News

31 Jul Moving Forward, With Or Without An Agreement

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  • Objections Disregarded: Provost Poser says she is moving forward with a summer compensation plan, one rejected by our membership, heedless of ongoing negotiations.
  • Pattern of Bad Faith Bargaining: This is the latest and loudest gesture in a long pattern of undermining the union’s right to formal bargaining.
  • Undercutting Negotiations: Continued unilateral actions by Admin cast serious doubt over further negotiations, leaving policy gaps unclarified ahead of the Fall semester.
  • Defending Our Rights: Regardless of bargaining outcomes, UICUF will put its full weight behind defending members’ rights, especially to safety and academic autonomy, and will vigorously support members’ ability to practice these rights.

 

Degrading Trust and Undermining Negotiations
It is time, and perhaps well past time, to ask how sincere our administration actually is in pursuing ongoing negotiations with the union. Indeed, the latest turn in bargaining has left our team with significantly diminished confidence that any meaningful agreements can be reached before the start of the Fall semester.

In an email yesterday, Provost Poser informed us of her intention to move forward with a plan to narrowly distribute $1 million dollars among roughly four hundred faculty slated to teach large asynchronous classes in the Fall. This plan was resoundingly rejected by a vote of the union membership weeks ago for failing to acknowledge the work of nearly one thousand other faculty members doing similar preparations. Yet with this announcement, Poser declared that it is already “too late” to change course, seemingly acknowledging that once again, implementation was underway even as the administration claimed to be negotiating with the union.

To be clear, these faculty deserve this money–and much more–for all their work well beyond contractual norms. So do all the other faculty in our bargaining unit putting in the time and effort to craft exceptional remote classes for their students this Fall. And while we disagree with how the administration is choosing to distribute these funds, we are far more disturbed by the implications this move has for the wider negotiation. At a minimum, their laser focus and simultaneous total inflexibility on compensation issues undercuts the notion that the administration is committed to working collaboratively on other issues. In particular, the health and safety of our members and students–which the collective faculty have indicated over and over are  far more important–has been shoved behind conversations on compensation by the administration, conversations we now understand to have been farcical from the outset.

Meeting Is Not Bargaining
Bargaining, by definition, means negotiating to agreement. Since the beginning of these negotiations, however, the administration has set a tone of meeting with us, while studiously avoiding actually bargaining with us. By failing to bargain in good faith on compensation and so many other issues in the past, the administration is guilty of more than just poor form. They are systematically undermining the very basis of the union’s rights to represent you, our members, and our ability to enforce the contract for which you’ve all fought over the years.

We will return to negotiations this afternoon to express our concern that these negotiations are heading in the wrong direction. Regardless of bargaining outcomes, however, UICUF will remain committed to vigorously defending our faculty’s rights, especially to a safe and healthy environment for ourselves and our students, by all means available to us.

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

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24 Jul Safety First: Demand a Safe Fall Return Now!

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  • Sign Our Statement: As we’ve mentioned previously, we have a statement out, vetted by health and academic freedom experts in our membership, advocating faculty discretion to opt out of in person classes if you believe you are at risk.
  • IFT Higher Ed Locals Advocate Remote Classes: Union faculty across the state agree remote learning is the prudent choice for a safe return to school this semester.
  • Bargaining Continues Next Week: Admin is expected to return to the bargaining table next Friday with a draft Memorandum of Understanding on issues under negotiation. If they follow through, this will be a major move toward concluding negotiations.

Statement on Safe Return-to-Campus and Faculty Autonomy
As we’ve mentioned in prior messages, we are still collecting signatures on our statement on Returning to Campus this Fall. The statement foregrounds the need for faculty autonomy in defining their own risk relative to the COVID pandemic when deciding whether to return to in-person classes. It also echoes the University Senate’s statement advocating the freedom of faculty to deliver courses in whatever format best suits their class needs, based on their own professional judgement.

