News

15 Nov Press Release: UIC Unions Demand Board End Rauner-Era Union Busting Tactics

Members of 4 UIC Unions rally against Rauner-Era union busting tactics at the Board of Trustees meeting in Chicago.

Members of 4 UIC Unions rally against Rauner-Era union busting tactics at the Board of Trustees meeting in Chicago.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 15, 2018

CONTACT:
Jeff Schuhrke
Media Liaison
847-721-5898
jeffschuhrke@gmail.com

UIC Unions United Coalition Protests Labor Law Violations and Demands Fair Contracts

In a powerful display of labor unity, this morning scores of UIC workers from four campus unions gathered at the University of Illinois Board of Trustees meeting to protest the University’s recent labor law violations and to demand fair contracts.

Since the Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME decision this summer, the University administration has illegally attempted to implement new dues deduction processes, while simultaneously trying to impose second-rate contracts on the Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), faculty, and graduate student workers. Thirty-four LPNs from the UI Hospital began an indefinite strike this morning to protest these unfair labor practices and to demand a fair contract.

Following Bruce Rauner’s overwhelming defeat in last week’s election, the unions are calling on the University Board of Trustees to abandon its Rauner-era anti-union, anti-worker agenda.

Members of the Illinois Nurses Association (INA), SEIU Local 73, UIC United Faculty, and the UIC Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) entered the University Board of Trustees meeting this morning and silently held up signs demanding living wages, more workplace protections, and an end to illegal union busting.

At a press conference immediately after this silent protest, leaders and activists from all four unions spoke.

“Everyone knows that 34 primarily women of color provide some of the most hands-on direct patient care to some of the most impoverished communities in Chicago,” said Ramona Morales of the INA. “However, UIH has decided to show blatant disrespect to us and the communities we serve by demanding we accept a second-class contract with watered-down or non-existent protections.” Morales is an LPN in Outpatient Dialysis, has worked at UI Health for 18 years, and is on strike.

“UIC United Faculty stands in solidarity today with this union coalition because we are committed to making UIC an even better place to work and learn,” explained Janet Smith, president of United Faculty. “However, to do that, we believe the Board of Trustees needs to lead in changing the anti-union culture in the UI system. Union members should not have to strike like the LPNs are today, like UIUC grad students had to last spring and like faculty in Springfield the year before, in order to get a fair contract. We know there is a better way. “

“UIC wouldn’t function without the labor of grad workers, yet our baseline salary is only $18,000 and the University requires us to pay up to $2,000 in annual fees,” said Jeff Schuhrke, co-president of the GEO. “That’s over ten percent of our income going right back into the employer’s pocket. We shouldn’t have to pay to work here. In our contract negotiations, we’re demanding substantial raises and fee waivers. But instead of listening, the UIC administration is trying to undermine our collective bargaining rights.”

“UIC’s attempts to unilaterally impose a new system for payroll deductions and revocations without consultation from the campus unions feels a lot like a Rauner move. Raunerism is a thing of the past,” said SEIU Local 73 president Dian Palmer. “We’re here to say, ‘UIC get with the program and stop stealing money from unions by immediately correcting payroll codings, cease & desist from improperly honoring revocation requests made directly to the employer!’”

GEO, United Faculty, and the LPNs have been in contract negotiations with the University for the past several months. The bargaining units represented by SEIU Local 73, including clerical, maintenance, technical, and civil service workers, will begin contract negotiations next year.

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14 Nov A Window Into A Union Victory

UIC faculty's mud covered view from an office inside University Hall.

UIC faculty’s mud covered view from an office inside University Hall.

Everyday Unionism
When people think of unions, they often associate them with picket lines, protests, and occasionally major lawsuits. To some extent, that makes sense, as those are indeed some of the strongest actions a union can take to ensure its members’ needs are being taken seriously. But that image belies the true, day-to-day realities of having a union presence in your workplace.

First and foremost, a union is a community. In particular, it is a community that allows its members to discuss shared workplace issues, and address them as a united group, rather than as isolated individuals. When union members act together, the results usually are not that flashy, but they are often far more effective than if people act on their own.

That’s why it is even more important to share the stories of everyday union victories in the workplace. Most labor actions won’t change the world overnight, but they very well might protect you from unsafe working conditions, or ensure that your boss thinks twice about making inappropriate comments in a staff meeting.

A Crumbling Facade
To highlight the fact that workers get taken more seriously when working together as a union, we have only to look back to a recent example: fallout from construction being done at University Hall.

