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30 Aug Union Greets New Faculty Amidst Salary Freeze by U of I System

Frozen Salaries

UICUF Offers Warm Welcome Back to Faculty and Students

Last week, UIC United Faculty greeted the newest members of our academic community. Our President, Janet Smith, spoke to new faculty at the campus orientation event about the history and ongoing importance of the union, and members from every college were present to personally welcome our new colleagues to the university. Meanwhile, at the annual Comp Camp for faculty teaching first year writing and composition, new faculty were eager to engage with our members about the work of the union. Between the two events, 25 new faculty became members on the spot!

To continue the warm welcome, there will be a Back-to-School Picnic for UICUF members and their families this coming Sunday, 9/2. We will usher in the new school year with a fun-and-sun event, and hope our new colleagues can join us!

And we haven’t forgotten the other new faces at the university. UICUF will be offering students free ice cream at the Student Involvement Fair in the East Campus Quad, along with info on the unions work, and how it affects their education. Our working environment is their learning environment. We strongly encourage UICUF members to come meet students at this fun event next Wednesday, 9/5.

 

University of Illinois System Greets Faculty With Frozen Salaries

In contrast to the hand of friendship extended by the union to faculty as we begin the new semester, Labor Relations has chosen to freeze faculty out of this year’s campus wage program. They erroneously claim that they can’t give us our merit raises during contract bargaining, referencing labor law meant to protect the sanctity of those negotiations.

What they don’t say is that it’s acceptable and common practice for groups engaged in contract negotiations to waive these “status quo” rules at times for the benefit of the employees. This is allowed, to ensure that employers can’t leverage the withholding of customary or universal perks, like yearly raises or bonuses, against organized employees negotiating a contract.

UICUF has met directly with Labor Relations representatives no less than 6 times this summer, yet not once was it mentioned that the university planned to hold back distributions of merit raises to its faculty. The fact that this was not discussed with the union directly, despite ample opportunity, tells us all we need to know: withholding our earned merit increases is a strategy to build leverage against the union in negotiations.

We fully anticipate that they will come back with this already insufficient 2% raise offer at the bargaining table later, hoping that our membership will be frustrated enough to just accept it. We will not, however, let this gross manipulation of status quo rules deter us for fighting to get the raises our members truly deserve.

 

Beyond Campus Wage: The Real Story Behind Stagnant Wages at UIC

Looking beyond intention, to the ultimate substance of the salary program, the 2% salary program offered by President Killeen for 2018-2019 is an insult. It is in no way connected to the financial reality of living in Chicago, and is below the nearly 3% annual inflation expected this year. But this is not news for most faculty at UIC. Historically, this program has lagged behind inflation, and certainly below the expectations of what experienced professionals should be earning in an expensive urban area like Chicago. And it surely does not help faculty catch up after two years of flat wages from politically frozen budgets. Plain and simple Faculty at UIC deserve more!  

This all comes in the shadow of a half-billion dollar budget deal struck with Gov. Rauner to help build a highly questionable new campus in the Loop. Of course, just a few months ago, Rauner seemed to forget that the University of Illinois system already has a campus in Chicago (Audio clip at 3:45).

When you look at the whole picture, it’s easy to see that Rauner, his appointees on the U of I board, and their representatives in Labor Relations don’t really care about UIC (when they remember we exist). That is why UICUF will be fighting for an investment in human capital this year, an investment that will ensure the recruitment and retention of the top-notch educators and researchers that our students and Chicagoans deserve.

* * *

Our next contract bargaining session is Wednesday, September 12th. In the interim, we will continue to post weekly articles on topics of critical interest to our membership.

For the duration of the bargaining process, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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16 Aug UIC United Faculty Newsletter: 1st Issue!

Today, we are excited to publish our first full newsletter, the UIC United Faculty VOICE! Learn about issues affecting our members, upcoming events, and new member benefits from our affiliates. You can also download a printable PDF version of the VOICE. Enjoy!

We also want draw your attention to the our union’s Representative Assembly Meeting, and New Faculty Meet and Greet next Thursday. All members are encouraged to participate in our union democracy at our Rep Assembly in UH2028 at 3pm, and then join us in welcoming new faculty at the end of their orientation in Student Center East at 4:45pm.

