News

26 Aug Join your Bargaining Committee for Contract Update Meetings & at the Table

Bargaining co-chair Xóchitl Bada on the picket line on Tuesday
  • College-level meetings during the next 2 weeks: see below for when and where your college will meet.
  • Observe bargaining: see for yourself what’s happening at the table. Next session is Tuesday, September 6 at 12:30pm at White Oak Rm SCE. Please don´t forget to bring a mask.
  • General Member Meeting: Thursday, September 15, 3-4:30pm at Hull House.
  • Let us know if you’re having issues with COVID accommodations

***

Dear UICUF members, 
Welcome back to the fall semester! We hope you had a chance to join or at least stop by our informational pickets on Monday and Tuesday. You can see pictures on our new Instagram account, @uicfacultyunion

Bargaining Update
On Monday, August 22nd, we met with the administration for our ninth bargaining session and continued working toward agreement on several articles. However, we are still waiting for the administration’s counter proposals on key articles including compensation, workload, reappointment & promotion, and discipline & dismissal. 

Meet the Bargaining Team!
When all union members are engaged in the bargaining process, we will achieve a better result. To ensure that, we’re holding a series of meetings for members in different colleges to talk with members of the bargaining committee and share thoughts. All meetings will be hybrid. Please join us!

Natural Sciences, Business, & Engineering 
Tues, Aug 30 at 1pm 
ERF 1043, zoom: bit.ly/LAS-COE-CBA 

Library & CUPPA 
Wed, Aug 31 at 3pm 
Lib 0101, zoom: bit.ly/Lib-CUPPA 

Public Health, Applied Health, & Nursing 
Wed, Sep 7 at 10am 
SCW 206AB, zoom: bit.ly/AHS-CON-SPH 

Humanities, Social Sciences, Tutorium, & Grad College
Fri, Sep 9 at 10:30am 
UH 1550, zoom: bit.ly/LAS-TIE-GC 

Education, CADA, & Social Work
Fri, Sep 9 at 12pm 
EMTSW 2233, zoom: bit.ly/ETMSW


General Member Meeting
Please also save the date for our general member meeting on Thursday, September 15 from 3-4:30pm, at Hull House Dining Hall, 800 S Halsted. We strongly encourage in person attendance, but will have a remote option available. If you need to join remotely, please reach out to us at uicunitedfaculty@gmail.com.  

Join Us at Bargaining
The best way to learn about bargaining is to attend a session yourself! Our next session will be on Tuesday, September 6 from 12:30-2:30pm. The session will be on zoom, but the union bargaining team will be gathering in SCE White Oak Room. Members are welcome to join either remotely or in person. We ask that all in person observers stay masked while in the room. We will have plenty of chairs for any member who wants to join and observe.

We are working hard to get weekly bargaining sessions on the books. At this point, we are all working without a contract, and we feel it is imperative to settle a contract as quickly as possible. 

Health-Related Accommodations
As we come back to the semester, we have heard from some faculty that they’ve had difficulty getting health-related accommodations to teach remotely. If you are in this situation, please contact union staff at uicunitedfaculty@gmail.com.

In Solidarity,

The UIC UF Bargaining team

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

Read More

15 Aug UICUF Bargaining team offers final contract proposals during negotiation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

28 Jul Bargaining Update: Comprehensive Counter-Proposal Expected Soon

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

Bargaining Update

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

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

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

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

Get to know your contract

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

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

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

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

E. The University will provide each bargaining unit position a new computer not to exceed $1,500 (plus the cost of a three-year extended warranty) to be chosen from a set of available and  supported configurations from the campus office of Academic Computing and Communications  Center (ACCC). This program for provision of new computers will extend through August 15,  2022, and computers will be replaced if an existing computer is more than four years old during  the term of this Collective Bargaining Agreement. The University will provide hardware support  during the time the computer is covered by warranty and is assigned to the original bargaining  unit position. In accord with the State of Illinois and University procurement rules, the assigned  computer remains property of the University and assigned to the department. Computer use is  subject to the applicable Acceptable Usage Policy promulgated by ACCC, as such policy may be  amended from time to time. The process for replacing computers that will be more than four years old during the following academic year will be initiated every year of this agreement on or  before January 15th, and computers should be received no later than August 1st of each year. 

F. The University shall provide classroom support during all hours in which courses are scheduled,  including access to printers and technology support for classrooms with sufficient on-campus  staff to facilitate timely support. This support shall commence at least a half hour before courses  are scheduled. 

