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15 Aug UICUF Bargaining team offers final contract proposals during negotiation

Our next session is Mon, 8/22 at 10am at SCE, Oak Room. We hope to see you there!
Please join us for informational picketing on the first two days of classes!
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive the latest contract news!

On Monday, August 8, the UICUF bargaining team held its 8th negotiation session with the UIC administration team. At this meeting, the UICUF team passed our final contract proposals, Article VI. Compensation, Leaves and Group Health & Article XXIV. Teaching Professor and Conversion to Tenure System Faculty (a new article in the NTT contract only). With these final articles, we have now presented the administration with a comprehensive set of proposals.

On Monday, August 22 from 10am to 1pm, we will meet with the administration’s bargaining team again to continue passing counter proposals and hear their responses on compensation, workload, reappointment, and a number of other articles that are in their court. Bargaining will take place in the White Oak Room in Student Center East, and all UICUF members are welcome to observe negotiations and participate in caucus discussions. 

To show support for the bargaining committee, re-engage members as they return to campus, and make it clear to the administration that we are serious about settling these contracts, UICUF will be holding informational pickets August 22 from 9-11am outside of Student Center East and August 23 from 11am-1pm outside of UH. You can sign up to join one or more picketing shifts here

This summer, most of our proposals have been countered by rejection–the admin team has simply crossed out our proposed language. But it is fully within the administration’s power, now that they have both our comprehensive proposal and the labor relations representative at the table, to offer a complete contract proposal at our next bargaining session on the 22nd, or shortly thereafter. 

Based on previous experience, this is unlikely to occur–the U of I System has a history of pushing unions to a strike vote or a full-blown strike before engaging in significant negotiation and counter-proposing. But informative discussion has occurred this summer, and we feel that the bargaining team has done an excellent job of making our positions and the rationale for them clear. At this point in the process, a counter-proposal from the administration team that sincerely engages with our proposals and responds meaningfully to expressed faculty needs is a quite reasonable expectation. 

During the fall semester, bargaining sessions will be held weekly. We have asked that sessions be held on-campus and in-person, and we invite members to join us and observe. We will share information about when and where sessions will take place as they’re set up and will continue to update members through email. We also invite you to follow UICUF on Facebook and Twitter to stay abreast of the most recent developments, actions, and faculty testimonials between bargaining sessions.
In Solidarity,
The UIC UF Bargaining team

Xochitl Bada (Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies) | Aaron Krall (Senior Lecturer, English) | Andy Baker (Clinical Assistant Professor, Music) | Anna Kornbluh (Professor, English) | Becky Bonarek (Lecturer, Tutorium in Intensive English) | Charitianne Williams (Senior Lecturer, English) | Gosia Fidelis (Associate Professor, History)  | Ian Collins (Clinical Assistant Professor, Daley Library) | Jim Drown (Senior Lecturer, English) | Jeff Gore (Senior Lecturer, English)  | Jennifer Rupert (Senior Lecturer, English, Gender and Women’s Studies) | Kate Floros (Clinical Assistant Professor, Political Science) | Kate Lowe (Associate Professor, Urban Planning and Policy) | Kevin O’Brien (Clinical Associate Professor, Library of the Health Sciences) | Kevin Whyte (Professor, Math, Statistics, and Computer Science) | Laurie Quinn (Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Nursing Science) | Nicole Nguyen (Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies) | Paul Preissner (Professor, Architecture)
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28 Jul Bargaining Update: Comprehensive Counter-Proposal Expected Soon

  • UICUF Bargaining team met with UIC admin for 7th session: Discussion at the table focused on personnel files, the Office for Access and Equity, and fine-tuning the process for responding to student academic grievances.
  • Get to know your contract: Article VII. Institutional Commitments outlines the resources UIC must provide faculty for work-related duties and activities.

