News

05 Apr Shared Governance and Academic Freedom Award Winner Announced

UIC United Faculty Awards First Annual

John Shuler Award for Shared Governance and Academic Freedom

to the English Department

 Resolution Adopted by the UICUF Representative Assembly

March 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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28 Mar UICUF March for Science

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Adopted by the UICUF Representative Assembly March 1, 2017.

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07 Feb Healthcare Message to Members

Dear UIC United Faculty Member,

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

You can find the report at this link:

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

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

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

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

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

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

In solidarity,

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

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08 May UIUC Non-Tenure Track Ratify Their First Contract!

Great news! Our sister union at University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, Non-Tenure Faculty Coalition, Local 6546, (AFT/IFT/AAUP) has ratified its first contract by an overwhelming majority.

 

UIC United Faculty congratulates NTFC, as well as Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson and Interim Provost Edward Feser, for reaching an agreement that will provide the teaching faculty at UIUC with some modicum of economic security and academic freedom. This collective bargaining agreement represents a significant step forward for the teaching mission of UIUC.

 

The IELRB recognized NTFC in July 2014. They began bargaining their contract in October 2014.

 

The new, five-year contract will provide full-time non-tenure-system faculty at UIUC with three-month advance notice rights prior to the beginning of the semester, and one year of extra job security for long-term faculty, beyond the duration of their current one-year contract.

 

NTFC Communications Chair, Dorothee Schneider, says the contract covers the “most high-priority issues for the union, whose members asked for greater employment security, academic freedom protections and participation in faculty governance.”

 

The contract, for August 16, 2014 – August 15, 2019, includes an option to reopen the provision on compensation next year (for the 2017-18 year). It includes:

* 2014-15: 2.5% Campus Wage program (merit pool) 2015-16: eligibility for CWP;

* 2016-17: eligibility for CWP and CMER (compression, market, equity, retention) programs;

* 2017-18: $43,000 floor, eligibility for CWP and CMER

* 2018-19: $45,000 floor, eligibility for CWP and CMER Bonus: wage reopener (at union’s request);

* 2-year window for departments to alter their bylaws to include NTTs in faculty governance;

* 2-year window for departments to alter their bylaws to create a clear evaluation system;

* A clear, multi-tier grievance system;

* Rolling 1+1 appointments (for 6th year or above; in effect Fall 2017); and

* Clear reappointment policies (notice by May 1).

Note: multi-year contracts will continue through college policies, and will be encouraged.

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04 Apr UIC Healthcare Concerns

As reported at our membership meeting last month, we drafted and sent in January a joint letter from the UIC Academic Professional Advisory Committee, UIC Faculty Senate, UIC Staff Advisory Council, and UIC United Faculty to President Killeen regarding our serious concerns about anticipated changes in health care costs. These are also concerns of our Chancellor, who has met with the president and other UI chancellors. The response we got was disappointing, taking a “wait and see” approach. Our joint response in a letter sent two weeks ago was to meet as soon as possible, to prepare and develop potential strategies laid out in our initial letter. We are still waiting for a reply but will follow up and keep you informed.  Correspondence between our Coalition and the University is linked below.

Original Letter: Healthcare-UIC Faculty Staff Concerns 1-22-16

Killeen’s Response: Letter from Killeen rcd 3-7-16

CoalitionFollowup: Follow-up Healthcare letter to President Killeen 3-24-16

Killeen Establishing Task Force Killeen Letter to UICUF 4-26-16

 

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12 Feb Notice of Officer Nominations and Elections

Terms for our current UICUF officers and Reps are expiring soon. Pursuant to our Constitution, nominations are new being accepted for the positions listed below.  Descriptions of the duties of these offices can be found on the nomination forms and under Article VI of our Constitution.

President,
Executive Vice President,
Secretary,
Treasurer,
Vice President for Tenure System Faculty,
Vice President for Non-Tenure Track Faculty,
Vice President Chief Steward and;

Seats for each College on the Union’s Representative Assembly
SEATS            COLLEGE/GROUPING
1    –            Applied Health Science
1    –            Architecture & the Arts
1    –            Business Administration
1    –            Education
2    –            Engineering
1    –            Library
1    –            Nursing
2    –            Public Health
1    –            School of Continuing Studies
1    –            Social Work
1    –            Urban Planning & Public Affairs
/ LAS
2    –           /  Natural Sciences
2    –           / Social and Behavioral Sciences
4    –           /  Humanities

Any faculty member who has signed up to be a member is eligible to vote or run for office.

Nominations and endorsements can be submitted on paper or electronically. Links to both are below.

Nomination forms must be submitted to the elections committee by March 14. The election will be conducted April 19-21.

For more details, contact the elections committee or visit our website.