Signing onto this statement is an important action to let the UIC administration know you are serious about demanding your rights to discretion, both in terms of your personal safety and your pedagogy as an academic professional. Please sign the statement today!

IFT Higher Ed Locals’ Press Conference
In a press event yesterday, IFT’s higher education locals launched a new report on Best Practices for returning to campus this Fall, which is based in the most up-to-date science and intended to provide all of higher ed institutions in Illinois clear and uniform guidance. Ultimately, the call is for remote learning. If face-to-face classes are required, it should be subject to the faculty member’s decision, based on a thorough risk assessment. Besides classrooms, Kevin O’Brien, UICUF Library rep, discussed specific concerns about plans now underway to re-open UIC libraries and the real health risks students, staff, and faculty might face.

Impact Bargaining at a Critical Point
While we’re far from agreement on many key items, we expect a significant step forward next week, when we’ve been told by Labor Relations to expect a draft Memorandum of Understanding, documenting in writing our agreements thus far. You may recall that, to date, the administration has fiercely resisted putting anything in writing, and has lately tried to narrow the scope of negotiations to how a $1 million dollar payout for summer prep work is distributed.

We’ve rejected, on advisement from our membership, the notion that these negotiations are fundamentally about money, and continue to insist on agreements around campus safety, faculty autonomy, and reappointment of faculty. While we expect to reach an agreement around proposed payouts, we cannot ignore the administration’s silence on basic rights like faculty discretion to opt-out from in person teaching if it would endanger themselves or those close to them.

Once again, we are strongly encouraging you to support our bargaining efforts by signing our Return to Campus statement, and by submitting testimonials if you have them on how a forced return to in-person teaching would affect you and your students.

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

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17 Jul Reopening And Reappointment

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UICUF Statement on UIC’s Return to Campus Policies
The UICUF bargaining team has been meeting with upper administration weekly in the effort to reach agreement on issues such as compensation for off-contract work, NTT reappointment, and the safety precautions necessary for the fall semester. There have been some victories, including the roll-over of professional development funds and the procurement of funds to compensate faculty (although use of the funds is still being negotiated).

Important issues remain, though, such as allowing faculty an opt-out of teaching face-to-face on-campus and the right of faculty to decide for themselves the best medium for delivery of course content. The bargaining team feels strongly that the faculty are the only ones who can appropriately decide where and how their courses are delivered. In the face of upper administration obduracy, the bargaining team has created this statement outlining the issues and is asking faculty to endorse the demands as a way of showing that faculty is united and quite resolute on these issues. We ask all faculty to read and endorse the statement.

NTT Reappointment Survey
An important deadline for UIC faculty has officially passed–per our union contract, NTT faculty must be notified by July 16th every year whether or not they will be re-appointed. The bargaining team has asked that all UIC faculty be reappointed in order to maintain an optimal faculty:student ratio that has actually been dropping in recent years as hiring fails to keep up with growing enrollments. If you have not received your letter of reappointment, if you have not been reappointed, or if your letter came with caveats leaving your reappointment still in question, PLEASE fill out this survey so that we can work towards making the faculty whole.

Provost’s Office Hours
Finally, Provost Susan Poser will be holding her weekly office hour with faculty today, Friday, July 17, from 1-2pm. We urge all UICUF members to attend office hours and actively participate in shaping UIC’s future. Ask questions, push for answers, and BE HEARD.

To join the meeting by video, use the link and password below.
Link: https://uic.zoom.us/j/93173114912?pwd=NW0xbm00elY3ZUx6bmRNSXZoMnNUdz09
Password: 1b.dG9hy

To join by phone, please dial the number listed below and enter the meeting ID when prompted.
Phone Number: (312)626-6799
Meeting ID: 931 7311 4912#
Password: 76832317#

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

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09 Jul UICUF Stands Powerfully For Academic Freedom And In Solidarity With International Students

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  • UICUF membership meeting shows faculty ready to push hard for increased autonomy in fall, compensation for increased summer workloads
  • UIC GEO’s International Student Caucus urges UIC administration to act in response to ICE’s decision about international students
  • Attend the Provost’s office hours TODAY from 1-2 pm to participate in shaping UIC’s Fall 2020 re-opening.

