News

25 Jul Know-Your-Contract Mid Summer Roundup

uicufwebB

  • UICUF completed contract negotiations this Spring and our 2018-2022 NTT contract and TT contract are available online for your review.
  • Our Know-Your-Contract Series is also available via our website, and will continue through the summer to help explain your contract rights.
  • UICUF will offer department-specific Know-Your-Contract workshops this fall. To request a workshop for your department, contact us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.
  • Save The Date: Help welcome new faculty to UIC, the afternoon of August 21st.

 

As most readers will know, UICUF completed negotiations for new faculty contracts this past Spring, after a prolonged bargaining process and a last-minute deal to avert a strike. If you haven’t done so already, we highly encourage our members to visit our website and review or download your new contract.

In addition to publishing the actual contract language on our website, we’ve committed to an ongoing effort to help our members actually understand what that contract means for their day-to-day lives. To that end, we’ve published a series of Know-Your-Contract articles this summer on various topics of interest to our members, and will continue the series through the end of the summer.

Beginning in the Fall semester, we will also be offering Know-Your-Contract workshops on a department-by-department basis. In particular, many of our contractual rights must be asserted and maintained through shared governance (example: defining work load expectations), and the 2018-2022 contract adds new dimensions to faculty rights through these principles. Union staff, officers, and volunteers will be available to help members ensure that their departments are fully informed about their rights. If you would like to schedule a workshop for your department on a particular subject, or simply for an overview and discussion of these rights, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

In the meantime, here is a summary of the Know-Your-Contract topics we’ve covered so far:

KNOW YOUR CONTRACT – RAISES
Extensive information on how pay will be determined, including the types of raises (Minimums, Merit, Compression/Equity), the role of shared governance in deciding pay increases, use of guaranteed Professional Development funds, and how retro pay will work. Note that retro-pay is still being calculated at the time of this publication.

KNOW YOUR CONTRACT – PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUNDS
A deeper dive into Professional Development funds, including guaranteed amounts, and how to use them.

KNOW YOUR CONTRACT – DISCIPLINE AND DISMISSAL
A detailed explanation of your rights in the discipline process, including the right to union representation, expectations of due process, and what each step of that process should look like.

KNOW YOUR CONTRACT – EVALUATIONS
Learn about your right to a timely, transparent, and appropriate annual evaluation, how they should be performed, how student input can and can’t be used, and what these evaluations should and should not be used for.

KNOW YOUR CONTRACT – WORK LOADS
The new contract specifies a role for shared governance in defining work loads in each department. Learn more about how those definitions should be created, what must be covered in these definitions, and how your work expectations are protected from abrupt changes mid-contract.

KNOW YOUR CONTRACT – APPOINTMENT AND REAPPOINTMENT
Reappointments are a big deal, especially for NTT faculty. A key element of our new contract was to speed up time to muti-year appointments, and improve the notification process. Learn about your rights regarding multi-year appointments, when they should be applied, and when you are entitled to know about your appointment status each academic year.

KNOW YOUR CONTRACT – ACADEMIC FREEDOM
One of the most important, but also hotly debated concepts in academia today, we explain specifically what our contract and the UI statutes have to say about academic freedom, how it is protected, and how we can further strengthen these important rights.

***

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!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

Read More

18 Jul Know Your Contract – Academic Freedom

uicufwebB
***
Faculty have begun receiving NOAs expressing 2018-19 pay increases, and these increases should be reflected in your July paycheck. Retro pay owed to faculty for August ’18 to June ’19 is still being processed, and we will inform you ASAP as to when you can expect this payment.
***
  • Academic freedom and individual freedom of speech are broadly protected in our contract and UI Statutes
  • Seeking remedies for potential violations of these principles presents unique challenges
  • Regardless of remedies specific to violations of academic freedom, inappropriate discipline may be grievable under the union’s current contract language.
  • Want to work on these issues directly? Join our Committee on Shared Governance and Academic Freedom, or our Senate Caucus. UICUnitedfaculty@gmail.com for more info.
  • This entry refers to Articles X, XI and XV of the 2018-2022 NTT contract and TT contract

As many of us recently celebrated the 4th of July, commemorating our freedom from kings and foreign powers, we wanted to discuss another important set of freedoms specific to the academy. These, of course, are collectively known as academic freedoms, and it will probably come as no surprise that they are very important to faculty at UIC. In fact, it was one of the most popular issues in our 2017 bargaining survey, with 62% of respondents regarding it as a major priority for the union and university, second only to the protection of tenure lines. Delving into the comments section of that survey, however, revealed that there is a lot of disagreement about what exactly academic freedom means, and what it should protect.

