News

12 Feb Remembrance and Recognition

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  • Remembering Karen Lewis: Former CTU president and titan of the labor movement, Karen Lewis, passed away this weekend. CTU is holding a remembrance event followed by a religious service on zoom from 5-7pm tonight for all who wish to attend.
  • CTU Reaches Reopening Agreement: After almost a year of negotiations and tense moments over the past couple of weeks, CTU and CPS have reached and ratified a far-reaching agreement to reopen schools, raising the bar for COVID accommodations.
  • Union Accomplishments in the COVID Era: UICUF’s negotiations are progressing, and Unfair Labor Practices filed this summer will be heard in April, but we’ve already won a lot, like PD fund extensions, tenure rollbacks, and $1 million in prep compensation.
  • IFT/AFT Scholarships: Every year, our affiliates offer scholarship funds to the children of union members in good standing. IFT’s Porter and Megel scholarship applications are due March 5th. AFT Scholarship applications will open soon.

 

Dear Members,

It saddens us to bid farewell this week to Karen Lewis, a former President of the Chicago Teachers Union, and an inspirational leader whose impact on labor politics in Chicago and around the country cannot be overstated. The Chicago Teachers Union is holding a virtual Shiva, an event to remember and honor her life and contributions to our shared cause. The event will begin at 5pm with a memorial service and end with a religious service at 6:30pm. All who wish to attend are welcome. Among the many tributes, this one from CTU’s Jackson Potter provides a great history and memory of Karen.

CTU Reaches Reopening Agreement
Many teachers across the country have been forced back into classrooms this season, despite surging COVID cases and questionable or non-existent mitigation measures to protect workers and students. CTU held the line, demanding that the district negotiate a safe return, not just a quick one, even threatening to strike if teachers were disciplined for continuing to work remotely. This week, those efforts prevailed, as both sides compromised to reach an agreement that goes farther than almost any other such deal in the US. The deal was approved this week by the membership of CTU, and includes:

 

  • Phase-in reopening plans tied to vaccine distribution
  • School closures if needed for safety, defined by strict health metrics
  • Vaccination plans for all district employees
  • Remote-work accommodations for all employees with medical risks, frameworks for accommodating those with at-risk household members or childcare needs, and unpaid leave available for any worker not in the above groups, pending vaccination
  • Frequent testing to catch cases before they spread
  • Strict protections against unsafe conditions, including guaranteed PPE, ventilation, and other standards. Spaces not meeting these standards will not be used, and standards will be enforced by safety committees at each school including union representatives
  • Technology support for families that wish to keep their children learning remotely
  • Full Reinstatement for all workers previously locked out of classrooms

 

Many of these agreements are groundbreaking when taken individually, and together they will provide unprecedented safety and peace-of-mind for CPS workers and families.

UICUF Accomplishments in the COVID Era
While certainly modest compared to the exceptional agreement outlined above, UICUF has managed to secure significant accommodations for faculty as well since the pandemic began. These include safety considerations, such as pressuring the administration to confirm anyone wishing for remote teaching accommodations could have them before the start of Fall Semester, holding the line on working conditions, such as enforcing faculty’s academic freedom over classroom formats and recording of lectures, and financial considerations, like the extension of professional development funds, and a $1 million outlay for prep work to move certain classes into remote learning.

These victories are not without their flaws and compromises, not the least of which is the failure of the administration to yet put anything in a written agreement, enforceable under our contract. This is the most fundamental reason impact bargaining has continued: to ensure that concessions made by the administration are not merely lip-service. For the most part, this has not been a problem, but we have kept and will continue to keep them honest in executing COVID-related agreements, especially as we look at Fall semester planning and the deep uncertainty around budgets and in-person reopening schedules.

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

***

We hold regular office hours from 12-1pm Wednesday and Thursday each week. Use the following links to add them to your calendar:
Wednesday 12-1pm | Thursday 12-1pm

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

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05 Feb Solidarity With Chicago Teachers for Community Safety

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  • Chicago Teachers Union Fighting for Safety: CTU continues to push for safe reopening plans, and commitments to supporting the 80% of students who plan to remain remote even if schools reopen.
  • Strike Possible Next Week: If the city reopens schools without negotiating on key safety parameters like accommodations for those with vulnerable household members, there may be a strike as early as next week. See below for updates and ways to support.
  • UIC Budget Cuts Being Discussed: We have received confirmed reports that many units have been asked to plan contingencies for possible budget cuts this year. If you have information on these discussions occurring in your unit, please email us
  • New Deal For Higher Ed: AFT, AAUP, and faculty from institutions across the country are beginning a push for A New Deal For Higher Education. Join the kickoff call next Wednesday, Feb 10, 1pm CST!