 

The summer Membership Meeting focused on four issues central to the UICUF bargaining team’s strategy to protect faculty:

  • Ongoing health and safety concerns 
  • Reappointment of NTT faculty
  • Faculty autonomy and intellectual property rights related to online course delivery
  • Compensation for course preparation work being done over the Summer 

 

As previously communicated, UIC Administration has offered $1 million for faculty compensation this summer. This amount is insufficient to pay all faculty currently preparing online courses for fall. When polled whether the amount should be accepted or further negotiated, over 66% of UICUF members in attendance felt the bargaining team should go back to the table and secure greater compensation for the preparations that all faculty are making for fall courses. 

All faculty felt strongly about the faculty’s right to determine the best mode of teaching for their courses, specifically in terms of asynchronous versus synchronous delivery–an academic freedom that UICUF is fighting for at the bargaining table. It is UICUF’s position that faculty should decide what and how they teach, and sentiments at the meeting reinforced that commitment to faculty rights, experience, and wisdom. 

Much of UICUF’s work this summer has involved advocating for NTT faculty re-hiring, both generally and in terms of specific colleagues.  The administration continues to refuse to move forward on a great number of NTT contracts–even among those who have been officially charged with using a “course builder” to prepare their large fall courses.  The provost has said that she planned to have most appointments in place before the 7/16 contractual deadline, but a week away from that, there has been distressingly little movement. This is unacceptable in human terms for our faculty, and it’s unacceptable in terms of properly preparing the best courses possible for our students.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, are the ongoing health and safety concerns around campus reopening. UIC Administration agrees that current standards for opt-outs do not apply to our current context. It is the bargaining team’s position that any faculty member who does not want to return to campus in fall should not be required to do so, and should be protected from any repercussions connected to their decision. The membership agreed that the bargaining team should continue to seek opt-out allowances that let faculty determine for themselves if a return to campus poses a threat to the wellbeing of themselves, their loved one, or the broader community, especially during the savage return of the coronavirus throughout the country. We are heartened by the revolt of faculty around the country around this issue.


And then there was this…
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced on 7/6 that it would revoke temporary modifications made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that allowed international students to retain legal student-visa status even if attending all their classes online. SEVP’s repeal of these exemptions is widely seen as not only premature in light of nationally rising COVID numbers, but also politically motivated. UICUF is working with other groups, especially the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO), to find ways faculty can support international students, as well as to speak out against this untimely and inhumane policy. Harvard and MIT have filed suit against the decision, seeking a restraining order to prevent enforcement of the policy in Fall 2020, but it is unclear what will happen while the case is being decided. The UIC GEO International Student Caucus has submitted a letter to UIC Administration suggesting these actions to ensure the continued support of UIC’s international student body: 

  • Undergraduate and graduate international students must be able to register for thesis research credits, dissertation research credits, independent study credits, etc., in every department, and these credits must be coded as in-person credits.
  • If UIC is forced into a full remote teaching scenario, the credits must retain in-person coding.
  • The Office of International Students must clarify what I-20 certification will look like for Fall 2020 as well as how student compliance will be verified. 
  • Incoming graduate students denied either entry into the country or tuition waivers in relation to their ability to arrive at the start of the Fall semester should be allowed to defer their UIC acceptance up to a year.

The UIC UF Executive Board and Representative Assembly have endorsed these recommendations and also ask UIC Administration to act upon these recommendations, making clear the university respects UIC’s international students and will fight to protect their futures.

Provost Susan Poser will be holding her weekly office hour with faculty today, 7/9, from 1-2 pm. We urge all UICUF members to attend office hours and actively participate in shaping UIC’s future. Ask questions, push for answers, and BE HEARD.

