOMORROW – 10:15, Thursday, 1/16/20 @Lobby of Student Center West.
  • SEIU is negotiating several contracts, seeking to address chronic understaffing which has led to safety concerns and contributed to the death of a union member.
  • UI Labor Relations are once again holding back an agreement on a fair contract.
  • The UI System has a history of unproductive bargaining practices that have led to at least 18 strike authorizations and 9 actual work stoppages in the last 10 years.

 

The Semester has barely begun, but UI Labor Relations seems determined to start the year with their signature intransigence in negotiating labor contracts, this time with our fellow workers in SEIU Local 73. SEIU is currently bargaining for four different units of support staff, including civil service professionals, clerical staff, and service, maintenance, and technical staff.

Among other issues, SEIU is seeking to ameliorate chronic understaffing, which they report as being as low as 2/3rds of minimum requirements in some units. The low staffing levels seem to be symptomatic of what even HR acknowledges as substandard compensation. Even more concerning, understaffing has contributed to unsafe working conditions which in turn may have contributed to the death of an SEIU union member. Needless to say, if unsafe conditions killed a faculty member, we would have little patience for counterproductive negotiating tactics at the bargaining table.

To push back, SEIU members and allies, including faculty members, will be holding a rally at the Board of Trustees meeting at Student Center West this Thursday, 1/16/20. The UI system’s Labor Relations department has an unenviable record of pursuing negotiating tactics that court conflict with the university’s unions, and we will demand, once again, that the Board of Trustees take notice. Labor Relations represent the Board of Trustees in their dealings with UIC’s unions, and we hope to make it clear to the Board that their problematic stance toward organized labor must change.

Other Issues to Watch for at the BoT Meeting
Among other things, we expect the Board to announce that President Killeen will be offered a 40% raise and a 4-year contract extension. That is roughly what it would cost to hire 5 new full-time faculty, or pay for 18,000 hours of wages for security guards or other badly needed support staff. The Board will also be discussing tuition rates, which we expect will remain flat this year, virtually guaranteeing that UIC will raise fees. We’ll return to these issues in much greater detail in next week’s update.

Setting a Positive Example
Meanwhile, UICUF is proud to announce that we are trying to set our own good example for labor negotiations, as we can now report the signing of our first ever staff union contract! Unlike the grinding year-long process of negotiating with UI Labor Relations, negotiations with our newly unionized staff was acknowledge by both sides to be efficient and fair. We are particularly pleased with anti-bullying language that we’ve jointly crafted, which we hope will be a benchmark for other contracts in the future. Full disclosure: both staff and UICUF members contributed to this weekly message.

A Caucus for Visiting Faculty
Over the years, UICUF has noted an increasing prevalence of visiting faculty at our university, and we recognize that members with visiting titles have their own issues and concerns that may not affect others in the same ways. To dive into these issues, we are convening a Visiting Faculty Caucus, and encouraging our members with visiting titles to attend. Through discussing shared experiences and concerns, we can start to organize around what really matters to visiting faculty! You can join us from 10-11:30am NEXT FRIDAY, 1/24/20 @the UICUF office, 1016 W. Jackson Blvd. Please RSVP or send any questions to UICUFSophie@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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09 Jan Spring Semester Solidarity

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  • UICUF wants to welcome all our members back for Spring Semester!
  • We will continue focusing on Shared Governance with a university-wide survey, and ongoing trainings on contract implementation
  • IFT is hosting candidate forums for local primaries RIGHT NOW, and our Committee on Political Education (COPE) will be keeping you informed throughout the year on elections and issues.
  • We will also be holding our own elections this semester for Executive Board and Representative Assembly.

 

First, UIC United Faculty wants to extend a warm welcome back to all our members as we begin a new year and our Spring Semester! Looking back, we accomplished so much last year, and we intend to carry forward with a strong program this year as well. This Spring, we will continue our focus on shared governance at the academic unit level, and give our members plenty of opportunities to engage with union efforts, and particularly with the political process in this important election year.

Shared Governance Transparency and Implementation
We’ve written a lot about shared governance this academic year, especially in light of the many new provisions we won in our contract that clearly state where faculty input is required. We’ve done several know-your-contract trainings by unit, and will continue offering tailored workshops to help your academic unit (school/department/division) fully take advantage of these new rights. If you would like to hold a training in your unit, please reach out to Jeff at uicufjeff@gmail.com or Sophie at uicufsophie@gmail.com.