G. In accordance with the University of Illinois Statutes and General Rules Concerning University  Organization and Procedures, faculty members shall retain ownership rights to traditional  academic copyrightable work.  

***

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

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

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

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

In Solidarity,
The UIC UF Bargaining team

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

Read More

14 Jul UICUF Contract Negotiation: Bargaining Update

  • UICUF Bargaining team met with UIC admin for 6th session: No articles were TA’d, but important needs were discussed, and both sides agreed to bring in experts to discuss the finer points of ongoing issues.
  • Get to know your contract: Article XII of our contract discusses processes related to faculty discipline.
  • Honoring Janet Smith’s Legacy: Consider contributing to the Janet Lynn Smith Practitioner in Residence fund today, Thursday, July 14th. 

Contract Bargaining continues

The UICUF bargaining team met via Zoom with the administration bargaining team for a sixth session on Monday. In this session, conversation focused on UICUF’s counter proposal on Article IV. Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment, and administration’s counter proposals on three articles, Article X. Academic Freedom; Article XIV. Physical Conditions; Article XVII. Access to Personnel File. At stake in these conversations is the bargaining team’s belief that current university policies need to be made known, transparent, and accountable. In recent history, although university policies and processes exist in cases of harassment, academic freedom, and personal files, they have not always been adhered to; in some cases, policies concerning documentation of complaints and investigations have remained opaque or unknown. Our goals in Articles IV, X, and XVII all focus on making current university policies transparent and accountable. 

The next bargaining session will be held on July 25th at 10am via Zoom. Members are encouraged to come and observe the session, although we ask that only members of the bargaining team talk during the main session with the administration team–members opinions are very important to us, however, during caucus! Please contact the UICUF staff at UICUnitedfaculty@gmail.com to receive the invitation link.

***

Get To Know Your Contract

UIC UF Faculty Contract (2018-2022)
Article XII. Hours of Work and Commitment (Non-Tenure and Tenure Contracts) 

A. Bargaining unit members covered herein are expected to maintain work hours and commitment to the University required by the terms of their appointment. Bargaining unit members shall comply  with the University of Illinois Policy on Conflicts of Commitment and Interest and related State  of Illinois laws such as the University Faculty Research and Consulting Act, 110 ILCS § 100 and  the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, 5 ILCS § 430. 

B. Expectations for all non-tenure system faculty ranks or categories of faculty positions, including expectations for teaching, research, and service, shall be created through transparent shared governance processes in each academic unit and made easily accessible to all faculty. These expectations shall include a teaching statement that sets clear expectations for the teaching  assignments, including course load and class size. Job expectations shall be updated and/or re-ratified by the academic unit at a minimum of every three years.

C. Should a change to job expectations be needed during the course of a bargaining unit member’s  contract, the unit and the non-tenure track system faculty member shall mutually agree upon said  change(s). Such changes will conform with the terms of this Agreement. 

Most important for UICUF faculty members to note is that all programs and departments are required to publish workload descriptions and expectations and make them available to faculty. These expectations should be produced through faculty shared governance and updated, again through shared governance, every three years. This update is intended to recognize how technology and changing institutional priorities are affecting faculty work, as well as to control expectation creep which devalues faculty labor. Our contract does not currently outline what workload policies should include, which is the focus of our proposals for this article for the new contract. The bargaining team believes that workload policies should discuss all three pillars of academic work–teaching, research, and service–although it is clear that faculty positions differ in their priorities. We have also proposed a requirement that if an individual member’s workload deviates from the norm, that deviation should be negotiated between the member and their supervisor–and mutually agreed to. 

As a UIC faculty member, you should currently have access to written workload policies for your position within your academic unit. We encourage all members to locate your program’s policies and stay informed. If your unit does not have a workload policy that is freely accessible, you are encouraged to reach out to your unit’s Representative Assembly member or email UICUnitedfaculty@gmail.com.

***

Honoring Janet Smith by Supporting UIC’s Voorhees Center

UIC’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs has created this fund to support a rotating “Practitioner in Residence Program” to bring experienced community leaders to CUPPA and maintain the work with Chicago’s underserved communities that Janet spent her career working with and advocating for. 

You can click here to honor Janet’s life and continue her important work making Chicago a more just and equitable city. 

Read More

24 Jun Support the Bargaining Team at the Table & Remember to Vote on Tuesday

  • Next Bargaining Session is Monday, June 27: UICUF’s Bargaining Committee invites union members to observe all bargaining sessions with the university’s administration.
     