Link: https://uic.zoom.us/j/95446129176?pwd=TUU2NXh6dVZhcFRENW5NUHVySTVSdz09
Password: 8b.@D7Gs
To join by phone, please dial the number listed below and enter the meeting ID when prompted.
Phone Number: (312)626-6799
Meeting ID: 954 4612 9176#
Password: 38916471#

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

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25 Jun Bargaining Team to Consult Members on Compensation Proposal

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  • Impact Bargaining Resumes: Impact bargaining began in March, but admin did not take it seriously until we issued Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs) against them. Last week, per our demand, admin finally returned to the table.
  • Admin Puts Money On the Table: After ongoing pressure from union members around unpaid labor, there is now money on the table(!), BUT their proposal would compensate under 30% of faculty, and at only a fractional rate.
  • Compensatory Time for Course Development: We initially proposed that all faculty who are developing online courses for the Fall should get 1 compensatory course release, usable in the next two years.
  • Member Meeting Called Wed 7/1: UICUF will hold a virtual member meeting NEXT WEDNESDAY, 7/1, from 3:30-5pm, to solicit input on admin’s comp proposal, and other bargaining priorities. All members will receive login details early next week.

 

A Renewed Effort on Impact Bargaining
Admin has, until now, pursued a strategy of meeting with the union, then doing whatever they want. We’ve since called out this practice in a series of Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) charges, filed concurrently with our demand to resume bargaining. As we shift from crisis management to Fall planning, there is no excuse for the administration to avoid timely and meaningful negotiations with faculty.

Addressing Unpaid Labor This Summer
One of our core demands has been for the administration to compensate faculty working mostly off-contract this Summer to prepare remote Fall classes. Union members have been pressuring the administration over presumptions of unpaid labor for weeks, especially since the announcement that some will be expected to spend nearly 100 hours this Summer on these preparations.

In our most recent negotiations, we proposed compensation in the form of a course release to be used by faculty sometime over the next two years. We believe this would be an appropriate compromise between adequate compensation for the extra labor of developing online-ready classes, and flexibility for departments and the administration to plan and budget.

In an unusual turn, however, the administration actually came with a response in hand, putting money on the table to address the issue of unpaid labor. Their offer as it is currently formulated would compensate less than 30% of faculty, and at only a fraction of the value of a single course release, but it is a move in the right direction in response to ongoing pressure from our members.

Consulting Our Members
Given the implications of the administration’s current offer, and the urgency of other imminent deadlines on renewals and campus safety decisions, our Bargaining Team plans to solicit input from our full membership NEXT WEDNESDAY, 7/1, from 3:30-5pm. Members will receive a link to participate in a virtual meeting early next week. The Bargaining Team will share their experiences thus far, but our goal is to open the process up for member participation in considering where to go from here. You must be a member to attend, and current non-members can join by following the application instructions on our website.

As ever, if you have any questions, you can email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

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

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17 Jun The Town Hall We Should Have Had | Juneteenth Safe Space

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  • The Town Hall We Should Have Had: Join us at 6pm this Thursday, 6/18, for a union-hosted town hall connecting the workers of our many campus unions together.
  • Juneteenth Safe Space: We will host a Safe Space on Zoom for faculty of color to discuss their personal experiences from 12-2pm, Friday 6/19, in honor of Juneteenth, the day commemorating the historic end of slavery in the US.
  • Bargaining This Week: Our reconstituted bargaining team will meet the administration for renewed impact bargaining on Thursday.

 

The Town Hall We Should Have Had
Many of us who attended the provost’s or chancellor’s town hall meetings over the past few weeks left feeling unsatisfied. That’s why our coalition of campus unions, UIC Unions United, a coalition of UICUF, UIC GEO, SEIU and INA, will be hosting our own Town Hall this week, 6pm, Thursday, 6/18, on Zoom.

