News

21 Jan Solidarity Saved My Department

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

 

Dear Members,

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

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

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

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

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

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

***

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

Wednesday 12-1pm | Thursday 12-1pm

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

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14 Jan Demand That Admin Honor Their Contractual Commitments

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

Dear Faculty,

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

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

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

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

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

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

***

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

Wednesday 12-1pm | Thursday 12-1pm

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

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12 Jan Demand That Admin Honor Their Contract Commitments

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

Dear Faculty,

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

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

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

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

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

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

***

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

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

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

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

 

Dear Faculty,

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

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

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

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

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

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

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

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

 

Dear UICUF Members,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

***

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

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

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

 

Dear UICUF Members,

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

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

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

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

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06 Nov Democracy in Action

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

 

Dear UICUF Members,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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29 Oct Survey Says Workloads Have Increased

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  • Workload Survey Results: Among other things, our workload survey has revealed that the vast majority of faculty are working more hours since shifting to remote, most reporting a 5+ hour/week increase.
  • Get Out The Vote: People are voting in record numbers this year, and every vote counts, especially for passage of the Fair Tax. IFT is sponsoring member-to-member GOTV efforts which we highly encourage you to join! See below for details.
  • Racial Equity Letter: UICUF has officially endorsed a letter from the Good Trouble Coalition to UIC admin, following up on and standing firm on demands to address racial justice and equity issues at UIC. We invite and encourage you to sign in support as well!
  • Membership Meeting: As we mentioned last week, our Fall Member Meeting will be held remotely, 3-4pm, 11/18/20. Save the date and we will send a link to our members closer to the event!

 

Dear UICUF Members,

Over the last two weeks, we’ve been running a survey on workloads and how they’ve changed since faculty moved predominantly to remote work. 22% of our bargaining unit (317 faculty) responded, representing all colleges and most departments. The results indicate major, widespread impacts to both how much work faculty are doing, and the kind of work they are required to do.

Longer Hours Have Become The Norm
Probably the biggest single outcome from the survey is a confirmation that the vast majority of faculty are working considerably more hours per week than prior to the remote shift. 84% said they are regularly working at least an hour more per week than they did before the pandemic, but tellingly, 59% said they are working five or more hours a week beyond their previous norms. This extra work seems to come in the form of having larger class sizes for many, but we’ve also heard indications that faculty are spending much more time on service responsibilities, course prep, and especially support for (frequently distressed) students. Many have indicated that this extra work comes at the expense of research time which may critically impact their careers.

Erosions of Academic Freedom
We’ve also found that, despite the university unequivocally stating faculty will not be required to record classes, or teach in specific formats, this message does not seem to have reached all departments. 28% said they were required to record, 17% said they were required to teach synchronously, and 16% said they were required to teach asynchronously. We are looking into these reports and encourage faculty to let us know if they are being required to do any of the above so we can work to address these academic freedom issues. Email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

Failures of Shared Governance
Per our current contract, all departments must develop a workload policy based on input from faculty via an open and transparent shared governance process. With the vast majority of faculty saying they know of no such policy, or that these policies don’t exist in their department, it is now clear that the university has failed to live up to their fundamental commitments, both to shared governance and transparency. We are currently discussing adding online teaching expectations to such workload policies at the bargaining table. It remains clear that for protections to be effective, they need to be addressed both by unit administrators and faculty.

If you need help kick-starting the process of reviewing or developing language for workload policies, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com

GOTV
With less than a week before election day, there are still options to help get out the vote! Every vote counts, especially for passage of the Fair Tax, which we and our union affiliates have endorsed. Below, you can find a variety of options to volunteer for voter outreach with IFT, calling and texting union members around the state to get out the vote.

Phone volunteers, please contact: Amy Rueff amy.rueff@ilafl-cio.org
Text volunteers, please contact: Bill Looby 217-494-4014 BillL@ilafl-cio.org

Early vote GOTV Oct. 26-30
Statewide virtual phone bank shifts:

  • Thursday, Oct. 29: 11am-2pm/4:30-7:30pm
  • Saturday, Oct. 31: 10am-1pm
  • Monday, Nov. 2: 11am-2pm/4:30-7:30pm
  • Tuesday, Nov. 3: 10am-2pm/2pm-6pm

 

Text bank

  • 26-30: Noon-3pm/3-6pm
  • 31-Nov. 3: Noon-3pm/3-6pm

 

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

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22 Oct Virtual Member Meeting Nov. 18

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  • Membership Meeting: Save the date for our 11/18 Remote Membership Meeting, 3-4pm. A zoom link will be sent to members closer to the meeting date.
  • Workload Survey: Don’t forget to fill out our 5-question workload survey! We’ve already received great feedback about how workloads are changing due to remote work, and your response will help us advocate for better faculty conditions moving forward.
  • Comment on Visa Rules: You still have 4 days to comment on the draconian visa restrictions proposed by DHS. You can learn more about the visa restrictions and how to comment from our previous post on the subject.
  • VOTE!: Voting is underway, so make a voting plan if you haven’t already, and vote “YES” on a Fair Tax. We covered the Fair Tax, including exact legislative language, in a previous post.