Bargaining Update

On Monday (7.25), we met with the UIC Administration team for our 7th bargaining session since June. UICUF passed along our proposals on Article II. Recognition, Article VII. Institutional Commitments, Article VIII. Union Membership and Activity, Article XIII. Health and Safety, and Article XXIII. Duration. This means administration now has all UICUF contract proposals with the exception of Article VI. Compensation, Leave, and Benefits. Past experience at the table has taught the bargaining team that once economic issues are introduced, conversation on all other workplace concerns is muted. We chose to introduce our economic proposals last to force negotiation and discussion on the other important workplace issues that have emerged in the years since our 2018 contract was ratified. As stated in our bargaining platform, our new proposals focus on three main priorities: 

  • Investing in Support & Security for Faculty
  • Prioritizing Accountability & Care in the Workplace
  • Amplifying Faculty Voice in Shared Governance

Our next bargaining session is August 8, 10am-1:30pm via Zoom. At this meeting, we will be introducing our economic proposals for the next contract, and setting the schedule for bargaining in the fall. UICUF has proposed that sessions be held in-person, on campus, and on a weekly basis until the contract is settled. After the 8th, the administrative team will have the full proposed contract, with almost 20 hours of discussion over the content. We hope to see a comprehensive response to our proposals soon. 

Members are encouraged to come and observe the August 8 session, and discuss negotiations with the team during caucus! Please contact the UICUF staff at UICUnitedfaculty@gmail.com if you have any questions, or simply join the session here.

Get to know your contract

Article VII. Institutional Commitments 
A. A well supported working environment promotes effective and sustainable teaching, learning,  service, and research. Therefore, within the limits of available resources and within the  University’s discretion, the University acknowledges its commitment to provide libraries,  technology, classroom assignments, and faculty support responsive to the needs of students and  faculty to meet the research mission and instructional/pedagogical needs of the departments,  consistent with high quality research and teaching at a nationally recognized research university. 

B. When faculty are required to travel on approved University business, the University will reimburse  for such travel. The University’s Business and Financial Policies and Procedures provide complete  guidelines for these reimbursements. Travel for University related business should be conducted as  economically as possible. 

C. Faculty performing employment duties are provided legal coverage as set forth in and under the  terms of the University of Illinois Liability Self-Insurance Plan, as that plan may be amended from  time to time. 

D. Faculty may request health-related accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or otherwise by contacting the Office of Access and Equity to request such  accommodations.

E. 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 program for provision of new computers will extend through August 15,  2022, and computers will be replaced if an existing computer is more than four years old during  the term of this Collective Bargaining Agreement. The University will provide hardware support  during the time the computer is covered by warranty and is assigned to the original bargaining  unit position. In accord with the State of Illinois and University procurement rules, the assigned  computer remains property of the University and assigned to the department. Computer use is  subject to the applicable Acceptable Usage Policy promulgated by ACCC, as such policy may be  amended from time to time. The process for replacing computers that will be more than four years old during the following academic year will be initiated every year of this agreement on or  before January 15th, and computers should be received no later than August 1st of each year. 

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. 

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.  

***

Institutional Commitments discusses resources necessary to teach, learn, and research at UIC. Our contract currently codifies reimbursement  for work-related activities; classroom and technology support; rights to accommodation and access; and provision of  a functioning and up-to-date computer.

The University-provided computer program (E.) is the most widely utilized guaranteed institutional commitment amongst members. This program became available through the UICUF 2015-2018 contract. All faculty within the UICUF bargaining units are entitled to a $1,500 computer and a 3-year extended warranty — the 3 year warranty is an extension over the standard 1 year warranties – so faculty should have a total of 4 years coverage, after which you are entitled to a new computer. The additional cost of extended warranties, where applicable, will be covered by the university in addition to the $1,500 limit.

In addition to the computer program, Article VII. addresses intellectual property rights for faculty. In recent years, concerns over faculty rights to materials posted and distributed via third-party contracts–such as Blackboard–or other online teaching materials produced during periods of remote learning have risen. Per the contract, all materials produced during the normal course of teaching and learning remain the author’s intellectual property. The only exception is if a faculty member was paid expressly for the production of materials above and beyond what would be a part of their normal workload/salary. Such agreements should be documented via a faculty member’s appointment letter for the term that the materials would be created. 