Town Hall Zoom Link
Town Hall Facebook Event Page

This Town Hall will be different. We are intentionally prioritizing transparency and interactivity, so that our union members can interact with each other, and union leaders, directly. A representative from each of our unions will briefly introduce themselves, and then yield the floor to questions from any members who wish to ask them. We believe that by foregoing the careful curation we’ve seen from the administration in such meetings, we can communicate with our members in the clearest and most authentic way possible.

Juneteenth Safe Space
As previously mentioned, we will host a Safe Space on Zoom for faculty of color this Friday in honor of Juneteenth, the day that commemorates the historic end of slavery in the US. This safe space will be reserved for people of color to discuss their personal experiences and will be hosted by Mary Anne Mohanraj, Clinical Associate Professor of English and one of our elected UICUF Representatives from LAS/Humanities. We invite faculty of color to drop in any time between 12-2pm this Friday, 6/19:

Safe Space Zoom Link

Bargaining Resumes This Week
We began impact bargaining months ago, almost as soon as the COVID-19 crisis began. Since then, we’ve marked some victories, but many outstanding questions still remain, especially as we shift from emergency response to plotting the course for Fall semester and beyond. We anticipate returning to questions of campus safety, faculty autonomy, workloads and compensation, and intellectual property among other things.

While this meeting will not be open to observers, we will keep you informed as bargaining progresses.

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

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12 Jun Addressing Police Violence and Our Vision for a Safe Return to Classes

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  • Addressing Police Violence: UICUF has signed in support of our Students’ Demands that UIC divest from aggressive policing and invest in our community. Please join us in supporting this effort by signing as an individual faculty member.
  • UICUF Vision for a Safe Fall: Qualified health experts among UICUF’s membership have crafted a vision for a safe and equitable return to Fall classes that prioritizes combining current health best practices with specific insight from faculty, staff, and students.
  • Upcoming Events: Many important events are coming up next week including the union-sponsored “Town Hall You Should’ve Had,” and union-sponsored Juneteenth activities! See below for details.
  • Bargaining Resumes: We will return to impact bargaining with our newly reconstituted bargaining team on Thursday and will report back on proceedings.

 

Addressing Police Violence in our Communities
While the university has made a statement supporting racial justice in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, UICUF has joined our students’ calls for more concrete action. This open letter calls for the university to divest from aggressive policing practices, and to reinvest in supporting and enriching our community, especially through anti-racist education and initiatives. UICUF is committed to standing strongly behind the leadership and expertise of those most affected by this ongoing crisis of police violence: our students and faculty of color. Our Representative Assembly has signed on in support of these demands, and we encourage all faculty to consider signing them as well.

UICUF Presents a Vision for a Safe Return to Classes
Among our membership, we count hundreds of qualified academic experts in a wide variety of fields, including public health and epidemiology. We’ve asked some of these experts from our own ranks to present a vision for what a safe return to classes might look like as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. This is the first in a series of planned white papers written on contemporary issues affecting our university and community.

You can download the statement on our website, and we have printed it in its entirety at the end of this email for your convenience.

Upcoming Events
Next week, there are a variety of union-sponsored and union-adjacent events that we highly encourage you to check out if you have time.

 

  • Monday 12-2pm: UIC Social Justice Initiative presents Police, Politics, Power and Race, an online discussion on how the current movement for Black Lives has led to defunding police in certain cities, calls for massive investments and new economic models for community empowerment.
  • Thursday, 6-7pm: UIC Unions United, our coalition of campus unions, will host the Town Hall You Should’ve Had, a space to voice your concerns and hear the concerns of our fellow unions.
  • Friday: Friday is Juneteenth, the date that marks the end of slavery in the United States. In honor of the occasion, UICUF will be hosting a Safe Space for Faculty of Color: UICUF invites faculty of color to come together in a virtual space on Juneteenth to share experiences, support each other, and learn more about how all of us are doing in this difficult time. The space will be hosted & facilitated by a faculty member of color.