Lastly, bargaining updates will resume next week with our last negotiating session of the summer. Our previous contract has officially expired, but will remain fully in force until a new contract is agreed upon by both parties. If you have any concerns in this regard, contact us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. In the meantime, visit our facebook and twitter feeds for more content.

Faculty voice Issue 1-1Faculty voice Issue 1-2Faculty voice Issue 1-3Faculty voice Issue 1-4Faculty voice Issue 1-5

PDF/Printable Version: Faculty voice Issue 1

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09 Aug UIC Union Coalition Action: Labor Relations Responds

union-office-sign-raster2

Campus Unions Unite for Answers

On July 24th, UIC United Faculty, along with two dozen representatives from our fellow unions, GEO, SEIU and INA, visited the administration’s Labor Relations office. By that time, we had already spent several months trying to negotiate with LR on common-sense policy updates related to the Janus ruling. Particularly at stake was the timely and accurate inclusion of new members, and the exclusion of non-members on dues deduction.

A month after the ruling, LR had not agreed to a mutually workable dues policy, and they appeared to be implementing their own policy changes without informing, much less consulting with, our unions. When our repeated efforts to have them disclose these policy changes were ignored, we felt we needed to take stronger action. That day, we walked into the LR offices to read our demands, and emailed the letter to the head of LR for good measure.

Labor Relations Responds

It’s now clear that Labor Relations did get the message. We were somewhat surprised at how quickly our action elicited a response!

We were also disappointed by the response we finally did get back from the Head of LR, which was blustery and riddled with inaccuracies. We conferred with our fellow unions, and together issued a level-headed follow up, asking for clarification on LR’s erroneous claims. So far, we have not heard back.

In the spirit of openness, here are Labor Relations’ response on post Janus dues deduction and our union coalition’s follow-up to that response. 

What Happens Now?

So what *did* we get out of this excursion? Some answers, at least as to how Labor Relations views their responsibility toward campus unions and union members. It’s now very clear we will have to take further action vis-à-vis our own contract, and possibly through legal channels to ensure the protection of our membership. Indeed, it seems clear from their response that LR is inviting such action.

We are now also suddenly in receipt of payroll data that we were essentially told couldn’t be provided prior to this point. That data shows pretty clearly that our action to have the university honor new union memberships in a timely manner WORKED. We should see the proof of that in the next payroll

While the effort to protect our members’ paychecks from petty Labor Relations games will doubtless continue, we consider this a definitive step toward a positive resolution.

* * *

Our next contract bargaining session is Wednesday, August 23rd. In the interim, we will continue to post weekly articles on topics of critical interest to our membership. Look out next week for an overview of student evaluations, how they’re used here at UIC and elsewhere, and the best practices we hope to win for our university in the future.

For the duration of the bargaining process, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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25 Jul Union to UIC Administration: Stop Playing Games with Members’ Money

UIC Unions Stand Together

UF-GEO-INA-SEUI MOB 7-24-18

Yesterday, the UIC United Faculty joined with the Graduate Employees Organization, Illinois Nurses Association, and SEIU Local 73 to tell the UIC administration that we will not accept any further bureaucratic dithering or intransigence where union membership is concerned.

UIC Administration: Playing Games With Your Dues Money

On June 27th, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, which stripped unions of the right to collect fair share fees. Anticipating this, UICUF and a number of other campus unions had been working with UIC administration to make sure the transition would roll out smoothly when it came. We were assured by the administration that dues deductions would cease for non-members, and continue for members. We were assured the process would be seamless and accurate.

However, after the ruling, the administration was non-responsive and unwilling to meet with us. Representatives of UIC Payroll, Human Resources and Labor Relations systematically ignored our efforts to confirm accuracy of membership lists prior to the July payroll deadline. Since then, administrators from these offices have insisted that there is no need to meet and discuss this topic.

Given that in the last payroll, UIC failed to deduct dues for over a hundred of our members without notice, we very strongly disagree.

Solidarity In Action

MOB Reading Demands 7-24-18

We have been ignored, told nothing has changed, told changes can’t be made in a timely manner, told that they will happily drop our members outside the bounds of our contracts, and told that our contracts have not been violated. So yesterday, dozens of UIC union members and leadership gathered at the Human Resources office tell them a few things.

Naturally, they sent a visibly flustered, completely new and unknown Labor Relations representative to deal with us, while the head of LR was “not in the office,” even though he was seen moments after we left. Unperturbed, we read our demands with a promise to return if our concerns are not addressed immediately.