This segment of our Know Your Contract series will address what specifically is in our contract, and what you can and can’t do if you feel your academic freedom is being violated. There are myriad other resources on this topic, including the UI Statutes, and the authoritative AAUP statement on academic freedom and tenure, if you want to learn more about how the UI system and the academic community define these critical freedoms. As we will discuss, there are unique challenges involved in addressing violations of academic freedom. However, we encourage you to contact us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com if you have such concerns, particularly if they involve inappropriate disciplinary action.

What does our contract have to say about academic freedom?
Article X.A essentially acknowledges and restates university policy:

“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 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.”

Here we get a broad claim of protection for academic activities, with some specificity to a faculty member’s area of scholarly research. Article X.B further affirms basic freedom of speech principles, with a notable word of caution:

“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.”

So you can theoretically say what you want in context as an individual, let’s say on your personal social media account, but the university makes explicitly clear that they don’t have to like it. And herein is the tricky part….

What If My Academic Freedom Is Violated?
Currently, you can report academic freedom violations, such as being censored or disciplined by the university for expressing a particular view or opinion, to the University Senate. Per Article X.C of the contract:

“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.”

Reading this, you might quickly notice that there is no mention of actual remedy should the committee assigned to investigate find that a violation took place. In fact, there is no suggestion that the person making the complaint will even be informed of the findings of this committee. The only guarantee is that the committee will make a report to the university President. There is no requirement for either the President or the Senate to act on the committee’s findings.

Is There Anything Else I Can Do If I’m Disciplined Inappropriately
While there isn’t a lot of comfort to be found in the article on academic freedom itself, we do have some remedies available for members who feel they’ve been inappropriately disciplined in violation of their academic freedom. Specifically, if action is taken against a faculty member, our new language on discipline in Article XV of the contract requires that discipline take a certain form, which must be progressive and transparent (so it should be clear you are being disciplined, and why). If faculty are disciplined in a way that is counter to this due process, in violation of academic freedom or for any other reason, a grievance may be filed on this basis. Thus, it’s possible to fight inappropriate disciplinary action that contravene academic freedom, regardless of the senate’s findings.

Can We Do Anything To Bolster Academic Freedom Protections?
If you find the protections offered by current university policy to be less than convincing, you are not alone. While we fought to add both more transparency, and meaningful remedies to this process via our contract, Administration was adamant that these issues can only be decided in the University Senate. This is among several issues we intend to pursue in the Senate, and we are now in the process of developing a Senate Caucus to address concerns that were not remedied through contract negotiations. We also have a Committee on Shared Governance and Academic Freedom which is charged with the task of monitoring the state of academic freedom across the university, and educating faculty on their rights. If you want to get involved, either by joining the Committee or the Senate Caucus, please email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

***

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!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

Read More

11 Jul Know Your Contract – Appointment and Reappointment

uicufwebB

  • Improved guidelines around appointments/reappointments means greater job security for NTT Faculty
  • New contract provides advanced letter of appointment – First notification deadline June 1, fall-back deadline July 16
  • Contract also reduces time to multi-year appointments, requires timely evaluations of faculty
  • This entry refers to Article IX of the NTT contract.
  • Rules for Tenure Track appointments can be found in the TT contract and UI Statutes

 

UIC United Faculty is keenly aware that appointment and reappointment procedures are at the core of defining job security for NTT faculty. In particular, reliable notification timelines, and multi-year appointments can give faculty peace-of-mind, while creating a more collegial atmosphere where faculty feel comfortable and secure in their positions. To maximize stability for our members, our new contract improves upon several aspects of the appointment/reappointment process.

In an effort to give faculty greater clarity on rights regarding the appointment/reappointment process, we’ve answered some of the most common questions and misunderstandings below. If you have further questions, or specific concerns about the implementation of these contractual rights, contact us ASAP at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

When Should I Be Informed That I Am Being Reappointed?
Academic units should inform NTT faculty by June 1st of each year whether you are being reappointed to your position. HOWEVER, an academic unit may choose to postpone this notice until as late as July 16th (this deadline is improved over the August 1st deadline in our previous contract). In the case of postponement, the academic unit still needs to inform you by June 1 that they have opted to postpone their decision.