If you feel you are being inappropriately denied a university-issued laptop, intellectual property rights, appropriate accommodation, or effective classroom support, please contact your UICUF Representative Assembly member, or email UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. UICUF representation has a successful track record in supporting faculty denied the resources necessary to maintain UIC’s extraordinary academic environment. 

In Solidarity,
The UIC UF Bargaining team

Xochitl Bada (Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies) | Aaron Krall (Senior Lecturer, English) | Andy Baker (Clinical Assistant Professor, Music) | Anna Kornbluh (Professor, English) | Becky Bonarek (Lecturer, Tutorium in Intensive English) | Charitianne Williams (Senior Lecturer, English) | Gosia Fidelis (Associate Professor, History)  | Ian Collins (Clinical Assistant Professor, Daley Library) | Jim Drown (Senior Lecturer, English) | Jeff Gore (Senior Lecturer, English)  | Jennifer Rupert (Senior Lecturer, English, Gender and Women’s Studies) | Kate Floros (Clinical Assistant Professor, Political Science) | Kate Lowe (Associate Professor, Urban Planning and Policy) | Kevin O’Brien (Clinical Associate Professor, Library of the Health Sciences) | Kevin Whyte (Professor, Math, Statistics, and Computer Science) | Laurie Quinn (Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Nursing Science) | Nicole Nguyen (Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies) | Paul Preissner (Professor, Architecture)

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20 Jun Seeking information about salary payment delays and other issues

Dear UICUF member, 

Many UIC faculty have been having repeated problems with delayed pay. UICUF members have been reaching out to see what can be done, but because of the complicated bureaucracy involved, we don’t have a clear sense of where the issue originates or how best to approach it. We also do not know how widespread the problem of delayed pay is. 

To help us get a better sense of this problem and potential solutions, please fill out this short survey about your experience with timely (or untimely) payment. 

Because we want to get an accurate picture, please forward this email to any faculty members in your department that may not be represented by the union, but may be having problems.

In solidarity, 
UIC United Faculty leadership

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14 Jun Professional Development funds are a part of your compensation!

  • The UICUF 2018-2022 contract guarantees every faculty member professional development funds as a part of their compensation package. 
  • Many departments ask faculty to submit claims for reimbursement by the end of the fiscal year, June 30: August 15 is the hard deadline.
     

From our contract:

Article VI. Compensation, Leaves, and Group Health
A.1.c Professional Expense Reimbursements

Funds will be allocated each year of this Agreement so that each bargaining unit member shall receive up to ($600 NTT or $900 TT) for expenses related only to research and/or teaching-related professional development, to be reimbursed in accordance with University policy and guidelines. In the event that a bargaining unit member has an opportunity to travel for professional meetings/conferences, specific to their employment duties, then they may be eligible for an additional $600. Pre-approval for the additional funding must be obtained from the Unit Executive Officer prior to the event and, if approved, will be reimbursed in accordance with University policy and guidelines. These funds supplement departmental professional development budgets, if any, rather than replace them.

Professional development funds should be considered a part of your compensation/benefits package, although system policy stipulates that they must be used in a manner that befits and benefits the university. All programs and department bylaws should outline what is and is not acceptable use for these funds. In addition to the professional development funds, all faculty are entitled to an additional $600 dollars specifically for travel-related expenses related to meeting/conference attendance. This $600 dollars must be pre-approved by the faculty member’s Executive Officer. It is important to note that the funds established by the union contract is a minimum amount, and does not limit the amount departments may grant faculty for important development opportunities.

The hard deadline to use these funds is August 15th, although many departments ask faculty to use funds in advance of the deadline, either citing the end of the university fiscal year–June 30–or potential delays in processing a sudden onslaught of requests. In the spirit of collegiality, faculty should make every effort to comply with these requests when possible, but August 15th is the contractual deadline. Some members are reporting increased delays in reimbursement due to the system’s switch to a new reporting system for expenses. With these issues in mind, we would like to emphasize the importance of all faculty using their professional development funds as soon as possible as they do not roll over from previous academic years.