 

Dear Members,

Even as a vaccine is being distributed, Chicago public school teachers are being pressured to return to as-yet unsafe school buildings–despite more than 80% of students, including the vast majority of students of color, saying they plan to remain remote. The Chicago Teachers Union is prepared to fight to reopen schools safely, and have put a safety strike on the table if the district locks-out teachers from their remote learning environments. The district and the Mayor have said they will reopen (and presumably lock teachers out if they don’t show in person) next Monday.

Make no mistake, this fight is our fight too. While most faculty have not experienced the same level of pressure to re-enter potentially unsafe in-person working environments, colleagues in some departments are working on campus, and our administration also has shown that they’re perfectly capable of acting on their own whims without waiting for faculty to weigh in. If this situation comes up closer to home, we will fight for our members’ rights to safety, and we hope our fellow unionists around the city and the state will support us. Please extend to our CTU teachers the same consideration you would want if you were in their shoes!

What is CTU Really Asking For?
CTU is asking the district to bargain over a safe return, and specifically have three major parameters that the district has yet to agree on:

 

  • Accommodations for workers with vulnerable household members who may be seriously endangered if they’re forced to return to unsafe conditions
  • A plan to vaccinate all workers in the CPS system who want it
  • A phase-in approach aligned with vaccinations to ensure re-openings are done safely

 

They will be trying through the weekend to find a deal, but CPS claims they do not have to bargain on these issues, and has said they’ve made their final offer. If no deal is reached, and teachers are locked out of remote classrooms as a result of continuing remote work for the safety of their families and students, CTU members have authorized a strike action in response.

What You Can Do To Help:

CTU is asking for help on a number of fronts. You can act RIGHT NOW to support them by doing the following:

 

  • Signing a letter to Governor Pritzker asking him to sign a bill restoring CTU’s right to bargain safety conditions. These rights were curtailed by unprecedented action at the state level by a prior legislature, though the bill didn’t touch other public unions.
  • Donating to a strike fund supporting workers who have already been locked out and whose pay has not been restored.
  • If you’re a CPS parent, share your story on why safety and a robust remote learning focus matters for you and your family.
  • Watching for updates on Facebook and Twitter on strike actions if a lockout occurs.

 

Budget Contingency Plans Underway in Some Units
UICUF has received strong evidence that many units have been asked to prepare contingencies in the event that their budgets were to be cut on the order of 10-15%. Needless to say, this is concerning, and we are keeping our eye on the situation. If you have heard any discussion of possible cuts or plans to accommodate hypothetical cuts, please email us confidentially at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com ASAP so we can develop a clearer picture of the situation.

New Deal For Higher Education
On a brighter note, next week will mark the kickoff event for A New Deal For Higher Education, a campaign led by union activists and university faculty, including our affiliate organizations, AFT and AAUP, who are working to imagine and implement a new vision for higher education in the US at all levels of government and governance. We’re excited to participate, and invite you to join the conversation yourself!

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

***

We hold regular office hours from 12-1pm Wednesday and Thursday each week. Use the following links to add them to your calendar:

Wednesday 12-1pm | Thursday 12-1pm

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

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29 Jan Answering the Provost’s Question on Post-Pandemic Teaching

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  • The Conversation is Already Happening: Did you know that the Provost has asked the deans to answer a series of questions about the bounds of pedagogical autonomy (i.e. who decides whether a class, office hour, advising session etc. should be online)?
  • Faculty Must Be Included in Decision Making: Your Deans were instructed to include you in the conversation. If they have not already done so, we strongly encourage faculty to be proactive and engage with leadership through shared governance mechanisms.
  • 1B Vaccine Priority Petition: Please consider signing IFT’s petition asking the state to include higher ed workers in the 1B vaccine distribution taking place right now.
  • Office Hours with Our Treasurer: Our Treasurer, Michael Scott, will join us for office hours Wed, 2/3/21, 12-1pm. Come with your thoughts or questions! Engineering folks are especially welcome to make use of Michael’s experience as the former College Rep.
  • A Victory for Our Hospital Workers: Our colleagues at the hospital have confirmed that since the petitions and other actions demanding their back pay, Admin has finally made their plans and timelines available. Thanks to all who signed!