If you do not receive your notice in a timely manner, contact us ASAP at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

Should I Expect A Letter Of Reappointment If I am Part Way Through a Multi-Year Appointment?
While some departments may choose to give reappointment letters to faculty in the middle of a multi-year appointment, they are not required to do so. If you are, for example, going into year 2 of a 3 year appointment, you may not get a new letter. You should still receive a Notice of Appointment from the Board of Trustees in August for the current academic year, though this notice won’t necessarily note your multi-year status.

When Am I Eligible For A Multi-Year Appointments?
The timeline to receive multi-year appointments have changed under the new contract. After four years of consecutive employment, OR upon promotion, whichever comes first, NTT faculty will get at least a two-year appointment. After six years, an NTT faculty member will get at least a three-year appointment. If the maximum appointment length changes in the UI statutes (currently three years), anyone on a three-year appointment will get the new maximum upon their next reappointment. An NTT faculty member can be offered longer appointments up to the current 3-year maximum set by university statute at any time, at the discretion of their academic unit.

These multi-year appointments cannot be withheld, nor can timelines be extended for any reason, provided that the individual is consecutively employed for the requisite number of years, and is reappointed for the new term.

While this significantly improves job security, it is not the same as tenure, and does not guarantee reappointment.

Do Title Changes Affect My Time Towards Multi-Year Appointments?
No, under the current contract, title changes do not reset the clock toward multi-year appointments or promotions. This includes conversion from a visiting to a permanent position, so time spent as a visiting faculty member will count toward your multi-year appointment and promotion timelines, per Article IX.A.4 of the NTT contract.

Am I Entitled To An Evaluation?
Yes, all full-time (51%+ appointment) faculty are entitled to a formal and transparent evaluation each year. This should give NTT faculty a clear idea of where they stand, and provide data for merit, promotion, and reappointment decisions. See our earlier Know Your Contract article on evaluations for more details on how they should work.

Where Are Reappointment Procedures Specified?
Reappointment procedures MUST be outlined in your unit bylaws under Article IX.B.1 of the new contract. If an academic unit does not currently have a written policy, it is their responsibility to develop one. Contact your department/division/college for more information about unit bylaws regarding the reappointment process. If your unit refuses to provide such policies, contact us ASAP at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

Where Can I Find This Information In My Contract?
Contractual rights regarding appointment and reappointment are described in both non-tenure track and tenure track contracts, which can be viewed on our website. Specific references to the rights described above are found in the NTT contract, Article IX: Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion, Layoff, and Recall.

***

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!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

Read More

02 Jul Understanding the Recent Message on Health Insurance

uicufweb

  • State employees’ health plans offered by UIC are changing. See our review of the impact on your health plan for details.
  • A special enrollment period will be offered by UIC this Fall, specifics TBD
  • Thanks to union (AFSCME) negotiations, state employees’ premiums have not increased over the past 5 years versus a 20% average increase in premiums nationally
  • Cost increases will average $13/month for employees, $18/month for dependents each year starting Jan 1, 2020
  • The 4% average raises secured in our contract will keep most faculty well ahead of rising health costs

 

Faculty, along with other UIC employees, will have likely just received an email from the University of Illinois Human Resources department, explaining that your health insurance plans are about to change. This email unfortunately lacked significant details about the nature of those changes, and we want to add context so that our members can continue to enjoy their summer and their 4th of July holiday without undue concern.

Most importantly, our union affiliates at IFT have supplied detailed information about the changes to your health coverage hinted at in the HR email, so that you can track exactly what will happen to your health plan. If you wish, you can use this information to opt for a new plan during the upcoming Special Enrollment Period, which UIC has pledged to offer during Fall Semester.

We also want to clarify that it is due to union negotiations, via the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), that state employees have enjoyed a period free of premium increases over the last 5 years. The increases anticipated pursuant to the ratification of their new contract will begin January 1, 2020, and will average $13/month for employees, and $18/month for dependents each year for the next 4 years. Our own negotiations this year, which will yield, on average, 4% annual raises for faculty, should keep most members’ pay well ahead of these increases, and we do retain the option to reopen our contract to negotiate on health coverage should premiums rise at unsustainable levels (Article VI.C.2).