 

We’ll send out more details of these events early next week!

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

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UIC UF Vision for Moving Forward, Fall 2020
Health & Safety Statement
Approved by the UIC United Faculty Executive Board

We are in uncertain times.  There is not one right answer or best strategy for moving forward in all contexts.  Scientific knowledge and understanding of the pandemic virus changes daily, demanding that we keep abreast of the best evidence to inform our judgment and decisions in planning the 2020-2021 academic year. We also must act in accordance with UIC’s own guiding principles and the interests of our community, so we must ask ourselves—Whom does UIC serve?  What are our values?

UICUF values the health and safety of all UIC students, faculty, staff, their families, and their communities, and is committed to ensuring that health and safety are the foundation for all decisions related to University operations during this pandemic and its potential endemic transition.   This is the umbrella under which any world-class university must provide its education; this is a matter of right and justice for all students, faculty, and staff.

UICUF opposes any request by UIC for exception to state and municipal rules or guidelines, as the upper administration has suggested it will seek.  Additionally, accepting state and local guidelines as a minimum, we expect that the UIC administration will work with faculty to establish COVID-19 specific policies and procedures aligned with the health and safety of all students, faculty, staff, their families, and their communities, to insure educational engagement and success.

What should be our rules for “re-entry”? Above all else, caution. Premature lifting or release of any feature of the current guidelines set by the state and/or city is unacceptable. Current health and safety evidence demands adequate control of COVID-19 transmission in order for universities to resume functioning.  Drawing on the expertise of our many members in healthcare, UICUF wishes to promote a clear and transparent vision for re-opening the UIC campus that explicitly articulates what measures will be taken to protect the community. Practically, this means a full program of mitigation across all campus spaces, including structural and resource support for:

  • Hygiene—hand washing, surface disinfecting
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)—use of gloves and masks/face shields
  • Social distancing—while 6 feet is the current recommendation, that length is somewhat arbitrary and could change with time. Distance safety is related to characteristics of the space including temperature, humidity, and air circulation, as well as the disease prevalence and social risk acceptance. Particular requirements for our high-rise, commuter campus will involve specific consideration for elevator use and stairways.
  • Surveillance of transmission:
    • Screening—symptom assessment and reporting
    • Testing—at this point, there seem to be two basic options a) testing every person at regular intervals; b) testing with adequate sampling.
    • Contact tracing—along with a robust system of quarantine for cases/contacts
  • Quality and management of indoor air: indoor air management has not received as much attention as social distancing with COVID-19, but we know from hospitals the importance of indoor air management for infection control.  Negative airflow technology and HEPA filtration systems are established practice in health institutions, and some type of air quality measure is important for all institutions.  The simple truth is that public health authorities have not yet established best COVID-19 practices for non-health care settings.
  • Expertise and a clearly tailored set of operational procedures: given the various and unique needs of buildings and social spaces across campus, it is important to incorporate the insights and perspectives of faculty across disciplines about how to adequately address the various structural and social contexts ensuring the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff.   Currently, there does not appear to be an established university health and safety task force or committee providing guidance, as the Chancellor has promised.

 

Ensuring the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and their families and communities does not stop at the campus boundaries.  This commitment necessitates attention to and respect for an individual’s specific life circumstances and relationships. Vulnerable populations abound in the UIC community in relation to the high number of intergenerational, working-class/essential worker households that often include populations with statistical likelihood of increased risk factors, such as underlying health conditions.  This is also in many ways the case with the faculty as well. Our commitment also obliges consideration of and accommodation to related transportation and technology needs. A truly inclusive environment takes into account all these types of medical and social vulnerabilities.