 

Dear Members,

First, please consider signing IFT’s petition to expedite vaccine priority for higher ed workers (faculty, grad workers, and staff) who are slated to be included in the 1C vaccine distribution, estimated to be 1-2 months away. The petition asks for higher ed workers to join K-12 teachers and other public facing essential employees in the 1B vaccine distribution that is occurring right now. Many staff members and some faculty are even now working on campus and in public-facing capacities, and many more are doing so at other institutions across the state. We are asking that these individuals be prioritized as other essential workers are, in the current round of vaccinations.

Teaching Autonomy is an Academic Freedom Issue
Recently the union learned of a memo, sent by Provost Poser to college deans, asking them to consult with their faculty and report back by February 19th on how the university should think about delivering curriculum post-pandemic. On its face, this is not an unreasonable thing to be thinking about, but the details bear examining.

Several questions revolve around whether an individual faculty member should ever be required to teach or perform other duties online. We have a number of concerns with the framing of this issue, which we will elaborate on in an open letter to be published shortly. However, for now, we’ve seen some evidence of deans bringing these discussions to their faculty – and some evidence quite to the contrary. Deans were instructed to consult you, their faculty, and if they haven’t done so, we strongly encourage members to bring these issues to the fore through your shared governance channels where possible. If you would like help determining the best way of introducing this topic before Feb. 19th, please email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

Office Hours with Our College Reps
Next week, we welcome our Treasurer and former College of Engineering Representative, Michael Scott, to our office hour. Michael, is a long-time member and officer of the union, and we look forward to making his experience and expertise available to you. We encourage anyone interested to drop in, especially if you are an Engineering member with questions, concerns, or other ideas. As a reminder, office hours are held every week, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 12-1pm. See links above for the zoom invite, and links at the bottom of this email to add the sessions to your calendar.

Hospital Workers Won Unprecedented Transparency
Over the last several weeks, over 675 faculty and community members signed our petition demanding the administration honor hospital worker contracts and share their plans for executing promised pay increases that have been slow to materialize. This week, admin responded, and our union colleagues confirmed, that the process of distributing raises is now underway, with a detailed outline of their implementation plan. Our allies from SEIU have said that this is a level of transparency that they have never seen before, and they thank all their supporters. So thank you to everyone who signed our petition or took other actions!

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

***

We hold regular office hours from 12-1pm Wednesday and Thursday each week. Use the following links to add them to your calendar:

Wednesday 12-1pm | Thursday 12-1pm

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

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21 Jan Solidarity Saved My Department

  • A Solidarity Story: Last year Admin planned to outsource the vast majority of a key UIC program, the Tutorium for Intensive English. The program’s faculty pushed back, saving their program and their jobs, earning them last year’s UICUF John Shuler Award. In the video above, they share their story, in their own words.
  • 2021 Shuler Award: It’s time again for members to nominate their departments for the John Shuler Award, which is given every year, along with $500, to an academic unit that demonstrates excellence in shared governance. Download the application here!
  • Office Hours with CADA Rep: One of our Reps for the College of Architecture, Design and the Arts, Karyn Sandlos, will join us for office hours Thurs, 1/28/21, 12-1pm. CADA members are working on a variety of issues and we encourage you to join us
  • Supporting Our Health Workers: Our colleagues at the hospital are still fighting to have admin honor their contract commitments. We have supported them with a petition drive and public testimony at the Board of Trustees today. More as the situation evolves.

 

Dear Members,

At the beginning of 2020, even before the pandemic forced most of the university to shift to remote classes, the UIC administration began making moves to replace much of the Tutorium for Intensive English and its faculty with uncertified tutors provided by a for-profit business. The administration proceeded without any faculty input, and without regard for academic quality or the long-term academic success of our students. That’s when Tutorium faculty contacted UIC United Faculty.

Program faculty saw that individually there was little they could do (many had already made their protestation of the move plain), but with the help of the union, they began working together on a collective strategy to push back. Within a matter of weeks, armed with an enforceable contract and solidarity with their colleagues in a united front, the TIE faculty turned what appeared to be an inevitable defeat into a collective victory, saving their program and their own jobs. You can hear their story in their own words in the video above.