Below is our open letter to the UIC Administration. We hope they will respond with clear answers and real solutions. We are, however, prepared should they choose to continue to obfuscate and obstruct.

Open Letter to UIC Administration

Thomas Riley

Executive Director- Labor and Employee Relations

University of Illinois at Chicago- Human Resources

Westside Research Office Bldg. (MC 264)
1747 West Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL 60612

July 24, 2018

Dear Mr. Riley,

In light of the June 27 Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, and in response to the University’s attempts to unilaterally impose a new system for payroll deductions and revocations without consultation from the campus unions and in violation of the collective bargaining agreements, the Illinois Nurses Association, SEIU Local 73, United Faculty, and Graduate Employees Organization are demanding the following. We expect a response from you by Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

  1. The University will stop stealing money from the Unions by immediately correcting payroll codings by the next pay period. The University will compensate the Unions the amount of money it failed and refused to deduct in the last two pay periods.
  2. The University will cease and desist from improperly honoring revocation requests made directly to the Employer. Union membership is between the member and the Union. The University will not cease to deduct and remit payroll deductions from a Union member unless directed to do so by the Union.
  3. If the University is in possession of a signed Union membership card for a member of the bargaining unit at least 7 business days before a paycheck, the University will deduct dues from that member’s paycheck and remit them to the Union.
  4. When the Union submits new membership cards to the University, within 2 business days, the University will confirm receipt of the cards to the Union and will confirm that the cards will be properly processed to facilitate payroll deductions.
  5. When the University fails to process payroll deductions from a member of the bargaining unit with a signed Union membership card on file, it will notify the Union upon discovery of the error and will, upon the Union’s request, process double the normal amount of payroll deductions in the next paycheck.
  6. To ensure proper payroll deductions, the University will provide the most up-to-date bargaining unit list, in Excel spreadsheet format, to the Union upon request.

If these demands are not met, the unions reserve our rights to pursue any and all remedies available to us under our respective collective bargaining agreements, state, and/or federal law.

Sincerely,

Jeff Schuhrke and Anne Kirkner

GEO Co-Presidents

Janet Smith

President, United Faculty

Doris Carroll and Paul Pater

Co-Chief Stewards INA

Membership

SEIU Local 73

 

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05 Jul Happy 4th (and 5th) of July From a UNITED FACULTY

National_Labor_Relations_Act2

Another Reason to Celebrate

Happy 4th (and 5th) of July from UIC’s United Faculty!

Many of you will have been out celebrating Independence Day with your friends and family yesterday, enjoying a well deserved holiday. We also want to remind you that today, the 5th of July, marks the 83rd anniversary of the National Labor Relations Act, which gave workers the *legal* right to form unions, bargain and strike.

This didn’t just happen because the powers that be were feeling generous after their patriotic revelries that day. Workers across the nation, and the organizations representing their interests, fought hard in their workplaces, in the streets, and in the halls of power, to bring this bill to FDR’s desk, and have him sign it.

And Another Reason to Join

Last week, the US Supreme Court made another historic decision, this time, stripping unions of the right to collect a fair share of fees from all workers benefiting directly from the services and representation their unions provide.

This means that today, if you wish to have a strong union, a representative voice in contract negotiations, and a credible defender of your rights in the workplace, you have to make a proactive decision. While we don’t agree with the outcome of the Janus decision last week, we can all agree on this: with or without fair share fees, our union’s true strength is our willingness to stand together and ACT together for our shared interests.

Fortunately, a week out from what was meant to be an historic blow to unions across the nation, we can say that our union remains strong. We’ve just begun bargaining a new contract, and our office has, in fact, been overwhelmed with both new membership applications, and current members reaffirming their solidarity with their colleagues.

You can add your voice to this chorus of faculty saying “I’m sticking with my union” by becoming a member today. Eligible UIC faculty (both Tenure Track and Non Tenure Track), contact us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com to learn more and join our union!

As a reminder, our next bargaining session is next week, July 11th.