We will also be conducting a shared governance survey open to all faculty this semester to better identify issues in need of further consideration, attention or education across the university. We will be relying on our members not only to respond to the survey, but to encourage colleagues to give their honest input as well, so keep an eye out for notifications by email letting you know the survey dates!

Political Engagement and Our Committee On Political Education
You may recall that we created an official Committee on Political Education in June 2018, with the purview to educate faculty and the community about political issues affecting higher education. They also have the power to raise money (separate from union dues which are never used for political campaigns), and endorse/contribute to local political candidates that prioritize support for public higher education in Illinois.

While our local’s COPE will remain tightly focused on local political races that could have a direct impact on UIC, our state and national affiliates, IFT, AFT, and AAUP will all be working at various levels to keep members engaged and informed on the political process in this important election year. IFT is holding candidate forums RIGHT NOW for state House and Senate primaries which will take place on March 17, and we encourage you to attend in your legislative district if you are able.

UICUF Elections
In addition to it being a major year for state and national elections, UICUF will be demonstrating our democratic values as a union by holding our own elections at the end of April. This is your opportunity to vote (or run) for positions on the Executive Board and Representative Assembly, which lead our union. We will be convening an elections committee shortly to set up and manage the election, and we’ll need volunteers to help! If you aren’t planning on running for other offices, we highly encourage you to contact us about getting involved as an election committee member!

2019 was a busy and successful year for faculty at UIC, and we’re looking forward to working with all of you in making 2020 even better! If you have questions, want to set up a shared governance workshop for your department, or want to get involved with UICUF’s COPE, email us 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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12 Dec Decisions Subject to Shared Governance

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  • Some decisions at the academic unit level MUST be subject to shared governance per our union contract.
  • In addition to review by an Advisory or Executive committee and/or vote of the full faculty, many of these policies must comply with specific standards across the university.
  • UICUF leaders and staff are available to work with members on understanding and applying shared governance rights in your units. Contact UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com if interested.

 

Last week we discussed some of the rudimentary structures of shared governance at the academic unit level, such as the requirements that all units have accessible bylaws and elected advisory or executive committees. This week we will consider the types of decisions our latest contract mandates be subject to shared governance at the academic unit level, and what guidelines those processes must follow.

Our contract, as well as university statutes, have always indicated situations in which shared governance MUST be applied, like the curriculum, faculty hiring, and standards for tenure, and promotion. Other decision making processes commonly incorporate shared governance by tradition if not contractual obligation. To ensure that faculty are able to get the most out of their right to participate in shared governance, we highlight three new issues below.

Defining Workloads
Per the new UIC United Faculty contract, every academic unit is REQUIRED to set a workload policy through shared governance processes. This is something university negotiators strongly resisted, and we had proposed this precisely because we had seen areas where administrators had been imposing increased teaching loads unilaterally. In some areas this will take assertive action, and UICUF leadership and staff stand prepared to assist you with implementation. Specifically, per Article XII.B of the faculty contract, these policies must “include a teaching statement that sets clear expectations for the teaching assignments, including course load and class size.” Moreover, these expectations can’t be changed without review via shared governance, so they can’t be updated unilaterally by administration without consultation.

Evaluation Criteria
Annual evaluations are another area for shared governance that units need to (re)visit in light of our latest contract. Our contract reiterates prior university policy that there be “a formal process that is open and equitable,”  and goes on to establish that “student evaluation data shall not be considered in isolation….” The specific criteria included in teaching evaluations in your unit will depend upon what you determine through the shared governance process, though its important to remember that UIC does have guidelines on evaluations that must be followed.

NTT Reappointment
New to our contract this year is the requirement that all units have procedures written into their bylaws that govern the reappointment of non-tenure track faculty. We have seen some cases in the past where a lone administrator made what appeared to us an arbitrary decision to not reappoint a faculty member. This decision making ought to be guided by clear policies, and be accountable to faculty.

But isn’t it All “Merely Advisory”?
The exact nature of the shared governance process will differ from unit to unit, based on what faculty think they need, but must ultimately involve decisions/recommendations being made by a vote of the full faculty, or by an elected Executive/Advisory Committee. Processes and resulting policies must be transparent and accessible to faculty. As the above matters are contractual obligations for university administration, failure to set such policies through appropriate shared governance principles is a contract violation which could be grieved by the union.