  • Illinois Primary Election is Tuesday, June 28: Don’t forget to vote if you are eligible, and you can make use of the Illinois Federation of Teachers’ endorsement list to identify strong pro-public education and pro-union candidates.
  • Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) Opportunities: You can pitch in to support proven allies of public education who are in tough election fights.

Dear Colleagues,

Monday, June 27th Bargaining Session, 10 am to noon.

The UICUF Bargaining Committee will be introducing new proposals regarding three articles of our current contract: 

  • Article IX. Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion, Layoff and Recall 
  • Article XII. Hours of Work and Commitment
  • Article XIV. Physical Conditions 

We will also be presenting counter proposals on four other articles: 

  • Article IV. Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment
  • Article X. Academic Freedom
  • Article XI. Governance
  • Article XVI. Labor Management Meetings

We are expecting counter proposals from the administration on: 

  • Article XV. Discipline and Dismissal
  • Article XVII. Access to Personnel File
  • Article XVIII. Grievance and Arbitration

Members may observe via zoom, and join conversations with colleagues during caucus sessions. Please do not speak during the live bargaining between our team and the administration.

Tuesday, June 28th Illinois Primary Election

UICUF leadership encourages our members who are eligible voters to participate in the Illinois primary election. The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) has vetted candidates seeking IFT endorsement and have made endorsements in selected races where they think there is a clear preference based on candidate legislative records and stated positions on public education and unions. Members of UICUF’s Committee on Political Education participated in IFT’s endorsement process. You can find those endorsements here.

GOTV Opportunities

We have strong public education allies who serve in the Illinois legislature who are in contested races and have requested help. They have frequently sponsored and/or voted for bills that advocate for investment in higher education, K-12 schools, and protection of retirement benefits for public workers. They serve on important House and Senate committees and always take into consideration the impact legislation will have on working people. The opposition to their election or re-election in these races comes from the Fraternal Order of Police, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCs), and/or corporate interests. Because these districts overlap, a coordinated campaign is being waged to support all of them together.

Delia Ramirez – running for the newly drawn 3rd US Congressional District, which covers much of the NW side and suburbs, and includes West Town, Humboldt Park, Hermosa, Avondale, parts of Albany Park, and extending towards Elgin.  Delia is endorsed by Chuy Garcia, Elizabeth Warren, Jan Schakowsky, and Bernie Sanders. She currently serves as an assistant majority leader in the Illinois House 4th district.
Omar Aquino – Senate, 2nd district
Rob Martwick – Senate, 10th district
Lillian Jimenez – Illinois House, 4th district (running for the seat that Delia Ramirez holds).
Lindsey LaPointe – Illinois House, 19th district

Can you help us elect these allies of the public good? Contact John Cusick (jcusick@ift-aft.org, 773-759-6120). 

Solidarity,

UIC United Faculty Leadership

Read More

20 Jun Seeking information about salary payment delays and other issues

Dear UICUF member, 

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

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

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

In solidarity, 
UIC United Faculty leadership

Read More

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

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

From our contract:

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

08 Jun Contract Bargaining Continues: Get to Know Your Contract!

  • U of I System announces 2022 salary program: Similar to past practice, administration refuses to grant merit-based salary raise pool to UICUF members.
  • UICUF Bargaining team met with UIC admin for 4th session: The power of GEO’s strike continues, as admin accepted Article IV revisions that mirror the new GEO contract and rejected our attempts to take their wins farther.
  • Get to know your contract: Article XV of our faculty contract discusses processes in matters of faculty Discipline.

University-wide 2022 salary program announced

On May 31 System President Tim Killeen announced a 3.5% merit-based raise pool for the U of I system. In line with past practice, the announcement stated that members of collective bargaining units would not be a part of this pool until contract negotiations were concluded. 

Withholding campus salary raises from the bargaining unit is not a necessary part of the contract negotiation process.  Without a doubt it is a choice made by the administration as a part of their negotiation tactics. We are particularly concerned that this decision, this year, shows a great disrespect for faculty, given our struggles with inflation and, even more, our substantial collective sacrifices during the pandemic. 