The UICUF John Shuler Award
For their efforts in turning back an outsourcing plan by working together in a way they had not been used to doing before, the UICUF Shared Governance Committee chose to award them  the 2020 John Shuler Award. The John Shuler Award is given each year to an academic unit that makes important strides in, or exceptionally demonstrates the principles of, shared governance. It is now time to begin nominating academic units for consideration of their work this academic year. Any member can nominate your unit by completing the application and mailing it to us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

Office Hours with Our College Reps
Next week, we will host our first office hour with one of our college Representatives, Karyn Sandlos, in attendance. Karyn is our Rep for the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts–where our members have, and are, working on a variety of issues from equity pay to setting course-load policies. We encourage anyone interested to drop in, especially if you are a CADA member with questions, concerns, or other ideas. As a reminder, office hours are held every week, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 12-1pm. See links above for the zoom invite, and links at the bottom of this email to add the sessions to your calendar.

Solidarity with Our Hospital Workers
First, thank you to all the faculty who signed our petition in support of UI Hospital employees, who are still fighting for their contract to be upheld! We’ve now submitted the petition with 675 signatories to the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees, and had a member testify alongside SEIU members at this morning’s Trustee meeting. We haven’t yet seen any specific response to our actions, but will monitor the situation and let you all know if further steps are needed to hold the administration accountable to the labor contracts they signed.

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

***

We hold regular office hours from 12-1pm Wednesday and Thursday each week. Use the following links to add them to your calendar:

Wednesday 12-1pm | Thursday 12-1pm

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

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14 Jan Demand That Admin Honor Their Contractual Commitments

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  • Welcome Back: 2020 presented a seemingly unending series of challenges, and since we’re eager to move forward with the new year, we plan to hit the ground running in 2021.
  • Keep Admin Honest: It’s a busy time, but you can take action right now by signing our petition to keep admin honest about honoring contractually agreed pay raises and hazard pay for our union colleagues at the hospital.
  • Office Hours Resume: We will resume holding virtual union office hours this week after having many good conversations at the end of last semester. As a reminder, drop in via zoom any Wednesday or Thursday, 12-1pm, to speak with union staff on any topic!

Dear Faculty,

We hope you’ve enjoyed your winter holidays, and we’re guessing you are as happy to put the last year behind you as we are! And yet, there is still so much work left to do, to protect ourselves and our loved ones amidst an ongoing pandemic, to press forward on critical issues of social and racial justice, and to ensure that “recovery” does not merely mean returning to a broken system that leaves so many of us exposed to unmitigated illness and poverty.

Demand Contract Accountability
We hope you’ll take immediate action by signing our petition demanding accountability from our administration on behalf of our union colleagues at the hospital. Last year, an historic strike of health workers, including nurses and support staff, forced the administration to finally agree to pay raises, hiring up to safe staffing levels, and initiating hazard pay should crisis conditions return. While union workers went back on the job in September, the administration hasn’t completely upheld their side of the bargain. In particular, pay raises remain in limbo, with no clear timeline for implementation, and though the state shifted from Phase 4 back to Phase 3 in response to surging COVID cases, the hospital refuses to implement promised hazard pay for workers — something it did in the Spring when conditions were not as severe.

In collaboration with our partners in SEIU and INA, the unions representing hospital staff and nurses respectively, we are demanding that Chancellor Amiridis honor the contract commitments made by this administration. Please join us in signing and sharing the petition above, to keep UIC accountable to their promises!

Office Hours Resume This Week
As a reminder, we have resumed our virtual union office hours, which proved immediately useful last semester despite rolling out just a couple of weeks before the winter holiday. You can drop in any Wednesday or Thursday from 12-1pm to speak directly with union staff about any topic important to you. Office hours are never recorded, and your confidentiality is our priority, especially if you need to discuss a sensitive or personal issue. You can, of course, always email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com if you wish to speak with a representative outside of office hours, and our staff will make every effort to respond within one working day.

Thank you all for your ongoing support, and for helping us make UIC an even better, even safer, place to work and learn!