For the duration of the bargaining process, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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27 Apr Illinois TEACHOUT Resolution

Support the April 27th TEACH OUT for Illinois Higher Education

Adopted by UIC Senate 4/26/17

 

WHEREAS: The State of Illinois has failed to pass a full higher education budget since fiscal year 2015; and

WHEREAS: Higher education funding and MAP grants have endured both repeated governor veto and failed veto override votes (Chicago Tribune); and

WHEREAS: Proposed budgets further cut higher education (Illinois Office of Management and Budget FY16, FY17, FY18); and

WHEREAS: The State of Illinois has failed to pass and support MAP Grants for our low income students in the current academic year (Illinois Student Assistance Commission); and

WHEREAS: Students are adversely affected by the continued budget impasse by programs being eliminated, classrooms with insufficient supplies, larger class sizes due to the lack of faculty and staff, and cuts in services offered to assist students (University Professionals of Illinois Local 4100); and

WHEREAS: Due to consistent underfunding of public higher education in Illinois, students face the 5th highest average public university tuition and fees in the country and highest in the Mid-West (College Board); and

WHEREAS: Over 70% of graduating Illinois students have student loan debt which is, on average, $30,000 or more (Lendedu.com); and

WHEREAS: Over 16,000 students last year left the state to attend out-of-state universities p;than pursue their degrees in Illinois (The New York Times); and

WHEREAS: Some students have been forced to delay their education due to these cuts (Springfield Journal Registrar); and

WHEREAS: University employees have been laid-off, furloughed and/or forced to take pay-cuts and/or defer their salary to keep university doors open (NEIU, CSU, EIU, WIU and several Community Colleges including Black Hawk College, Rock Valley College, Elgin Community College, McHenry Community College, Richland College among others); and

WHEREAS: Universities have moved to eliminate programs due to decreasing enrollment and that these program cuts tend to be in the humanities which teach vital critical and creative thinking (CSU, GSU, WIU and pending at EIU and NIU); and

WHEREAS: The State of Illinois has chronically underfunded public higher education including being the only agency cut in nominal dollars when compared to FY2000 (FY2000=$2.15 billion compared to FY15 = $1.99 billion) and when adjusted for inflation, Illinois public higher education has suffered a 41% cut in funding between FY 2000 and FY2015 (Center for Tax and Budget Accountability); and

WHEREAS: The stop-gap appropriation passed by the Illinois General Assembly in June 2016 resulted in an over 78.5% cut in funding when compared to FY 2000 (adjusted for inflation) making it the single largest cut in higher education in the country (Center for Tax and Budget Accountability); and

WHEREAS: Between 2008 and 2015 Illinois has cut per pupil higher education funding by over 54%, the second highest in the country (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities) ; and

WHEREAS: Higher education degrees are vital to long-term personal and state economic growth as well as civic and cultural growth; and

WHEREAS: Our students and our state deserve better;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:  The UIC Faculty Senate support the state-wide TEACH OUT for Illinois Higher Education on April 27 in Springfield where all Illinois universities and colleges bring students and employees to occupy the hallways and rotunda in the Capitol Building to hold classes and demand full MAP and Higher Education Funding; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT: We encourage all supporting organizations and groups join in the state-wide TEACH OUT for Illinois Higher Education.

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05 Apr Shared Governance and Academic Freedom Award Winner Announced

UIC United Faculty Awards First Annual

John Shuler Award for Shared Governance and Academic Freedom

to the English Department

 Resolution Adopted by the UICUF Representative Assembly

March 21, 2017

WHEREAS, the Department of English revised its bylaws in May 2015 to include “all tenured and tenure-track Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, and Professors, all non-tenure track Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, and Visiting Lecturers, and all tenured, tenure-track or non-tenure track Clinical Assistant Professors, Clinical Associate Professors, and Clinical Full Professors” in its definition of its faculty, making Non-Tenure Track faculty voting members of the Department and creating permanent positions for all ranks on standing department committees;

AND WHEREAS, under the leadership of former Head Walter Benn Michaels, current Head Lisa Freeman, and members of the Non-Tenure Track and Tenure Track faculty, the Department of English led the effort in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to develop procedures for Non-Tenure Track promotion in accordance with provisions in the Collective Bargaining Agreement;

AND WHEREAS, the Department of English has developed transparent procedures for reviewing and documenting the performance of Non-Tenure Track faculty, including regular teaching observations, department-specific student teaching evaluations, and norms for service and professional development;

AND WHEREAS, the Department of English has a long-standing practice of electing a Steering Committee, which as of May 2015 included Non-Tenure Track faculty members, to oversee the process of ranking faculty members for merit-based raises;

AND WHEREAS, faculty in the Department of English have been leaders in the movement to protect academic freedom and defend public higher education, including organizing a Free Higher Education event in January 2016, publishing on the UIC United Faculty organizing campaign in Jacobin Magazine (Davis & Michaels, 2014), and publishing on the AAUP One Faculty campaign in Academe (Michaels & McFarland, 2015);

IT IS RESOLVED, that the Department of English will be awarded the 2016-2017 UIC United Faculty John Shuler Award for Shared Governance and Academic Freedom.