That said, we wish to remind members that in the past our contracts have always used the salary program as a baseline for our raise pool–which we will demand be applied retroactively to faculty salaries upon the completion of the new contract


Contract Bargaining Updates

The UICUF bargaining team met with the administration bargaining team for a fourth session on Monday. Last session we submitted five articles for consideration: 

  • Article IV. Non-Discrimination
  • Article XV. Discipline and Dismissal
  • Article XVI. Labor Management Meetings
  • Article XVII. Access to Personnel File
  • Article XVIII. Grievance and Arbitration 

Our proposals for Article IV. Non-Discrimination mirrors the language of the current GEO contract with a few important changes. Thanks to the incredible work of our GEO colleagues who struck for eight days to win significant protections for survivors, the administration team offered us nearly everything that GEO won in their last contract. However, they rejected our additional proposals, including timely notification of faculty who are the subject of an OAE complaint, a clearer definition of and condemnation of workplace bullying, and removal of the “responsible employee” designation for faculty to support survivors’ right to decide when and how to report misconduct. 

 We also continued to discuss Article XVI (Labor Management Meetings), Article X (Academic Freedom) and Article XI (Governance). A central issue in all of these articles is increasing our ability to collaborate with the administration through greater faculty and union representation in important decision-making committees and direct access to top administrators. While we did not resolve our disagreements on these issues, we had a productive discussion. 

Get To Know Your Contract
UIC UF Faculty Contract (2018-2022)
Article XV. Discipline and Dismissal (NTT Version)

A. The University may discipline, suspend, or dismiss a non-tenure track system bargaining unit member prior to the end of their appointment term for just cause. 

B. The University and Union agree with the principle of positive progressive discipline intended to correct deficiencies when possible, and that a reasonable process under the circumstances is required to impose discipline for just cause. Progressive discipline is based on the idea that as offenses occur appropriate discipline will be administered in a progressive manner.  The parties acknowledge that discipline might not be progressive if the offense is sufficiently serious.  

C. The levels of progressive discipline for bargaining unit members are (1) verbal counseling, (2) letter of warning, (3) suspension, and (4) dismissal.

D. In cases of disciplinary verbal counseling the unit head must inform the non-tenure track system bargaining unit member that they are receiving a verbal counseling and must provide the reasons for the verbal counseling. 

E. A unit head shall convene a pre-disciplinary meeting if discipline other than a verbal counseling is contemplated, and notify the non-tenure track system bargaining unit member in writing of the purpose of the meeting at least two (2) days in advance of the meeting. The non-tenure track system bargaining unit member shall be given the opportunity at or before the meeting to rebut the reasons for the contemplated discipline.

F. Non-tenure track system bargaining unit members have the right to Union representation throughout the disciplinary process, including during any investigatory interview that may reasonably lead to discipline.

G. Except for purposes of determining a pattern of behavior, letters of warning will remain in effect for purposes of progressive discipline for only two full consecutive semesters.

H. Situations in which a faculty member is placed on paid leave pending the conclusion of an investigation shall not be considered discipline.

I. A non-tenure track system bargaining unit member may utilize the Grievance and Arbitration procedure set forth in this Agreement to appeal any discipline, suspension or dismissal issued under this Article.  If the arbitrator fails to sustain the University’s action, they may not award any remedy (e.g., compensation, reinstatement, reappointment) for time beyond the terminal date of the appointment during which the non-tenure track system bargaining unit member was disciplined, suspended or dismissed.  Any award of back pay shall not exceed the amount the faculty member would have earned from the date of suspension or dismissal to the end of the term of appointment. 

This article from the non-tenure track contract establishes a protocol for positive progressive discipline in disputes between faculty and administrators related to perceived deficiencies in faculty workplace performance. Positive progressive discipline is a formative process that is intended to correct deficiencies and give faculty opportunities to develop before discipline resulting in professional harm occurs. Letters D through H articulate what each of the 5 levels of action entails.

When an issue with faculty performance is identified by an administrator, the administrator must first address the issue verbally with the faculty member. This does not mean an informal elevator conversation. Verbal counseling must begin with a statement by the administrator that the conversation is a part of the formal progressive disciplinary process, as well as an explanation of the cause for the counseling and a recommended action for resolution. Upon the receipt of a verbal counsel, faculty should contact union representation–all faculty have the right for union representation at any and all stages of the disciplinary process. If the deficiencies are perceived to continue, the faculty member, a union representative of their choosing, and the supervisor must meet so that the faculty member has an opportunity to rebut or question the perception of deficiency. A written letter of warning enumerating the problems must be provided at least two days before the meeting, giving the faculty member the chance to understand the complaints and gather information. 