 

We hope this information helps you better understand upcoming changes to your health care costs and options, and invite you to email us directly if you have further questions, at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

***

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!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

Read More

27 Jun Know Your Contract – Work Loads

uicufwebB

  • Academic Units must set transparent workload policies through shared governance
  • Policies must address teaching expectations, including course load and class size
  • Job expectations can’t be changed mid-contract without the faculty member’s agreement
  • This entry refers to Articles XII of the 2018-2022 NTT contract and TT contract

 

While each of our contracts have addressed compensation issues, our new contract adds provisions to ensure that the value of your work can’t be eroded via administration unilaterally increasing course loads. In this update, we will explain how the new contract protects faculty from unexpected and uncompensated changes in job expectations. This entry is not intended to cover these topics exhaustively, and future articles will cover reduced or modified duties for life-changing events. if you have further questions or concerns about workloads, you are encouraged to contact us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

How Are Workloads/Course Loads Defined?
Per Article XII.B of the faculty contract, expectations have to “be created through transparent shared governance processes in each academic unit and made easily accessible to all faculty.” That means each academic unit has the flexibility to define workload expectations appropriate to their unique situation, but that faculty must be included in such decisions, and that expectations can’t be left vague and undefined. These expectations, once defined, should be revisited at least every three years.

This new contract provision is intended to protect faculty from changes in work expectations that could degrade the value of their labor. UICUF, therefore, strongly recommends that members familiarize themselves with existing policies where applicable, and initiate shared governance processes to define them where no policies currently exist. If you are unsure how to proceed, or have concerns about how to clearly define workload expectations, contact UICUF at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com ASAP.

What Has To Be Included In Workload Expectations?
Workload expectations are defined unit by unit, but they must include a few key points. Per the contract, “These expectations shall include a teaching statement that sets clear expectations for the teaching assignments, including course load and class size.” So faculty can specifically count on a locally defined standards for teaching loads, but expectations should be made clear for research and service duties if applicable as well. Again, all of these expectations should be defined through transparent shared governance processes, and be easily accessible to all faculty.

Can Administrators Change Work Expectations, or make Exceptions?
The contract language is designed to prevent changes in work expectations from being imposed on faculty members, so typically expectations for individuals should conform to the shared governance defined expectations of the academic unit. HOWEVER, these expectations can be changed by mutual agreement between a faculty member and their academic unit if needed. UICUF urges members to consider seeking or accepting such exceptions only with careful consideration and/or consultation with a union representative if desired.

Exceptions can also be made for faculty experiencing life-changing events such as the death of a family member or birth of a child. We will address modified duties for life-changing events in a later article.

***

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!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

Read More

20 Jun Know Your Contract – Evaluations

uicufwebB

  • Faculty are entitled to a formal yearly evaluation with a defined, transparent process
  • Evaluations must be considered in major decisions including raises and promotion
  • Student feedback (SIT Scores) cannot be used in isolation as a basis for evaluation
  • Faculty have a right to review and add to their permanent file where evaluations are kept
  • This entry refers to Articles IX, XVII of the NTT contract and TT contract and Faculty Affairs Policies, Procedures and Guidelines Section 701 and Section 702

 

At UIC, evaluations play an important role in faculty members’ lives, and for that reason, ensuring that they are conducted appropriately and used in the ways they were intended is equally important to UICUF. As a faculty member, you have a right to timely and appropriate evaluations, and to having these evaluations considered in critical decisions about your employment conditions at the university.

In this update, we will explain the policies and guidelines governing evaluations, and try to answer some of the most common questions. This entry is not intended to cover these topics exhaustively, and if you have further questions or concerns about evaluations, you are encouraged to contact us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

How Often Are Evaluations Required?
Per our contract and university policy, faculty with at least 50% appointments must be evaluated annually. Since evaluations may be relevant to decisions concerning merit raises, promotion, retention and tenure, UICUF considers a failure to perform timely evaluations to be potentially harmful to faculty members’ standing and long-term career prospects at the university. We therefore highly encourage members to actively participate in their yearly evaluations, and to contact us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com if you have any concern about the timeliness of your evaluation.

How Are Evaluations Performed?
As in many cases regarding procedure across diverse academic units, each department’s full evaluation process will be unique to that unit. However, per university policy FPPG Section 701 all units must allow faculty to include a self-assessment, must include an assessment by the unit’s executive officer, and must submit the final evaluation to the faculty member in writing. Further each unit must describe in writing their procedure for evaluations, which itself must be reviewed every 5-7 years with input from faculty.