***

UICUF’s John Shuler Award for Shared Governance and Academic Freedom will be an annual award to a department or college that demonstrates its commitment, through action, to truly democratic shared governance and academic freedom. The union sees the Shuler award as a way to sustain our memory of John and to continue the work he had planned for his future, encouraging our faculty to pursue these goals in his spirit and his honor.

John Shuler was a beloved member of the UICUF community.  Doggedly involved with the union from its beginning, he was a tireless member of our bargaining committee and, at the time of his untimely death in 2016, served as treasurer.  He was also energetically involved with the UIC Senate.  For 23 years, John was a mainstay at the UIC library, responsible for government information/documents.

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28 Mar UICUF March for Science

UIC United Faculty endorses and will participate in the Chicago March for Science, a sister march to the Washington, DC, March for Science, planned for April 22, 2017.

The organizing/steering committee of the DC March for Science includes an anthropologist, a physiologist, a health educator, a neuroscientist, an ethnobotanists/indigenous scientist, a science communicator, a pharmacologist, an engineer, and a philosopher of science.

The mission of the March for Science in DC is “to champion robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.” https://www.marchforscience.com/

The march has been officially endorsed by several organizations, including AAUP, AAAS, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the NY Academy of Science, various professional organizations, and more. See the full list at http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/02/will-they-or-won-t-they-what-science-groups-are-saying-about-joining-march-science

Sister marches are planned in hundreds of cities across the country and the world, including Chicago. The mission of the Chicago march is “to show support for the scientific community. To safeguard the scientific process, and research funding, when seeking answers to the things that matter.To publicly celebrate science, which helps us make sense of ourselves and our world. To encourage curiosity and exploration, the heart of the scientific approach.” http://sciencemarchchicago.org/

UICUF endorses and will participate in the March for Science to foster an environment conducive to science, because:

  • Science is essential for the health of our communities, the safety of our environment, the future of our planet.
  • Science values diversity; diversity enriches sciences.
  • Science is an international pursuit.
  • Science needs to be open and independent.

 

Adopted by the UICUF Representative Assembly March 1, 2017.

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07 Feb Healthcare Message to Members

Dear UIC United Faculty Member,

As you may recall about a year ago we sent a request to President Killeen regarding our concerns about future increases to the cost of our health care. As a result of our advocacy and working in coalition with the UIC Senate, Academic Professional Advisory Council, and Staff Advisory Council leaders, the President formed a taskforce. After doing research and holding three town hall meetings, a report was produced and recently shared with leadership at all three campuses.

You can find the report at this link:

The Executive Board of UIC United Faculty has reviewed it and find that while it is very informative, it does not indicate what the university will do – if anything – should health care costs increase. For details about how your health costs could go up, see this flyer prepared by the IFT

We will be discussing the options outlined in the report and what strategies we might pursue moving forward at our next full membership meeting, March 8, 3:00-5:00pm at Student Center East.

In the meantime, I encourage you to attend the APAC “Budget Outlook” Town Hall, February 9th, 2:00 – 4:00 PM, Thompson Room, Student Center West, 828 West Wolcott Avenue.

Also, we informed you in an email January 24th that the Illinois Senate was working on a Budget Grand Bargain, which included cuts to our pension and a smaller budget for higher education. As of today, the 13 bill package has still not come to a vote. However, it may happen this week, so if you have not yet called your state senator to voice your opinion about this, this is the week to do so.

With the support of IFT staff in Springfield and AFT staff in Washington DC, we are watching with a keen eye all legislation that is being considered and the positions of our elected officials. These are certainly interesting times – all the more reason we need a strong union.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email me or your representative. You can find contact information on the UICUF website, http://uicunitedfaculty.org/.

In solidarity,

Janet Smith
UIC United Faculty President
Local #6456 AFT-IFT, AAUP, AFL-CIO
http://uicunitedfaculty.org/

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