We understand that being “advisory” does not assure an executive officer for a unit will follow what faculty develop. However, we believe that the fact that the administration resisted contract language requiring shared governance in setting workload policy indicates that they do take it seriously. And we know that for most units on our campus, these things in fact do matter to many administrators. It is our responsibility to bring forward these requirements and self-organize our faculty to get them implemented. We have seen how the shared governance process can be an effective means for organizing your colleagues, and UICUF leaders and staff can help advise and support you around the specifics of your issues and processes.

If you have questions about how assert your rights to shared governance driven decision-making, email us 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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05 Dec Shared Governance is Your Right! What Shared Governance Should Look Like

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  • Shared governance is a pillar of our university’s policy-making processes, but to fully benefit, you need to exercise your rights!
  • Each academic unit should have clear, accessible bylaws, and an elected Advisory or Executive Committee, so that faculty can participate in the governance of their work
  • UICUF Staff are available to work with members on understanding and applying shared governance rights in your units. Contact UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com if interested.

 

Shared governance is one of academia’s most cherished principles, giving faculty a voice in decision-making at all levels of the university. It is also one of UIC United Faculty’s core commitments as a union to make the promise of shared governance a reality by backing it with the power of collective bargaining. We’ve delivered on that commitment by enshrining many shared governance principles in our union contract, ensuring that your rights are enforceable.

To get the full benefit out of shared governance, however, faculty need to understand their rights in the university’s decision-making processes, and work to develop a culture of engagement in those processes. Today, we’re exploring how shared governance at the unit level should function, based on the UICUF contract and university statutes.

Clear and Accessible Bylaws
Unit bylaws can have a significant effect on how your work is defined, and how you are treated as an educator, researcher, and employee in your academic unit. These bylaws should be clearly written, and readily accessible to you. Your unit head or office administrator should be able to help you get a copy of them.

We strongly recommend familiarizing yourself with your unit bylaws, or at least having a copy handy. Bylaws typically will describe how a unit’s shared governance structure works, and per our union contract, they must include certain explanations and definitions, such as workload expectations and reappointment processes for NTT faculty. These explanations and definitions, in turn, must be created with input from faculty via shared governance.

Executive and Advisory Committees
Every unit must have either an Executive Committee (if your academic unit has a Chair) or an Advisory Committee (if your academic unit has a Head or Director). These committees are the backbone of shared governance for faculty at the unit level. They must be elected by faculty, and should be consulted by unit executive officers on changes to bylaws and the development of other policies. In particular, units must develop certain standards in consultation with these committees. Having a functional shared governance infrastructure, in which faculty regularly participate, is critical to ensuring your rights are enforced.

UICUF Shared Governance Workshops
Educating faculty members on their rights plays an important role in how UICUF enforces our union contract. To that end, we are continually offering trainings and workshops to help faculty better understand their contractual rights, and to help each academic unit address issues specific to their situation. UICUF staff are available to help you understand how shared governance should work, and to assist you in improving these processes for your academic unit.

If you have questions about how to obtain your unit bylaws, whether your bylaws and committees meet contractual requirements, or would like to arrange a discussion about shared governance with a union representative, email us 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 Nov What To Do If You Think You Have A Grievance 

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  • While every workplace issue is unique, the UICUF grievance committee can offer advice and support.
  • Don’t wait to address it: The longer you wait, the harder it may be to deal with it, especially if it requires filing an official grievance.
  • Notify UICUF:  Most issues UICUF intervenes in are solved without formal grievance procedures, and your privacy is always a priority.
  • Write it all down: Keeping notes of the events that led you to contact your union can help you compose your thoughts, and serve as a reliable record during the grievance process.

 

Last week, we went into some detail about our new Grievance Committee and how it operates. This week, faculty were invited to attend grievance trainings to help members understand what a grievance is, and how the process works. Today we’re going to offer advice on how to proceed if you think you have grounds for a grievance.

Filing a grievance is a formal process for addressing a violation of the faculty contract. It is useful to know, however, that our grievance team commonly assists with issues that don’t rise to the level of a formal grievance. This leads us to our first and most important piece of advice.

Don’t Wait to Address the Issue
We’ve said this many times in communications in the past, and are repeating it here because it may be the single most important thing to remember when you’re facing a workplace issue: DON’T WAIT!

There are myriad practical reasons not to let a workplace issue linger unaddressed, from allowing bad behavior to become normalized, to risking further harm in the meantime. From a grievance standpoint, a failure to address an issue in a timely manner may mean sacrificing the option to file an official grievance at all.