If you encounter issues with using your professional development funds, please do not hesitate to reach out to your local UICUF Representative Assembly Member (see list below) or email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

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25 May Judge Recommends Including Bridge to Faculty Scholars in Union!

  • Welcome to the newest UICUF members: In March 2022, 75% of the B2F members signed a petition to join our union. Last week, an administrative law judge recommended including B2Fs in the NTT unit. This puts the end in sight for a nearly two years-long effort to secure union protections for Bridge to Faculty.
  • Labor board to finalize decision June 15: The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board will meet on June 15 and will likely make a final decision based on the judge’s recommendation at that time.

The Bridge to Faculty (B2F) program offers two-year post-doctoral (or post-terminal degree) positions to underrepresented scholars with an expectation that they will join the tenure-track faculty at the end of their post-doc. The B2F program is arguably the foundation for attempts to recruit a more diverse faculty at UIC–one of the most serious issues facing the faculty, and indeed university as a whole.

Almost two years ago, a new UIC faculty member in the first cohort of B2F scholars attempted to join UICUF, the union that her offer letter said she could be a part of. To her, and our, surprise, HR refused to process her membership, saying she was not in the union’s bargaining unit after all. This initiated a fight to ensure union representation for Bridge to Faculty scholars that included a grievance, a bargaining unit clarification petition, and finally a majority interest petition in which 75% of B2Fs signed union cards and petitioned to join UICUF’s non-tenure track bargaining unit. This petition eventually went to a legal hearing in which various faculty and B2Fs testified to demonstrate the wide range of work NTT faculty do and the appropriateness of including B2Fs in that category. The University took a page from the playbook of the typical union buster, arguing that the B2Fs could only be represented in a much larger (and harder to organize) unit of all postdoctoral research associates.

On Thursday, May 19, the judge who presided over the hearing issued a recommendation to accept the petition, finally allowing B2Fs to unionize. The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board will make a final decision based on this recommendation when they meet on June 15. UIC administration, despite the Administrative Law Judge’s well-reasoned recommendation, plans to appeal. UICUF will submit a response to the appeal when the administration actually files it, and the Board will consider the appeal and response in making their final decision.

The University administration has been inexplicably intransigent regarding B2F unionization, resisting informal resolution or settlement at various stages. Indeed, at times the university lawyers have wandered into genuinely insulting territory, suggesting that the highly accomplished scholars in the B2F program are unqualified to be faculty. Through all of this, the B2F scholars have remained admirably committed to advocating for themselves and each other, despite the precarity of their positions.

As B2F scholar Ash Stephens from the Department of Criminology, Law, and Justice explains, “As a postdoctoral scholar/researcher, being a part of UIC United Faculty is crucial to my livelihood. Being a member of UICUF would allow all B2F scholars labor protections and the ability to build collective power. I see unions as a place where many of the inequities of race, class, disability, gender, and other social positions of marginalization are prioritized when we discuss how they intersect with work and labor. It puts all B2F scholars in vulnerable positions to have our work unprotected.”

Despite the administration’s commitment to fighting the basic rights of B2F scholars, we at UICUF are excited to welcome the first cohort of B2Fs to the tenure track this fall and to welcome the rest into official membership in the non-tenure track bargaining unit once the labor board meets. The victory is important not only to the people who constitute the Bridge to Faculty program, but also as a clear message to administration that fair treatment and respect for Black and Brown scholars must be a part of their efforts to diversify UIC faculty.

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26 Apr GEO Wins Tentative Agreement | Celebrate Janet Smith this Friday

  • GEO settles contract, suspends strike: grad workers won protections for survivors, increased wages, and fee waivers, among other important victories. 
  • Rally to memorialize Janet Smith, Friday at 12pm: Join us to celebrate Janet’s memory and rally to continue her fight for worker power at UIC and beyond. 
  • Action to save the quad, Thursday at 12pm: Join UIC undergraduates and the cultural centers in an action to save the quad as a space for protest and gathering.