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

***

We hold regular office hours from 12-1pm Wednesday and Thursday each week. Use the following links to add them to your calendar:

Wednesday 12-1pm | Thursday 12-1pm

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

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12 Jan Demand That Admin Honor Their Contract Commitments

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  • Welcome Back: 2020 presented a seemingly unending series of challenges, and since we’re eager to move forward with the new year, we plan to hit the ground running in 2021.
  • Keep Admin Honest: It’s a busy time, but you can take action right now by signing our petition to keep admin honest about honoring contractually agreed pay raises and hazard pay for our union colleagues at the hospital.
  • Office Hours Resume: We will resume holding virtual union office hours this week after having many good conversations at the end of last semester. As a reminder, drop in via zoom any Wednesday or Thursday, 12-1pm, to speak with union staff on any topic!

Dear Faculty,

We hope you’ve enjoyed your winter holidays, and we’re guessing you are as happy to put the last year behind you as we are! And yet, there is still so much work left to do, to protect ourselves and our loved ones amidst an ongoing pandemic, to press forward on critical issues of social and racial justice, and to ensure that “recovery” does not merely mean returning to a broken system that leaves so many of us exposed to unmitigated illness and poverty.

Demand Contract Accountability
We hope you’ll take immediate action by signing our petition demanding accountability from our administration on behalf of our union colleagues at the hospital. Last year, an historic strike of health workers, including nurses and support staff, forced the administration to finally agree to pay raises, hiring up to safe staffing levels, and initiating hazard pay should crisis conditions return. While union workers went back on the job in September, the administration hasn’t completely upheld their side of the bargain. In particular, pay raises remain in limbo, with no clear timeline for implementation, and though the state shifted from Phase 4 back to Phase 3 in response to surging COVID cases, the hospital refuses to implement promised hazard pay for workers — something it did in the Spring when conditions were not as severe.

In collaboration with our partners in SEIU and INA, the unions representing hospital staff and nurses respectively, we are demanding that Chancellor Amiridis honor the contract commitments made by this administration. Please join us in signing and sharing the petition above, to keep UIC accountable to their promises!

Office Hours Resume This Week
As a reminder, we have resumed our virtual union office hours, which proved immediately useful last semester despite rolling out just a couple of weeks before the winter holiday. You can drop in any Wednesday or Thursday from 12-1pm to speak directly with union staff about any topic important to you. Office hours are never recorded, and your confidentiality is our priority, especially if you need to discuss a sensitive or personal issue. You can, of course, always email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com if you wish to speak with a representative outside of office hours, and our staff will make every effort to respond within one working day.

Thank you all for your ongoing support, and for helping us make UIC an even better, even safer, place to work and learn!

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

***

We hold regular office hours from 12-1pm Wednesday and Thursday each week. Use the following links to add them to your calendar:
Wednesday 12-1pm | Thursday 12-1pm

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

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03 Dec Announcing Virtual Union Office Hours W-Th 12-1pm

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  • Virtual Office Hours: Starting next week UICUF staff and/or stewards will be holding virtual office hours via zoom every week, 12-1pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
  • How They’ll Work: Just as with in-person office hours, union reps will be available for walk-ins. Just join the zoom meeting to ask questions, discuss general issues, or seek help/advice. Meetings in our “office” will never be recorded, and your conversations will be confidential.
  • You Can Always Reach a Union Rep: Even if you can’t make our office hours, you can always reach a union rep by emailing UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com, and someone will get back to you within 1 business day.

 

Dear Faculty,

We hope everyone had a safe and relaxing holiday break this past weekend, even if it was all too brief! As we round the corner on finishing up fall semester, UICUF is continuing to build on our advocacy around COVID-19 and remote work issues, and we will hopefully have more developments to share on that front after our next bargaining session tomorrow. Meanwhile, we are continuing to work hard to support you and keep you engaged in decision-making.

To that end, next week we will begin hosting twice-weekly Virtual Union Office Hours via zoom from 12-1pm every Wednesday and Thursday! UICUF Staff and/or Stewards will be available for walk-ins at these times. All members and potential members of UICUF are welcome to drop into our “office” during these times to ask questions, discuss general issues, or seek personal advice/assistance.

Add Our Office Hours to Your Calendar
Wednesday 12-1pm
Thursday 12-1pm

We will, of course, be prioritizing member safety and confidentiality in our virtual office. Although our virtual office hours are a shared space, we may ask you to wait momentarily in the waiting room if a colleague is already discussing a sensitive topic with us. If you are discussing something sensitive with a representative and others are waiting, we may ask you to join us in a private breakout session, or schedule a follow-up time to accommodate a more involved conversation. Nothing will be recorded during our office hours, and any issue you discuss with a union representative will be kept strictly confidential.