This procedure should be transparent and available to faculty members, so UICUF encourages faculty to request information on these procedures from their own academic unit. If you have any trouble obtaining information on how your annual review is to be performed, or are concerned that the written process is not being followed, contact UICUF for assistance.

Can Student Evaluations Be Considered In My Evaluation?
Yes, but within limits. University policy (FPPG Section 702) states at length the concerns surrounding the reliability of such measurements. As such, student evaluations may not be used in isolation as an instrument for evaluation. Our contract further stipulates that these metrics can’t be used in isolation to make decisions regarding raises, promotions or the awarding of tenure.

What Can Evaluations Be Used For?
It is important to note that evaluations not only can be considered in decision-making, they must be considered for certain decisions. Per Article IX.D.1 of our contract:

“The purpose of the annual evaluation is to recognize and record the accomplishments of each member and to make judgments regarding the significance of these accomplishments, which judgments shall form part of the basis for assigning salary increases, recommending promotion, and the awarding of tenure.”

Faculty can and should expect their evaluations to be used for decisions regarding raises, promotion and tenure, which is why it is important that evaluations be performed in a timely and appropriate manner. Faculty who do not receive evaluations risk losing recognition for their work and accomplishments when these key employment decisions come up.

Can I See My Evaluations?
Yes, faculty are entitled to access, and to add comments to, their personnel files, which should contain the record of their annual evaluations. Faculty members can request access to these files from the campus Human Resources office.

Can I Contest Or Grieve A Bad Evaluation?
No, you can’t contest or grieve bad evaluations, though you may be able to contest or grieve an evaluation that is performed inappropriately, or a decision made without consideration of an evaluation. Essentially, you can contest process, but not outcome. If you feel your evaluation was not performed appropriately, contact UICUF at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com ASAP for assistance.

***

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!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

Read More

13 Jun Know Your Contract – Discipline and Dismissal

uicufwebB

  • UICUF’s new contract strengthens due process for NTT faculty
  • Discipline must be for cause, and must follow the steps outlined in the contract
  • By law, you have the right to union representation. Don’t forget your Weingarten Rights!
  • This entry refers to Article XV of the NTT contract. TT disciplinary rules can be found in the TT contract and UI Statutes

 

In recent contract negotiations, UICUF was able to negotiate stronger and clearer protections for due process in disciplinary proceedings.  For the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on the NTT faculty rights defined in our contract, as well as the universally applicable Weingarten Right to union representation. TT faculty’s rights regarding discipline and dismissal follow the guidelines described in TT contract, and the university statutes.

While the vast majority of faculty will never have to worry about discipline and dismissal processes, UICUF strongly encourages our members to know their rights, starting with the right to representation. Below, we explain language used  in the contract, and answer some of the most common questions, however, this article is not meant to exhaustively address rights, procedures, or outcomes in disciplinary proceedings. If you are facing disciplinary action, we highly recommend you contact us ASAP at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com for assistance.  

What Should I Do If I Think I’m Being Disciplined?
The most important thing to do if you are, or think you are, being disciplined is to assert your Weingarten Rights. These rights, upheld by national labor law, assert that you are entitled to union representation in “investigatory meetings,” meaning meetings that may lead to disciplinary action. You can download a printable “Weingarten Card” with an appropriate statement to assert these rights, and keep it in your workspace if desired.

Beyond this, we recommend members keep detailed notes of any disciplinary circumstance, and contact UICUF ASAP at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

What Can and Can’t I Be Disciplined For?
Owing to the exceptional diversity in how departments are run and the nature of work conducted within each department, our contract does not explicitly address what conduct might constitute an infraction. Department bylaws, UI Statutes, state policies, etc., may inform proper and improper conduct, but whether discipline is being applied appropriately can only truly be determined on a case-by-case basis.

What Does “Positive Progressive Discipline” Mean?
Positive Progressive Discipline is now clearly defined in our contract to mean:

“discipline intended to correct deficiencies when possible… 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.”

So discipline should be “positive” meaning corrective rather than solely punitive, and it should be progressive, meaning it follows appropriate steps (see below for steps). Only in extreme cases may discipline be applied in a manner that is not positive and progressive.