Dear Colleagues,

At midnight last night, GEO and the UIC administration bargaining team reached a tentative agreement on the remaining articles of the GEO contract. GEO has suspended their strike and will hold a ratification vote later this week. In addition to increased protections for workers experiencing harassment, discrimination, and bullying, GEO won a 9.6% pay increase for the coming academic year and 3.75% and 3.25% increases in the following two years. All striking workers will have the opportunity to make up their missed work for full pay, and everyone currently in the bargaining unit will receive a lump sum retroactive payment of $1,000 for each of the past two semesters. See GEO’s wins summary for more details. 

We greatly appreciate all the solidarity that faculty have shown during the strike. Your contributions undoubtedly helped push the university administration toward a fairer contract. 

We will continue this spirit of solidarity by celebrating Janet Smith’s life and legacy this Friday at noon outside University Hall. Colleagues and comrades will speak to Janet’s enormous impact on UICUF, UIC, and the labor movement in Chicago. We will also present the inaugural Janet Smith Organizing Award to Gayatri Reddy (GWS, GLAS, Anthropology) and two years’ worth of John Shuler Shared Governance and Academic Freedom Awards to Philosophy and Global Asian Studies. We’ll conclude by introducing the 2022-24 UICUF leadership and sending the bargaining team into the summer with some rallying chants. After all, we couldn’t properly honor Janet’s memory without bringing some fighting, chanting spirit.  

Janet thought and cared a lot about physical spaces and how we use them. To honor that, we are asking participants to bring items that evoke Janet: photos, jewelry, buttons, or anything else that brings her to mind. We will have a space set aside to hold these items for the duration of the memorial. We hope to see you all there. 

Another way to honor Janet’s legacy and the history of protest at UIC is to join UIC undergrads and the Cultural Centers in resisting the planned renovation of the quad, which would eliminate it as a gathering space for rallies and other events and make it less accessible for people who need to pass through it. Please join students for an action in the quad this Thursday, 4/28 at noon and write to the Chancellor and Provost to express your support for the students’ concerns. 

Sincerely,

UIC United Faculty Leadership

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20 Apr Bring your class to the pickets! (and other ways to support GEO)

Dear UICUF members, 

As you know, our graduate worker colleagues have been on strike since Monday fighting for adequate pay, an end to fees, and protections for grad workers who are experiencing bullying and harassment. 

The UIC administration has been dragging its feet in negotiations and seems to be trying to punish grad workers for striking rather than trying to end the strike quickly. GEO needs our support in showing them that UIC cannot function as usual when grad workers withhold their labor! Here are a few ways you can be in solidarity with GEO: 

Join the pickets! There’s no way to show solidarity like walking a picket line. Given the choice between teaching on campus and joining the pickets versus teaching remotely, it is better to come to campus. 

Walking a picket line is very educational! Some faculty have given their classes the option of going together to the picket lines rather than meeting remotely or canceling class. Undergraduates who join the picket lines boost the energy of striking grad workers and learn invaluable lessons about power, collective action, and solidarity. 

Join a rally! AFT President Randi Weingarten will be speaking in the quad tomorrow, Thursday 4/21/22 at 10:30am. Keep an eye on GEO’s twitter for announcements of other upcoming actions. 

Send a departmental letter of support! GEO is asking faculty in all academic units to send letters of support to the university administration. Several departments have already done so. The departments of HistoryGLAS, and CLJ have already sent letters that can serve as inspiration for your department.  

Solidarity, 
UIC United Faculty Leadership

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13 Apr GEO Strike Begins Monday, April 18

Dear Colleagues,

The UIC Graduate Employees Organization (GEO), which represents Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants, remains far apart from the University administration on issues of salary, fees, and protections against workplace harassment, assault, and bullying. GEO intends to begin an indefinite strike on Monday, April 18th, 2022, assuming all the issues separating them are not resolved in their last bargaining session on April 14th. This guide describes how faculty can support GEO, as well as the legal rights of striking workers, which must be respected. 