Per our current contract, you have 30 days from when you should reasonably have known about an issue to file a grievance, and it is best to consider such an undertaking well ahead of that deadline when possible. The best thing to do if you’re experiencing a workplace issue is to get in touch with a union representative or email us at UICUnitedfaculty@gmail.com.

Notify UICUF
UICUF’s Grievance Committee, College Representatives, and trained staff, are all here for the express purpose of assisting faculty with workplace issues. We can advise and guide you in seeking informal solutions on your own, help organize a response with other colleagues experiencing similar problems, or intervene directly as appropriate.

We understand that considering taking this step can be daunting, and may bring up a lot of questions. For your peace of mind, we want our members to know first and foremost that we will always respect your confidentiality, and will work with you to develop a plan of action that you are comfortable with. With a team made up primarily of fellow faculty members, we are sensitive to concerns about hierarchical positions within the university, and the need to maintain relationships with colleagues long term. We work to resolve concerns informally where possible, and our team will not pursue an official grievance on your behalf without your knowledge and consent.

Keep Notes
If you are experiencing a workplace issue, we highly encourage you to take some notes on what happened/is happening. We’ve consistently found that simply writing things down helps members organize their thoughts and explain the situation in a clear and focused way. Especially in cases that do enter the official grievance process, notes can also provide a durable account of what happened, even if hearings take place weeks or months later. Taking a few minutes to write down your thoughts, and maintaining a record of related communications, can be tremendously useful!

A Few Words About Disciplinary Cases
While we actually have a whole other article about disciplinary issues, many of our most serious grievances come from cases of inappropriate discipline, so we wanted to cover a couple of basics here.

First, remember your Weingarten Rights. In short, these are your rights to have a union representative at any disciplinary meeting, including any meeting you think may lead to discipline. You’re also within your rights to stop a meeting in progress if you feel it has become disciplinary in nature. Critically, you must assert this right (simply stating you are asserting your Weingarten Rights to representation is sufficient), or you forfeit it.

Second, discipline may not be arbitrary and must be proportionate to the supposed infraction.. The disciplinary process should be positive and progressive in nature, meaning that its goal is to provide a path for improvement. The discipline should follow steps of increasing severity, but only if the issue isn’t resolved.

As always, if you have questions, or you think you may have a workplace issue that you want to discuss with a union representative, you can email us 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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03 Oct Meeting Recap – Our Fight is Far From Over

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  • UIC United Faculty held our Fall Membership Meeting Yesterday
  • One thing seems abundantly clear: There’s plenty of work ahead to make UIC an even better place to work and learn
  • UICUF Senate Caucus will tackle issues covered by statute that weren’t addressed in the contract
  • UICUF’s new Advocacy Committee will be working to change fundamentals in system governance, like how budgets are formulated
  • UICUF COPE will continue working on legislative issues affecting faculty

 

Yesterday, UICUF held it’s Fall Membership Meeting at Hull House, and as our leadership and committee chairs sounded off, one thing seemed abundantly clear: we may have won some major improvements in our contract negotiations this past Spring, but there’s still much more to do as we seek to continue improving working and learning conditions at UIC.

To recap, our contract victory this past May ensured a variety of improvements, from increased minimum salaries and guaranteed raise pools, to appointment and due process protections for NTT faculty, and workload protection for our entire bargaining unit. However, there were plenty of things we couldn’t achieve in those negotiations, and a number of issues we won in our contract that will still take work to successfully implement.

In Your Departments
Many of our new contract victories, like workload protections, rely on shared governance to implement. Our Shared Governance committee will be spearheading the effort to inform and encourage our members to take advantage of those victories by using their powers of shared governance to the maximum potential.

In the Senate
As we reported in a previous weekly update, we have a newly formed Senate Caucus that will be discuss many of the issues our members are experiencing that have their roots in university statutes. The Senate is by most measures the strongest expression of shared governance at the university, with the purview to recommend changes to the statutes. The new Caucus was formed simply to keep our many members in the Senate informed about issues affecting faculty, and the current list is a long one. Among the top items on the agenda are granting longer term contracts (currently capped at 3 years for NTT), strengthening academic freedom protections, and addressing problematic changes to mandatory RNUA documentation.

At the Board Meetings
Our newly formed advocacy committee (look out for a profile of them in future updates), will be looking into how the university system is governed, and how we can ensure fair and just treatment for UIC within that system. In particular, funding models remain opaque, and seemingly lopsided in favor of programs in Urbana, even as UIC tends to work with students who have the greatest need for resources and support.