Even if you can’t make our office hours, you can always reach a union rep by emailing UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com, and someone will get back to you within 1 working day. We encourage all members to come and say “hello” next Wednesday or Thursday!

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

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20 Nov UIC Town Hall Tonight 6pm and Member Meeting Recap

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  • UIC Town Hall: UIC Student Government has invited faculty to join their Town Hall from 6-7:30pm TONIGHT with Chancellor Amaridis, Provost Poser, VCAS Coronado, and VCSA Tolliver.
  • Admin Confirms No Changes to Spring Calendar: UICUF and the University Senate inquired as to possible calendar changes being considered by Admin, and have received confirmation that the calendar will remain unchanged for spring semester.
  • Member Meeting Recap: Yesterday, we held our Fall Membership Meeting. See the recap on how our members supported one another through this difficult year, and where we stand in bargaining going into the holiday season and beyond.

 

Dear UICUF Members,

We have several timely issues and events to discuss today, including a Town Hall Meeting organized by UIC’s Student Government, the spring semester calendar, and a recap from our member meeting!

UIC Town Hall
The UIC Undergraduate Student Government has arranged a Town Hall for Student Concerns TONIGHT from 6-7:30pm with the Chancellor, Provost, and several key administrators in charge of pandemic planning. USG has invited UICUF members to attend the town hall as well. The USG has been working hard to introduce policies they feel most likely to promote student success and wellness during the pandemic. Issues currently under discussion include grading during remote learning, availability of mental and emotional health services for students, availability of financial and technology support services, and racial justice demands. Faculty, staff, and students must unite and support each other as we advocate for a university that serves us all. Stay informed and demonstrate your solidarity by attending tonight’s Town Hall, and listening to our students as they advocate for their needs.

Join the Town Hall here: https://uic.zoom.us/j/89718597775?pwd=V3QwaFJBRDJHRElVZUZoNHJyRUNoZz09

Confirmed: Spring Calendar Will NOT Change
There has been some talk recently of altering the spring semester calendar in light of the continued COVID pandemic. Though no decisions had been made, or proposals officially submitted to UICUF or the University Senate, we felt it was important to stay ahead of things and had planned our own calendar survey to ensure faculty voices were heard.

As of today, our understanding is that the academic calendar for spring semester will not change, and that any changes would require Senate approval at a minimum. We appreciate those who weighed in by email and at the member meeting yesterday.

Member Meeting Recap
At our member meeting yesterday, we started by celebrating all the ways our members have supported each other and our community. This year has been challenging to say the least, and replete with seismic shifts in how we live, work, and relate to each other. We believe UICUF and our members have risen to those challenges admirably. When some of our colleagues lost their jobs, we raised over $16,000 to help with emergency expenses. We supported and continue to support our students seeking racial justice at UIC and beyond. And we honored our members in the Tutorium in Intensive English with our John Shuler Award for Shared Governance, for working together to fend off third-party outsourcing of their program in response to the pandemic. Needless to say, we are tremendously proud of our members, and all that they are doing to make UIC an even better, even safer place to work and learn!

We also heard from our Bargaining Team, who have continued throughout the pandemic to represent our members in negotiations with Admin. This has definitely not been an easy task, and it hasn’t always yielded results we would have preferred, but we feel confident saying that our membership is in a far better position for having made the effort, and having fought for a seat at the table. Impact bargaining is still ongoing, and we are, after almost 8 months of continuous meeting, finally working on written proposals with our Admin counterparts, though we are far from any breakthroughs. We also expect to soon be having hearings with the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board on some of the administration’s Unfair Labor Practices, which  we called out over the summer.

As we all prepare to take a well deserved break, if even for only a brief moment during the Thanksgiving holiday, we want to express our sincerest thanks for you, all of our members. You’ve not only taken it upon yourselves to strive for excellence in your work under daunting circumstances, but you’ve taken on the responsibility of looking out for your colleagues and your community. We are honored to work with each and every one of you!