SUPPORTING GEO DURING THE STRIKE
The following activities are both legally permissible and recommended by UIC GEO and UICUF for faculty who wish to support striking graduate workers: 

  • Don’t perform, or hire replacement workers to perform, duties assigned to TAs or GAs.
  • Participate in their letter-writing campaign and forward this request to colleagues and students.
  • Donate to GEO’s strike fund.
  • Join GEO members on picket lines when not working. You can show up at the Quad between 9 am and 4 pm for directions on where you are most needed.
  • Talk to students about why GEO is striking, including fair wages, fee waivers, and protection against harassment, assault, and bullying. 
  • Use a GEO zoom profile image, which you may download here
  • Avoid crossing picket lines between 9 am and 4 pm (locations of the pickets below)
    • Consider alternative forms of teaching (e.g., online/virtual)
    • Move classes to either evening hours, to an off-campus location, or to non-struck buildings, if possible and allowed under your unit’s policy.
    • If you do need to cross the line, join the line first to express your support.

RESPECTING THE LEGAL RIGHTS OF GRAD WORKERS DURING THE STRIKE 
Union membership, organizing in the workplace, and taking part in a strike are all legally protected activities. Broadly, participation in these activities cannot be punished, interfered with, restrained, or discouraged by an employer. We recommend that faculty be especially mindful of the following legal protections for striking grad workers:

  • It is a violation of the UICUF collective bargaining agreement with the University for faculty covered by that agreement to be asked to perform any duties of striking graduate workers.
  • It is unlawful to fire, discipline, or retaliate against grad workers for participating in a strike or union activity. 
  • It is unlawful to ask grad workers to inform anyone in advance of participating in a strike or union activity. 
  • It is unlawful to record or threaten to record the names of grad workers participating in a strike or union activity.
  • It is unlawful to discriminate against, restrain, or coerce grad workers regarding union membership or activity.  

In some University communications to faculty, it has been suggested that faculty and heads/chairs may choose to cover graduate student duties such as grading or covering labs/discussions on a case-by-case basis. However, the UICUF contract protects faculty from being required to cover the duties of striking workers. If you are asked to do so, please inform union leadership at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com

FAQs
For additional information, please refer to our FAQ document and/or contact us at uicunitedfaculty@gmail.com

PICKETING LOCATIONS

  • University Hall (UH)
  • Lecture Centers A, B, C, D, E, and F
  • Grant, Douglas, Lincoln, Taft, Burnham, Adams, and Stevenson Halls (GH, DH, LH, TH, BH, AH, SH)
  • Science and Engineering Labs (SEL)

As fellow union members, we thank you in advance for respecting the rights of organized graduate employees during any upcoming labor actions, and encourage you to lend your support outside the classroom as you are able.

If you have any questions or wish to share information you are receiving from the University administration, please email UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

Solidarity,

UIC United Faculty Leadership

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08 Apr GEO Files Intent to Strike; The Racial Consequences of Underfunding Public Higher Ed; UICUF Awards; AFT Survey of NTT Faculty 

  • UIC Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) files intent to strike: GEO has set April 18 strike date.
  • The racial consequences of underfunding public higher education: UICUF’s Committee on Political Education (COPE) is hosting a talk by Laura Hamilton on April 20, 3:30
  • Nominations being accepted for John Shuler and Janet Smith Annual Awards: UICUF annually recognizes academic units that have demonstrated extraordinary achievements in shared governance and/or in advancing academic freedom with the John Shuler Award. This year we will begin an annual recognition of extraordinary faculty organizing with the Janet Smith Award. Nominations for both awards are now open.
  • AFT seeking NTT faculty to complete survey: The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), with which we are affiliated, wants to understand the current work and personal life experiences of NTT faculty against the backdrop of uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus and attacks on academic freedom. Link to survey is below. 