In the Legislature
UIC faculty are surely no strangers to how structural issues in the state legislature can affect how we work and how our students learn. UICUF isn’t helpless in this arena though. We have established a Committee on Political Education (COPE), which is addressing issues in the legislature, and lets members volunteer to pool resources in support of political campaigns that may affect UIC in the future. First on their to-do list is to get parity in treatment for our NTT faculty as compared with state college faculty, who enjoy more timely reappointment notices, and receive reasons for non-reappointment.

As you can see, even though the big contract push is over, there’s no shortage of ways we can continue to move the needle, making UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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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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26 Sep Want More Job Security for NTT faculty – Support UICUF COPE

Know Your Contract Training
Student Center West, Room 206AB, 12-1:30pm, Mon, 9/30

Fall Member Meeting
Jane Addams Hull House, 3-5pm, Wed, 10/2

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  • COPE is UICUF’s Committee on Political Education. It allows us to collect and spend money on political campaigns, make endorsements, and engage in the political process
  • COPE’s primary role is to manage political contributions collected from our members, and educate students, faculty and the public on political issues that affect faculty
  • Faculty can get involved by becoming a contributor, or by emailing Kate Floros, COPE Chair. COPE is currently looking for strong communicators with graphic design skills
  • Union dues never go toward paying for political activities

 

This week we are exploring the role of the UICUF Committee on Political Education (UICUF COPE) in supporting faculty by giving us a voice in the state political processes that affect our university.

How Will COPE Improve Working/Learning Conditions at UIC?

  1. The COPE will work with other unions representing faculty in Illinois, and allies in the state legislature to create or expand laws impacting faculty rights. First and foremost, we hope to bring state laws regarding reappointment notifications for our NTT faculty in line with existing legislation governing faculty at community colleges. Should this effort succeed, NTT faculty would receive notification of non-reappointment months earlier than they currently do, and they would have the right to receive a written explanation for the non-reappointment.
  2. The COPE will bring faculty issues into focus with our union allies and affiliates. The COPE was successful in getting a resolution placed on the agenda of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) convention, which, if passed, would commit the IFT to working toward passage of legislation like what is described above.
  3. The COPE intends to make its first-ever endorsements and/or contributions to a political campaign that has bearing on the health of our university ahead of the March 2020 Illinois primary elections.

 

What Is the COPE and What Else Does It Do?
The COPE has the same legal profile as a Political Action Committee, legally separate and distinct from UICUF. The distinction allows UICUF members to pool their funds/influence for endorsements and support of political/election campaigns which our union can’t otherwise participate in. This offers our members peace-of-mind knowing that union dues aren’t being used for politics, while also allowing politically-minded members a way to unite and support politicians and/or legislation important to university working conditions. The COPE is primarily focused on state and local issues and candidates, in order to most directly affect legislation related to higher education policy in Illinois.

The COPE’s other, equally important role is to educate students, faculty, and the public on faculty issues and working conditions. The committee is currently doing student outreach, and crafting a “UIC 101” one-sheet to help students understand how UIC as an institution is organized, its place within the University of Illinois System, and its status as a public research institution. There will be other educational materials about the student cost of attendance and the UIC budget later this academic year.

 

How Can Faculty Get Involved?
Faculty can get involved in the COPE initially by becoming a contributor. Union members (who are US citizens or permanent residents) can download a contribution form from our website and return it to kate.floros@gmail.com. Contributions are generally made through payroll deduction, but can be accepted in the form of a check if preferred. The COPE team strongly encourages faculty to consider becoming contributors, even if you can only afford a few dollars a month!

In the spirit of inclusiveness, each year, the COPE leadership team hosts a meeting where contributors are encouraged to help articulate COPE priorities. Additionally, the COPE team will reach out to contributors in advance of the March 17, 2020 primary election, before endorsements and/or donations are made, to elicit feedback on COPE’s endorsement plans. There are also monthly board meetings open to contributors (email Kate if you want to know the place and time of the next meeting). Lastly, some board seats become available every year, and any contributor is eligible to become a member of the board.

We hope you will take a moment to become a contributor, and get involved with our Committee on Political Education!