What Disciplinary Steps Are My Administrators Required To Follow?
Per the new contract, your administrators must follow clearly defined steps in a disciplinary process, barring extreme circumstances. These steps are designed to protect faculty’s right to due process, and to ensure that faculty understand when discipline is being applied and why.

The steps are (1) verbal counseling, (2) letter of warning, (3) suspension, and (4) dismissal. You may assert your right to union representation at any and all of these steps by stating your Weingarten Rights and contacting the union at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

What Is “Verbal Counseling” In Disciplinary Procedure?
The first stage of progressive discipline should be verbal counseling. This counseling must include a clear statement that this conversation is disciplinary in nature, and must include a clear reason for the discipline being contemplated. You may, upon being notified that an investigatory or disciplinary meeting is taking place, assert your Weingarten Rights and contact the union for representation at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

Does Prior Discipline Affect The Process/Steps For Future Infractions?
Yes, but only within a limited timeframe. Written warnings are considered effective for up to two consecutive semesters for the purpose of continuity of the disciplinary process, so an infraction in your first year of employment cannot be used to justify immediate suspension or dismissal in your fourth year. Prior discipline can, however, be recalled to establish patterns of behavior when contemplating disciplinary action.

Can I Be Suspended/Placed On Leave During A Disciplinary Investigation?
Yes, within certain limits. It is understood that depending on the seriousness of the offense, a faculty member may be removed from their duties while an investigation takes place. Such a removal must be in the form of paid leave. You should contact the union at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com immediately if you are placed on leave pending an investigation.

***

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!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

Read More

30 May Know Your Contract – Professional Development Funds

uicufwebB

  • All faculty are contractually entitled to PD funds: $600 for NTT | $900 for TT
  • All faculty may also be eligible for an additional $600 for conference travel w/pre-approval
  • Funds are in addition to, not in place of, funds provided by your college or department
  • This entry refers to Articles VI.A.1.c and VI.A.1.d of the NTT and TT faculty contracts

 

UIC United Faculty members overwhelmingly favored negotiating for greater professional development funding in our latest contract. Now that the new contract has been signed, we can happily report that we’ve delivered on this expectation. We are also aware, however, that the new provisions have raised new questions among members and administrators.

In an effort to give faculty greater clarity, we’ve sought to answer some of the most common questions and misunderstandings. If you have further questions, or specific concerns about the implementation of these contractual rights, contact us ASAP at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.  

Who Gets Professional Development Funds?
Every full-time faculty member in our bargaining unit, regardless of whether you are tenured, tenure-track, or non tenure-track, is contractually guaranteed professional development funds. You cannot be denied these funds on the basis of tenure status.

How Much Funding Am I Entitled To?
NTT faculty are entitled to $600 per year, and TT faculty are entitled to $900 per year. This has not changed from the last contract. However, all faculty may be entitled to an additional $600 per year specifically for travel to professional conferences and meetings.

What Can I Use My Funding For?
The base funds ($600 for NTT/$900 for TT) can be used for expenses related to research and/or teaching-related professional development, which should be outlined by your own department or college bylaws and policies. Typically, this money should be made available for conference registration and related travel expenses, professional associations and memberships, and subscriptions to relevant academic journals. Other uses may be approved by your department, so it’s safest to check your department guidelines or confirm with your department’s Executive Officer for pre-approval if you are uncertain that an expense will be covered.

The additional $600 won in the new contract is available to all faculty, but its use is restricted to paying for travel related to professional conferences and meetings, and requires pre-approval by your department’s Executive Officer (usually a Head/Chair) for use. Acceptance of an academic paper into a conference is not required for use of these funds.

When Can I Use These Funds/Can Funds Be Applied Retroactively?
Typically, funds can be used any time, and are renewed at the beginning of the contract year, August 16th. It is, however, advisable to apply for reimbursement/pre-approval of funds prior to the end of the university’s fiscal year, June 30th.

Since our new contract is retroactive back to August 16th, 2018, faculty are entitled to apply PD funds to past expenses in some cases. You should be able to apply your base funds ($600 NTT/$900 TT) to eligible expenses retroactively to that date. The additional $600 for conference travel, however, are unlikely to be applicable retroactively, as they would have had to be pre-approved before the money was spent. You may still take advantage of all funds in their full amounts for new expenses moving forward this year.

Can I Seek Additional Funding From My Department/Division/College?
Yes, all funding pursuant to your contractual rights are provided in addition to any funds provided by your department/college, and should not be used as a replacement for said funds. Therefore,  you may seek other funding as offered by your department to supplement these funds to which you are contractually entitled.