Dear Colleagues,

UIC GEO Files Intent to Strike
Last week 97% of participating GEO members voted to authorize their Bargaining Committee to call a strike if the committee concludes that a strike is necessary to achieve a fair contract. Following the most recent bargaining session on April 7, GEO filed the legally required intent-to-strike notice with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, allowing their Bargaining Committee to call a strike starting on April 18. We will share details next week on continuing issues of contention. We will also share how faculty can act in solidarity with GEO, and what your own legal rights and responsibilities are in the event of a GEO strike.

The Racial Consequences of Underfunding Public Higher Education
The UICUF Committee on Political Education (COPE) invites you to a Zoom conversation with Laura Hamilton, the author of Broke: The Racial Consequences of Underfunding Public Universities. The event will take place on Wednesday April 20 from 3:30-5:00 pm. In Broke, Hamilton uses the model of the “new university”—large public universities serving predominantly minority and economically marginalized students—to examine the relationship between the defunding of public higher education and the burdens being placed on students today. Her work ultimately suggests how we can break the cycle of austerity in public higher education.

The event is open to all UICUF and COPE members. You can access the event here.

The COPE is the political action committee of UICUF. Its goals include educating members on political issues around public higher education, endorsing pro-public education and pro-labor politicians, and supporting legislation that benefits public higher education students and faculty. The COPE is funded by the voluntary donations of UICUF members. To become a monthly supporter of the COPE (for as little as $1/month), please click here. If you have questions about the COPE or would like to become a board member, please contact COPE chair Jeffrey Kessler (jeffc.kessler@gmail.com). 

John Shuler and Janet Smith Awards
The UICUF Executive Board plans to present three awards on April 29:

  • 2020-2021 John Shuler Award for Shared Governance and Academic Freedom
  • 2021-2022 John Shuler Award for Shared Governance and Academic Freedom
  • 2021-2022 Janet Smith Organizing Award

To determine a list of candidates, we are asking members to nominate academic units (for the Shuler Award) and individuals (for the Smith Award) by sending a one-paragraph statement about activities and accomplishments that merit recognition via email to Jeff Edwards (UICUFJeff@gmail.com) by April 12. For the Shuler Award, please make nominations based on accomplishments during either the 2020-2021 or 2021-2022 academic year.

UICUF’s John Shuler Award for Shared Governance and Academic Freedom is 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.

UICUF’s Janet Smith Organizing Award will be an annual award in recognition of a person or persons who made extraordinary contributions to faculty organizing. The union sees the Janet Smith Award as a way to sustain our memory of Janet, organizer extraordinaire.

Janet Smith was a charter member of UICUF, served on our first bargaining committee, and then served as president of UICUF from 2014 until her untimely death in 2022. Janet’s teaching, research, and community service focused on equity issues in housing. Her research and outreach activities were regularly conducted in partnership with community organizations and other community stakeholders. As a labor leader, she championed the UIC faculty members with the most precarious and vulnerable positions at the university. In her scholarship, and in her organizing on and off campus, she was a brilliant builder of worker and community power.

AFT Survey of NTT Faculty
The AFT seeks to follow up on its widely cited 2020 study, Army of Temps, by conducting a 2022 survey of NTT faculty against the backdrop of COVID and increasing attacks on academic freedom. We encourage our NTT colleagues to participate in this survey by clicking here.

Solidarity,

UIC United Faculty Leadership

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31 Mar Bridge-to-Faculty Scholars Seek Inclusion, Farewell to Tony Floriani 

  • Bridge-to Faculty Scholars: Bridge-to-Faculty Scholars and UICUF supporters testified before the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board on March 24 to win union recognition and inclusion in our non-tenure track bargaining unit.
     
  • Tony Floriani: UICUF staff organizer Tony Floriani is moving to a position with the Illinois Federation of Teachers after working for UICUF for five years.
     
  • Hold the Date: Rally at University Hall at noon, April 29, to honor Janet Smith, cheer on our Bargaining Committee as they begin bargaining our next contract, and recognize end-of-year UICUF awardees who have made extraordinary contributions to our union this year.