If the situation escalates, and a faculty member is placed on suspension, the suspension itself cannot be considered punishment and should be paid pending the outcome of a formal investigation presumably following university policy. It is only after these steps have been observed that dismissal is a potential outcome of faculty disciplinary processes. 

Our proposals for this article in the new contract include further articulation of these steps and protections. We hope to ensure that in cases where non-faculty entities, such as the Office of Access and Equity, are part of the process that the faculty member is included in all communications between that entity and their supervisors and that these entities cannot determine punishment of faculty. Our final and most important proposal for this article is to include this language in the Tenure-Track version of our contract. Right now there is no specific protocol for tenure-track faculty in disciplinary situations. For pre-tenure faculty, the lack of a clear process for normative development and progressive discipline is not only a clear danger, but an oversight in regards to the mentorship and support of junior faculty. The university and its executive officers have the responsibility to mentor and develop faculty in meaningful ways, and we envision this policy as a way to ensure faculty have the opportunities to develop when problems arise. 
 

In Solidarity,
The UIC UF Bargaining team

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

Read More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

20 May UICUF Contract Negotiation: Bargaining Update 

  • UIC UF Bargaining team met with UIC admin for 3rd session: UICUF presented 5 articles for discussion
  • Get to know your contract: Article X of our faculty contract discusses processes in matters of faculty Academic Freedom.

Bargaining Updates
The UIC UF Bargaining Team met with the Administration team yesterday. We presented proposals developing Article IV. Non-Discrimination; Article XV. Discipline and Dismissal; Article XVI. Labor Management Meetings; Article XVII. Access to Personnel File; and Article XVIII. Grievance and Arbitration. Administration is expected to respond to our proposals at our next meeting in approximately 3 weeks.

Contract bargaining is currently taking place on Zoom, but we do hope to meet for in-person sessions soon. Union members are invited to observe sessions and collaborate with the bargaining team during caucuses. You can find out about upcoming sessions and other union events by following the UICUF calendar here or emailing UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

Get To Know Your Contract
UIC UF Faculty Contract (2018-2022)

Article X, Academic Freedom

  1. It is the policy of the University to maintain and encourage full freedom within the law of inquiry, discourse, teaching, research, and publication and to protect any member of the (tenure/non-tenure) track system bargaining unit against influences, from within or without the University, which would restrict the member’s exercise of these freedoms in the member’s area of scholarly research and interest. 
  2. As a citizen, a faculty member may exercise the same freedoms as other citizens without institutional censorship or discipline. A faculty member should be mindful, however, that accuracy, forthrightness, and dignity befit association with the University and a person of learning, and that the public may judge that person’s profession and the University by the individual’s conduct and utterances.
  3. A faculty member who believes that they do not enjoy the academic freedom which is the policy of the University to maintain and encourage shall be entitled to a hearing on written request before the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure of the campus Senate.  Such hearing shall be conducted in accordance with established rules of procedure.  The Committee shall make findings of facts and recommendations to the President and, at its discretion, may make an appropriate report to the Senate.  The several committees may from time to time establish their own rules of procedure.
  4. Any substantive dispute under this Article shall be resolved under Article X, Section 2 (d), of the University of Illinois Statutes
  5. Any procedural dispute under this Article under the control of a party to this Agreement shall be resolved under the Grievance and Arbitration procedure in this Agreement, and any such grievance decision thereunder shall be limited to providing a remedy correcting a process error.

Our union contract does not debate what constitutes a violation of academic freedom–that matter is handled by University Policy, U of I System Statutes, and most directly, the UIC Senate. Instead, this article makes clear that faculty do have academic freedom in matters of scholarship and teaching.

In cases where faculty feel their academic freedoms have been violated, members should immediately contact their union representative or email UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com, for advice and support in submitting a written request to the UIC Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

Our proposals for this article intend to make violations in the handling of academic freedom cases–such as discipline occurring prior to a UIC Senate hearing–fully contestable and grievable. While university policies exist, we have observed a wide range of administrative responses that are not consistent with those policies. Currently, bargaining unit members have no recourse when university policies are not followed. Therefore, we are pushing to include the language of those policies, including the UIC Student Academic Grievance Policy in Article X, in order to make the failure to follow policy fully grievable through the Union. So far, the administration’s bargaining team has refused to acknowledge the importance of holding UIC accountable to its own policies in this way.

In Solidarity,

The UIC UF Bargaining team

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

Read More