Are Funds Accrued Over Time Or Prorated Based On When They Are Used?
No, the amount you are entitled to is not accrued over time, nor can it be prorated by your department. You are entitled to use the full amount of funding for the year, at any time during that contract year, for eligible expenses. This includes funds applied retroactively for the 2018-2019 academic year. As explained above, however, the additional $600 for professional conference/meeting travel is unlikely to be made available retroactively, as it requires pre-approval, but you may use it in its full amount moving forward.

Can I Carry Over Funds From One Year To The Next
No, professional development funds are use-them-or-lose-them. You must spend them before the end of the contract year, August 16th.  

Where Can I Find This Information In My Contract
Contractual rights to professional development funds are described in both non-tenure track and tenure track contracts, which can be viewed on our website. Specific references to these rights are found in articles VI.A.1.c and VI.A.1.d.ii of both contracts. For your convenience, we’ve reproduced them below:

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.

d. Retroactivity
(ii) The increase to professional development expense reimbursement funds, as referenced above, shall apply retroactively only to expenses already incurred during the 2018-19 academic year up to the date this Agreement is executed.

***

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!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

Read More

23 May Members Won This Contract – Join the Union Today

uicufwebB

  • Our new contract will benefit just about every faculty member via Raises, PD Funds, Job Security, Workload Protections, and much more.
  • Active union membership won this contract and protects these gains.
  • Joining the union makes your voice heard. Our union works because faculty step up!

 

Our New Union Contract: Everyone Wins
Our new union contract, won through vigorous and sustained engagement by UICUF members, has something in it for everyone. Whether you are being brought up to the new minimum salaries for your rank, benefitting from merit raises, or receiving compression/equity adjustments, nearly every faculty member will get a meaningful salary increase. Everyone will also enjoy access to new PD funds, and real protections against workload increases without pay increases. Many NTT faculty will enjoy greater job security in the form of longer contracts and augmented due process protections. In short, there are benefits in this contract that will touch every faculty member in our bargaining unit. You can review more of these in summary, or in full at your leisure.

Our Union Works (Because Faculty Step Up)!
Faculty will enjoy the benefits of a robust contract over the next several years because so many chose to join the union as members and work for a better outcome. Administration’s opening offer, which they clung to for nearly half-a-year, was to give faculty nothing. No guaranteed raises, no improved job security, no workload protections, nothing. Our members fought to change that paradigm – and won!

Our members also allow us to effectively enforce the contract we’ve won. Union members are the alarm when administrators violate or try to work around contract provisions, and members’ dues provide the resources for union staff and legal counsel to fight back. Even after the contract is won, a strong membership ensures that administration actually abides by the agreements they’ve made.

There is No Better Time to Join the Union
For faculty who are not union members, there is no better time to join. Salary increases  from just the first year of the contract (retroactive to the ‘18-’19 academic year), will easily cover the 1% union dues in perpetuity, while your salary will continue to grow. Even though contract negotiation is over, it takes a robust network of members to participate in productive and effective contract implementation. And of course we will be back at the bargaining table in just three years!

Please consider joining the union as a member today, so that we can continue building on the strength that won us our latest contract. Our website has information about membership, and a downloadable application which you can print/sign/scan and send back to us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. You can also contact faculty representatives from each college if you have questions.

***

We issue regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and here 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!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

Read More

13 May Faculty Contracts Signed!

20190405_161741_resized

As of today, May 13, 2019, UIC United Faculty’s new contracts for Tenure and Non-Tenure track faculty have been signed! Both contracts, which outline pay and working conditions for faculty from August 16, 2018 (retroactive) to August 15, 2022, are now in full effect.

You can download the two contracts here:
Non-Tenure Track System Faculty (2018-2022)
Tenure Systen Faculty (2018-2022)

We also previously published guidance on execution of the shared governance aspects of the contract, especially those related to pay raises. You can find that guidance here:

Post: everything-you-need-to-know-about-raises/

We’re very excited for the improvements over previous contracts, especially in reinforcing shared governance principles at UIC, strengthening protections for NTT faculty, and of course, guaranteeing significant raise pools (2% Merit, 2% Compression/Equity) for our members over the next 4 years!

***

We issue regular updates via email, FacebookTwitterYouTube, and here 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!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

 

Read More