 

Dear UICUF Members,

Our Fall Membership Meeting will be held remotely via Zoom, from 3-4pm on November 18th, and will be immediately followed by a meeting of our Representative Assembly, the elected voting legislative body of our union. At the Membership Meeting  we will discuss ongoing impact bargaining, findings of our workload study, and other contemporary issues.  All members are encouraged to participate in the member meeting, and stay for the Assembly session afterwards. All union meetings are always open to all members.

Workload Survey
We’ve already received 200 responses and need your input to get a clearer picture of how workloads and working conditions are changing due to COVID and remote learning. This will inform our ongoing impact bargaining over pandemic-related issues, and it’s only 5 questions, so please take a moment to fill it out. See link in the bullets above to take the survey. Results will be shared in future communications and at the upcoming membership meeting.

Visa Rule Public Comments
As we discussed last week, our international students may suffer considerable setbacks in pursuing their degrees if the newly proposed visa rules from DHS take effect. Students are likely to experience interruptions in their visa eligibility, and some may effectively be forced out of their programs entirely. Among the worst effects, students will be limited to 4- or even 2-year visas, despite at least a quarter of undergrads, and a majority of PhD students taking more than 4 years to complete a degree. See the link in the bullets above to learn more and make your public comment.

Voting
The vast majority of our members vote regularly, but in an election year where every vote counts, we feel it’s our duty to remind you to get to the polls one way or another. You can easily find information about polling places and/or mail-in voting via the Illinois State Government website.

And of course, it’s no secret that we have endorsed the Fair Tax. You can find our extensive coverage, including exact legislative language, in the link posted in the bullets above. In short, a “YES” vote for a Fair Tax will produce billions in needed state revenues, while reducing taxes on virtually all of our members and on the vast majority of Illinois tax-payers. Speculation that it will open the door to other types of tax hikes, including taxing retirement income, are unfounded. Retirement income is protected in state law, and the Fair Tax does nothing to change that.

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

***

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

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16 Oct Help Our Students Fight New Visa Restrictions

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  • Proposed DHS Rules Will Harm Our Students: The proposed rules will severely limit visa durations and create significant if not insurmountable barriers to degree completion for current and future international students.
  • Your Public Comment Can Make a Difference: Public comments are open until 10/26. Comments can delay or derail rules that adversely affect our students. We strongly encourage you to submit a comment (here or here) ASAP. See below for more info.
  • Workload Survey: UICUF will be running a brief survey via direct email next Wednesday to determine how the pandemic and remote work are affecting faculty workloads. You can respond to the survey now if preferred!

 

Dear UICUF Members,

We are writing today to alert you to a developing situation that could adversely affect our international students. Some of you may recall a push by the White House and Homeland Security this summer to severely limit student visas, an effort which was halted in the courts after being challenged by many higher education institutions before going into effect. Unfortunately, a new effort to limit student visas is underway right now, and our students, via the organization International Students Supporting Each Other (ISSEO), are sounding the alarm and asking for our help.

What Do The New Rules Do?
Very briefly, the new proposed rules will limit students to 4- or 2-year academic visas, despite the fact that at least 25% of undergrads and a majority of PhD students take longer than 4 years to complete their degrees. The proposal will also require renewing the visa through Citizenship and Immigration Services, rather than allowing students’ educational institutions to extend their student status. USCIS is already struggling under extraordinary backlogs which can delay proceedings by months or even years–due in no small part to the systematic understaffing and underfunding of immigration courts. This could make it difficult if not impossible to maintain a consistent student status, which will force many international students to discontinue their studies. You can review a great deal more information on the rules proposed, and how to support our students, in the ISSEO’s Call To Action Guide.

Submit a Public Comment to Support Our Students
UICUF intends to submit an institutional comment, but our students have asked that we all individually submit public comments, which together can delay, restrict, or build a case for dropping the proposal entirely. The action guide linked above can offer more details.

If you have questions or just want to take action in a supportive environment, ISSEO is hosting a Comment Party next Monday:

What: ISSEO Public Comment Party
When: Monday, October 19th
Time: 5-6 p.m. CST
Where: Zoom (RSVP to receive the event link)
RSVP: http://bit.ly/CmntRSVP2
Questions: Email ISSEO

Upcoming Workload Survey
We have received enough anecdotal reports of increased workloads attributable to the shift from in-person to remote work, that we are going to run a brief, 3-question survey to find out more about the phenomenon. Watch for the survey in your email next Wednesday, or if you prefer, you can fill it out right now!

Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty

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

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