While these are difficult and trying times, they are also times for innovation and creativity.  UIC has the opportunity to create a SAFE CAMPUS and contribute to SAFE COMMUNITIES through policies and procedures that minimize infections and maximize lives saved. We urge the formation of campus policies with, above all, these points in mind, and with the administration recognizing both the need and the desirability of full shared governance with all relevant stakeholders in the formation of such policy.

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03 Jun Update on Raise Pools and Reappointment Notices

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  • Raise pools are guaranteed in our union contract, which is legally enforceable even if administration offers no campus wage increase.
  • Notice of deferred reappointments are required by the contract, but choice to postpone reappointment decisions rests solely with academic units.
  • UICUF is investigating notices sent to those currently under multi-year appointments
  • We encourage you to join us at the Chancellor’s Town Hall, 4pm, Wednesday, 6/3/20.

 

Raise Pools are Guaranteed by our Contract
Many faculty have signalled concern, after reading President Killeen’s Financial Update this afternoon, that he has stated that there will be no merit raises for the 2020-2021 academic year. We want to reassure you that our contract, which guarantees 2% merit raise pools, 2% compression & equity raise pools, salary minimums at all stages of seniority, and raises tied to promotion, is legally enforceable and cannot simply be disregarded by the university administration. Any changes to the compensation structure laid out in that agreement must be brought up in negotiations, and the union cannot be compelled to give up hard-won raises.

At this time, we are seeking clarification as to the intent behind this statement and will keep you informed as to the administration’s response.

Deferral of Reappointments are Being Investigated
We’ve received a large number of concerned messages indicating faculty have received notices deferring decisions on their reappointment to July 15th. Some people receiving these notices are currently under multi-year appointments. We want to first remind everyone that this notice is a postponement of renewal decisions, not a decision to non-renew. It is also important to note that while our contract stipulates that you must be informed if a decision is postponed, the choice to postpone this decision is solely at the discretion of your academic unit.

We are actively investigating the circumstances around which faculty received these deferrals, especially if you are on a multi-year appointment. Our contract protects faculty in multi-year appointments from non-renewal, and we ask you to please reach out if you have any concerns at all about the status of your appointment.

It remains UICUF’s policy to advocate via impact bargaining for full renewal of all full-time faculty for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Chancellor’s Town Hall Tomorrow
We highly encourage all faculty to join Chancellor Amiridis’s town hall webinar at 4pm, Wednesday, 6/3/20, and use the Q+A section to ask any questions you may have. You should have received a link to participate via your UIC Email.

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

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29 May UIC Admin Has a Responsibility to Bargain

**URGENT ADVISORY**

Many faculty received notices today deferring a decision on their reappointment to July 15th. This notice is contractually required only if your academic unit is unable or unwilling to make a renewal decision by June 1st, and nothing in the union contract prevents units from reappointing faculty before this deadline. Deferral of a decision does not imply non-renewal. Please let us know if you received a deferral letter today so we can have a better understanding of what’s happening in various units.

It remains UIC United Faculty’s position to advocate through impact bargaining for immediate renewal of all full-time faculty appointments.

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  • Demand Action on Bargaining: Please click here to send an email demanding that UIC Admin return to the bargaining table with all of its campus unions for meaningful and productive negotiations
  • Failure to Bargain in Good Faith: The UIC Administration has a legal responsibility to bargain impacts of COVID-19, but has consistently chosen to act without union input, and to treat bargaining as an informal advisory rather than a serious legal obligation.
  • Unfair Labor Practice Filed: UICUF will be filing Unfair Labor Practices regarding admin’s failure to bargaining in good faith over changes sweeping the university due to COVID-19.

A Legal Obligation to Bargain
UIC’s administration has a legal obligation to bargain over changes to working conditions (yes, we’ll say it again!). This principle holds true even when changes come as a result of events beyond either party’s control. The process is called impact bargaining, and it is not optional.