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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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05 Sep Union Approval on the Rise | Local Events | Health Plan Updates

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  • Despite political attacks against organized labor, Gallup Polls put union approval at 64% this year, near it’s 50 year high!
  • UICUF’s Fall Party is tonight, Thursday, 9/5/19, 5-7pm @The Ambassador Public House! RSVP to UICUFJeff@gmail.com.
  • We are cosponsoring a Panel/workshop, Why Teacher Unions Matter, next Wednesday, 9/11/19, 6-8pm at the Chicago Teachers Union offices. Free registration via eventbrite.
  • Per recent communications to university employees, health plan changes originally scheduled to go into effect in January 1, 2020, will be postponed til July 1, 2020.

 

Union Approval is Way Up!
Public approval of unions jumped to 64% this year according to Gallup Polls, putting it near its 50-year. Most commentators point to a confluence of persistently depressed wages, and the mass wave of mostly educator-led strikes over the last year, which are proving that organized labor can win on major issues. For many workers, incomes have been almost flat versus inflation since the 70’s, but seeing workplace activism rise to the dizzying heights of challenging not only local conditions, but entire state budgets, has been a shock to the system. Especially for young workers who have no experience with an active labor movement, seeing organized labor winning high profile victories across the country has renewed a belief that unions can make a difference.

Fall Party Tonight
All members are encouraged to attend the Fall Party tonight at Ambassador Public House from 5-7pm. Get to know your colleagues a little better, or bring a new colleague and introduce them to the union. Non-members can join on the spot. Appetizers provided by the union, and cash bar available. RSVP to UICUFJeff@gmail.com.

Unions For Teachers – Why They Matter
We are cosponsoring an event with the Chicago Teachers Union and others, called Unions for Teachers: Why They Matter. It is an interactive workshop aimed primarily at future teachers to explore all the questions this group might have about labor and education. The event will include a panel of Chicago area educators, table discussions, and more! Plus food! The event is free to attend, so join us at the CTU Office from 6-8pm on September 11, and share with anyone who is new to education or studying to become a teacher. You can RSVP via Eventbright.

Health Plan Updates
In case you missed it, the UI system will be postponing planned changes to your health plans that were set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2020. The planned special enrollment period to allow faculty to change their health coverage has, therefore, also been postponed. The changes will now go into effect on July 1, 2020, at the beginning of the new fiscal year. Visit our website to find our review of the changes to university health plans in greater detail.

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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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29 Aug An Important Message About Your Raises

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  • Per recent messages from the Provost, faculty should receive retroactive raises from the 2018-2019 academic year in their OCTOBER paychecks.
  • AY 2019-2020 raises are being calculated, but colleges are to notify faculty of their salaries by no later than September 9th.
  • The TT and NTT Contracts, and our earlier guidance on raises on our website.
  • UPCOMING EVENT: UICUF’s Back-To-School Social is Next Thursday, 9/5/19, 5-7pm @The Ambassador Public House. RSVP to UICUFJeff@gmail.com.

 

Revised Timeline for Retroactive Pay
After we reached a tentative agreement on our contract last Spring, we offered some guidance on raises, including expectations for implementation. Provost Poser also offered further guidance via emails this summer about when faculty could expect raises and retroactive pay. Per the Provost’s most recent email (relevant section reproduced below), these expectations have been revised. Faculty should now expect retroactive pay to be distributed in their OCTOBER pay checks (for the Sept. 16 – October 15 pay period).

Updated Pay Rates
You should already be receiving pay at rates reflecting any raise you were awarded for the 2018-2019 academic year. Pay raises for 2019-2020 academic year are reportedly being calculated now. While we do not know when the new salary will be distributed, you are to be notified of your new salary by September 9th.

Concerns Over Pay Amounts
We want to remind faculty that the specific amounts of merit and compression/equity pay each individual is awarded is at the discretion of administration, and cannot be grieved under our contract. Only failures to follow appropriate processes to reach these conclusions, such as failure to hold annual evaluations, or failure to consult using a shared governance process, are grievable.

From The Contract
You can review the exact language of our TT and NTT contracts on our website in Article VI.

Provost’s Email 8/28/19

  • Retro Pay: It is expected that retroactive pay will be provided to faculty in the October paycheck. UIC HR completed the pay updates, which appeared on paychecks in July. They are now completing the 2019-2020 merit and C/E increases. This is the next task that HR will turn to and it involves a lot of detailed work to ensure that 2018-2019 retro pay is calculated accurately.

 

  • Salary Notifications: Faculty should begin to receive notifications of their salaries for AY 2019-2020 shortly. The salaries will be uploaded to Banner next week and UIC HR instructed the colleges to notify faculty of their salaries no sooner than August 28th and no later than September 9th.

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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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