Dear Colleagues,

Our Bargaining Committee worked through Spring Break and will be intensifying its work finalizng contract proposals in advance of an initial bargaining session with university administrators. We are in the process of setting a date in the last half of April and will be able to announce that soon. Our current contract expires in August. In the meantime, we have two pieces of news we want to share with you. 

Bridge to Faculty
With support from more than 75% of the 29 Bridge to Faculty (B2F) scholars, UICUF filed a petition to allow B2F faculty to join our union on February 23. Our petition went to a hearing before the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board on March 24. UICUF witnesses–including B2F scholars, NTT faculty, and tenured faculty who mentor B2Fs–did an excellent job establishing that B2F scholars’ working conditions and qualifications are on par with various NTT and TT faculty throughout the university.

Because of labor board rules that expedite the timeline for resolving majority interest petitions, we expect a decision in mid- to late June. All of the scholars in the first B2F cohort have been offered positions as Assistant Professors to start in Fall 2022. The scholars in both cohorts are an impressive group, and we are excited to officially welcome them into our union family one way or another.  

Farewell to Tony Floriani
Sadly, we must say goodbye to our stalwart comrade and super-dedicated staff organizer, Tony Floriani. Tony will be moving on to a terrific opportunity as a field service director with the Illinois Federation of Teachers. 

Tony started working with UICUF nearly five years ago in September, 2017. He came to us as a seasoned organizer and consistently brought abundant energy, steadfast commitment, and a challenging vision to our collective endeavors.

Tony began his journey as a union staffer in 2012, fresh off the energy of the Occupy protests.  His first labor job was as an organizer in central Texas, working with PK-12 teachers in non-union districts. In 2015, he moved to Florida to work with higher education locals including University of South Florida and St. Petersburg College. During his two years in Florida, he was sent on a campaign to organize grad workers at University of Chicago, where he met his wife, Veronica—a scholar and labor organizer herself. Within six months, Tony moved to Chicago and joined the staff of our union.

Tony has done a wide array of work for UICUF. Most prominently, he has written our weekly communications to the membership.  Much of his work, however, was behind-the-scenes, as he responded quickly to a multitude of queries from members, sought to ensure that our membership lists were as up-to-date as possible, and provided extremely valuable quantitative analysis for grievances. (Those are just several examples among many!)

Therese Quinn, our Vice-President for Tenure-Track Faculty, notes how much she will miss Tony. She especially values how Tony “brought together deep knowledge and organization and helped UICUF set up important systems. For example, Tony’s weekly updates on union matters have been indispensable reading for me, and there’s no going back! Now that we are used to regular and informative communications, the union will be able to build on Tony’s framework to continue that vital connection with our membership.” 

Acting President Aaron Krall adds: “among Tony’s many contributions to our union, I have always valued his ability to critically read situations. Whether it’s staking out a contrary position in a committee meeting, interpreting cryptic administrative statements, or encouraging us to push harder at the bargaining table, his experienced perspective has consistently helped me see the larger picture. I’m glad he’ll still be on our team at the IFT.”

Tony himself has made it clear to us that leaving UICUF was a difficult decision, and that he will indeed still very much be on our team. He leaves us with these inspiring words: “I’m proud of my ten years of service in the union movement, but I have particularly been impressed with UIC United Faculty for embodying so many of the best aspects of unionism. As a relatively new union, there will be a variety of opportunities to shape both your institution, UIC, and your own organization, UICUF, in profound ways. While there will be challenges ahead as well, I’m confident you’ll meet and overcome them with the dynamism I’ve come to expect of this organization and its leaders.” 

Tony promises to stay in touch. Please feel free to send along your goodbyes, good wishes, and statements of solidarity at tfloriani@ift-aft.org

April 29 Rally at University Hall
Please mark your calendar to join your union colleagues on the last day of classes, Friday, April 29, at noon, outside University Hall. We will honor Janet Smith, cheer on our bargaining team, and present the annual John Shuler Shared Governance and Academic Freedom Award and the inaugural Janet Smith Organizing Award. Details on these awards, and on how to nominate people for them, is forthcoming.

Solidarity,

UIC United Faculty Leadership

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