UICUF called for impact bargaining back in March, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in earnest. Unfortunately, from the start, top administrators did not even acknowledge our meetings as formal bargaining, choosing instead to waste time while they continued doing whatever they wanted. And while we can draw clear lines from our proposals to actions later taken by the administration, like extending professional development fund deadlines, university officials refused to formalize even these agreements. Ultimately, the administration outright told us they had no intention of discussing further “contract enhancements.” This is not how healthy negotiations work.

Unfair Labor Practices
By failing to respect a formal bargaining process, enacting changes to working conditions without formal agreements, and refusing to discuss further impacts to our contract, the UIC administration has been committing unfair labor practices. We have therefore decided that, in order to best protect the rights of our members, we must file an official notice of violations with the Illinois Board of Labor. We hope this action highlights the gravity of the administration’s choice to pursue a strategy of obstruction and unilateralism rather than bargain in good faith with its faculty.

A Fresh Push for Negotiations
Despite taking this action to call out unproductive practices by our counterparts, we still sincerely believe that we can work together with the administration during this unprecedented crisis. Faculty bring both substantial expertise and rich perspectives to the table as we consider the future of working and learning at UIC. Everyone–including the administration–will benefit from our sustained participation in all formal dialogues relating to the university’s future, but our administration cannot acknowledge us only when it is convenient.

We are therefore reconstituting our remarkable bargaining team, once again drawing on faculty from every college in our bargaining unit, to restart the impact bargaining process. We are also calling on all faculty members to click here to send an email demanding that the administration return to productive bargaining immediately. If needed, the committee will also advise on further escalating pressure on our administration counterparts to bargain fairly. We will keep faculty informed as this process continues. Of course, if you have questions or want to highlight particular issues, email us here at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

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

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22 May Provost Office Hours | Course Credit Manipulation

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  • NTT Caucus: NTT Faculty will bring questions and concerns to Provost’s office hours 1pm today, 5/22/20. Follow up meeting next Thursday, 5/28 at 10am.
  • Fall Planning Task Force: UICUF will attend weekly Fall 2020 Planning Sessions, sharing member stories, concerns, and questions
  • FTE/Course Credit Manipulation: Be on watch for manipulation of course credits and FTE per course. UICUF views these as violations of our contract, and encourages you to contact us ASAP if you are asked to agree to such changes.
  • Email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com with your experiences and to get involved!

 

Highlighting NTT Faculty Issues at the Provost’s Office Hours
We invite our members to join us in bringing concerns to the Provost’s upcoming office hours from 1-2pm today. In particular, we hope to foreground the issues NTT faculty face, as uncertainty about Fall 2020 grinds on. Critically, we are concerned that faculty are being asked to prepare for classes that they may not be employed long enough to actually teach. If you were in the NTT caucus meeting, you have already gotten additional updates on our plans for the office hours and will receive an invitation to a follow up meeting of the NTT Caucus. If you would like to be included and were not in that meeting, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

Fall Planning Sessions Continue with Union Involvement
UICUF Executive Vice President Aaron Krall attended last week’s session of the Provost’s Fall Planning Task Force, joining the subcommittee on Preparing Faculty. These meetings, and meetings of the subcommittee, will continue weekly throughout the summer, and while we won’t report every detail, we will attempt to maintain clarity and transparency on what this Task Force is working on.  

Manipulations of Course Credits/FTE
We have begun hearing reports from members about administration attempts to manipulate course credits and FTE related to their courses, effectively increasing their workloads. We strongly encourage faculty who observe such issues to contact us immediately. UICUF views any changes to course credits or percent time as a fundamental change in working conditions that cannot be made without the administration reaching an agreement with the union through impact bargaining.

Your Stories Inform Our Vision
UICUF believes that any future vision for UIC must be grounded in care for our students, colleagues, and community. That vision is informed by the outpouring of members sharing their stories, their priorities, and their hopes for the future since the COVID19 crisis began. Please continue sending your stories to us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With permission of the authors, we are posting these on our website, and sharing them with the Fall 2020 Planning Task Force.

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

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