Sincerely,

UICUF Elections Committee

Chair, John Shuler                 johnalfredshuler@gmail.com
Jennifer Ashton                      jashton2@mac.com
Barbara di Eugenio                bdieugen@gmail.com
Kim O’Neil                               oneil.kim@gmail.com
Bonnie Saunders                    saunders.bss@gmail.com

 

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06 Feb Free Higher Ed Event

On Thursday, January 28 UICUF hosted a panel discussion in support of free public higher education. We had about 150 attendees join us at Student Center East.

Chicago Public Access TV recorded the discussion for our friends and allies who were not able to make it.

The Speakers (in order) are

Gianna Chacon, IIRon Student Network Leader and Student at Roosevelt University
Kenneth Warren, U of Chicago Professor of English and author of What Was African American Literature?
Walter Benn Michaels, UIC Professor of English and author of The Beauty of a Social Problem
Adolph Reed, Jr., U of Pennsylvania Professor of Political Science and author of Without Justice for All: The New Liberalism and the Retreat from Racial Equality
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, a student leader in the 300,000-strong student protests in Québec and author of a book about the movement, In Defiance.
Jennifer Ashton,(moderator) UIC Associate Professor of English and Vice President Chief Steward of UIC United Faculty

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17 Dec Contracts Signed, Updates on Raises, Healthcare, and University Budget

Contracts: Our contracts are signed and effective as of the beginning of this academic year. If you have questions about how the new language on salary increases, professional development funds, modified teaching duties, computer replacement program, minimum salary, multi-year contracts, or promotions, ask your college representative. A list of reps can be found on our website. We will also be including a publication early in the spring that highlights some of the contract language.

We continue to meet with the administration to work out issues of implementation. As I have said, Chancellor Amiridis was very helpful in ensuring that we settled in these uncertain budgetary times. I feel that our union has transitioned from the constant contretemps with the campus administration that marked our infancy to a new period as a powerful and credible voice on campus. Nevertheless, we have to maintain our focus as a union that values organizing and social justice because there are still forces in the State and University Administration who want to decrease higher-ed funding, limit opportunities for our students, and erode our role as partners in the shared governance of this university.

CMER Raises: While the university has not yet announced a university wide salary increase program for all employees, the raises we bargained for Compression, Market, Equity, and Retention (CMER) will be implemented next semester. It is not clear to us that the University will give raises this year to non-unionized faculty and academic professionals in Chicago, Urbana or Springfield, but we are continuing to monitor the situation. If the university announces a salary program for all employees, we will receive that increase in addition to the CMER raise.
We are hearing that CMER raises will be calculated in January and entered in to salary planner in February. The new salary amount will be reflected in the March 15, 2015 payroll. Any retroactive monies owed will be paid on the April 15, 2015 payroll. At the end of the academic year, we will work with the Administration to ensure they distributed the CMER funds appropriately.

Healthcare: As you probably know, our healthcare is administered by the State’s Department of Central Management Services (CMS). Although over 350,000 Illinoisans are covered by the CMS plans, Governor Rauner bargains with AFSCME—the union representing state employees—about healthcare levels and costs. AFSMCE tells us that he is seeking $700 million in healthcare savings through employee give-backs and cost increases. We know that CMS will not make any changes this fiscal year, but they are looking at the possibility of changes beginning July 1, 2016. AFSCME calculates that the changes that the Governor is proposing would cost the average worker $3,100 through increased premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. UICUF takes this issue very seriously. We were not legally able to bargain changes to our healthcare because the State Employees Group Insurance Act of 1977 prevents it, but we are working with the Senate and Administration to present a united front on this issue to the Governor. UICUF is also in communication with AFSCME to support them in their fight with the Governor. They recently held a very well attended Rally in Chicago that our leadership attended. We will be sure to update you as we receive new information about possible healthcare changes.

University Budget: Our union examined the state budget crisis at it affects the U of I and has this to report: The U of I System is owed more than $460 million by the state which cannot be reimbursed because there is no budget. $31 million of those funds are for MAP grand funding for 15,000 students in the U of I system. UIC students make up more than half of all MAP recipients in the U of I system. We also found that the U of I is spending upwards of $75 million per month in reserves to make payroll and pay day-to-day expenses. We calculate that the university holds approximately $2 billion total in reserves, so while the 4% monthly withdraw is not immediately painful, it is certainly unsustainable. Other public universities in Illinois are in much worse shape. Western Illinois has announced the layoffs of 50 faculty. Eastern Illinois is looking at shutting down in the spring semester. SIU has not filled faculty vacancies to the tune of $13.5 million, leading to larger class sizes. Chicago State’s president said he is looking at personnel cuts for next semester. Our union supports House Bill 4156, which will restore higher-ed funding. It is currently on second reading in the house. The Bill is sponsored by Representative Kelly Burke, but has 61 co-sponsors.

Thank you, have a great winter break. We will hold an all-member meeting in the spring, but in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me or any of the other officers or reps with questions or concerns.

Janet Smith, UICUF President

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