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

***

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

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12 Nov Member Meeting Next Wednesday, 11-18-20 @3pm

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  • Membership Meeting: Members can join our Fall Member Meeting next Wednesday, 11/18/20, from 3-4pm. If you’re not a member, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com to join!
  • Meeting Agenda: We will discuss ongoing pandemic impacts on our work, including your thoughts on teaching, research and service this semester, an update on Impact Bargaining from our Bargaining Team, and efforts moving forward for spring semester.
  • Spring Calendar Survey: The Provost’s office is considering alterations to the spring calendar in response to the pandemic. We will be issuing a brief survey on faculty preferences for possible calendar changes next week.

 

Dear UICUF Members,

We now have a link for you to join our remote member meeting next week. The meeting will be next Wednesday, 11/18/20, from 3-4pm, and all members are encouraged to join us and contribute. At the meeting, we will be broadly discussing how ongoing remote work and the COVID pandemic have affected our work, and members are invited to give your input. We’ll also have a discussion around ongoing impact bargaining, led by our Bargaining Team. As many of you know, bargaining has been ongoing since the pandemic began, and has yielded some important concessions, but with critical caveats, including timelines for many policies set to end soon. Lastly, we will discuss moving forward toward the spring semester, and ideas floated by the provost to alter the academic calendar in an effort to better address the realities of the COVID crisis.

This meeting will be immediately followed by an open meeting of the UICUF Representative Assembly, the legislative body that governs our union alongside our Executive Board. Members are encouraged to stay with us for this session as we discuss current issues and future membership organizing.

Spring Calendar Survey
Many public institutions, including our fellow U of I campuses, have recently moved to alter their spring academic calendars in response to the ongoing pandemic. The Provost’s office appears to be considering similar measures, including the possibility of starting later, offering mental health days throughout the semester, cancelling spring break, and other options to address both potential spread of the virus and the dangers of burnout from long-term remote instruction.

We want to share your input with the provost on the options we’re aware of, so that UIC can make the most informed decisions possible. We will be emailing you a survey early next week, and soliciting comments at the member meeting, so please consider sharing your thoughts!

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06 Nov Democracy in Action

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  • Vote Tallies Continue: Electing our next president is a process that does not end on Election Day, with votes still being counted in a number of key swing states. 
  • Every Vote Matters: With legal challenges already in play, it’s critical that we honor every vote by *counting* every vote, and respecting the results. See below for resources and action networks to help defend our democracy. 
  • Membership Meeting: As we mentioned last week, our Fall Member Meeting will be held remotely, 3-4pm, 11/18/20. Save the date and we will send a link to our members closer to the event. 

 

Dear UICUF Members,

At the time of this writing, the general election is still being tabulated, and the outcome remains uncertain. Significant numbers of legitimately cast votes have yet to be counted and/or reported, and even now, legal maneuvers have been laid out to challenge the outcome. It is UIC United Faculty’s position that the vote counting should continue to completion, and the results respected. Our next president must be decided by our long accepted, if flawed, electoral system, not by legislators or lawyers. It seems increasingly likely that this will mean resisting political pressure to end the count and/or settle the presidential election in a way that side steps the voting outcome and electoral process. 

Many labor and civic organizations are currently preparing to, if needed, push back against efforts to distort or circumvent the results of the election. While we have not at this time committed to any specific actions as a union, we are coordinating with local labor groups, and want our members to have access to participate in planning and actions currently underway.

What’s Happening Locally
There are many labor unions and advocates that are now watching the process to assure democracy is upheld. CTU, SEIU73 and 1600 have made formal statements committing to assure a free and fair election. Also, the AFT made this statement last week. In addition, there is a growing coalition around the US that is organizing under the title Labor Action to Defend Democracy (LADD)

Locally, the Illinois Defense Action Council, a growing group of labor and advocates for democracy, has been meeting to monitor and prepare for action – if needed. UICUF is at this table to learn and discuss what is happening and possible actions such as the rally last night. The intent is to be vigilant but not alarmist.

At this point, the next action being planned in Chicago is a Rally for Democracy in Union Park this Saturday, 11/7, at 1pm. Depending on what is happening, the message will be “continue the count and respect the results.” 

You can also sign up for alerts from the Illinois Defense Action Council by texting “we defend” to 787-753.

Member Meeting
As previously mentioned, we will hold a member meeting on 11/18, 3-4pm. We expect to discuss issues around ongoing impact bargaining and the effects of COVID on our work. We may discuss election issues if it is determined to be necessary at that time.

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

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