If you’ve been around UIC lately, you may have noticed some construction going on. While construction on a university campus may be common, and necessary, it can still create major disruptions in the lives of faculty and students, especially when those faculty and students aren’t consulted or listened to.

In this case, the ongoing construction has caused a range of problems, from dust and particulate filling offices, to unbearable fumes, to major leaks in the facade which allowed muddy water to flow in, leaving stains and rot in its wake. The resulting mess was not only an eyesore, but a potential safety hazard. Yet when individual faculty complained, or asked the university how things would be cleaned up in the aftermath, UIC officials seemed to offer few assurances.

Yann Robert, an Assistant Professor working in University Hall, describes the issue. “When I contacted people in the Operations and Maintenance Office in the Fall of 2017 about a leak in my office that left streaks of mud on my windows, walls, and floor, I received vague answers about budgeting that left me unsure that the leak would ever be fixed, let alone the windows washed.”

A Voice The Boss Couldn’t Ignore
After hearing this story, and many others over the course of the construction, UIC United Faculty began to take action. The rumbling began at the grassroots, with members raising the alarm, and inviting other colleagues to share their stories. Before long, it was quite clear that this problem was widespread and in some cases quite serious.

When approached by the union with the collected testimony of so many faculty behind them, UIC officials changed their tune. They were immediately more helpful and responsive, saying they would take action to remedy the situation. And to some extent, at least, that’s what happened. With the union facilitating the identification of problem areas, the fumes and much of the rot from the leaks was, in fact, dealt with expediently.

“This incident showed that faculty consistently have the university’s best interest in mind, and that we are always ready to work collegially, respectfully, and with civility with our counterparts on the other side,” explained Professor Robert Johnston, our UICUF Chief Steward. “This episode happily demonstrated–despite what we have seen so often at the negotiating table and in consideration of grievances–that some administrators are willing to move toward such a productive partnership.”

Keeping Them Honest
Unfortunately, despite an initial good start to the work, as problems continued to mount, and the most serious issues were addressed, administration’s desire to follow through seemed to once again slacken. In particular, the administration appeared to be unconcerned about finalizing repairs of leaks, and were especially dismissive of cleaning up the mess they’d left behind.

Repeated demands for answers, both by individuals and the union, were met with unhelpful commentary about how the contractors would be responsible for cleanup, or how the impact of the leaks was minor and limited to small sections of the building. The accompanying reassurances by administration, that issues would be dealt with, were largely devoid of critical details, leaving some faculty feeling that UIC Administration wasn’t taking the remaining concerns seriously. UIC officials ignored further inquiries for weeks.

Only after union representatives actually accompanied inspectors to document the degraded working conditions caused by the construction, did things really change. In a shocking coincidence, days later, UIC officials emailed those working in University Hall to assure them that cleaning was being scheduled, and to give detailed instructions on how to set up work for individual offices.

The union intends to keep a close eye on how that cleaning proceeds, but for now at least, members feel vindicated. “When the union asked that soiled windows be cleaned throughout UH, the answer was far more positive,” Yann Robert tells us. “I leave everyone to reach their own conclusions about the benefits of a united voice looking out for the interest of the faculty.”

An Opportunity to Get Involved
As you can see, many things can be accomplished with the simple persistence and creativity of union members working together. But sometimes bigger efforts ARE necessary.

Tomorrow is one of those times. Given the overall slow progress of contract negotiations so far, we feel compelled to raise our concerns in front of a larger audience. Tomorrow, November 15th, the U of I Board of Trustees will be at Student Center West for one of their rare Chicago meetings. We, alongside our fellow UIC unions, will hold a rally and press conference to show the Board that we will not stand by and be railroaded with a take-it-or-leave-it contract. We will also be joining our fellow workers in the Licensed Practical Nurses bargaining unit of the Illinois Nurses Association, who will be going on strike for their own contract the same day.

We will gather in the south lobby of Student Center West at 9:30am, and will hold a press conference later that morning. We highly encourage our members and allies to attend one or both of these events tomorrow. If you are able to join us, please RSVP to UICUFJeff@gmail.com.

*        *        *

Until we win a fair contract, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

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07 Nov What Our Labor is Worth

UIC United Faculty members caucus with our bargaining team during a brief break from contract negotiations.

UIC United Faculty members caucus with our bargaining team during a brief break from contract negotiations.


It’s Not Just About The Money
UIC United Faculty met once again this Monday with U of I’s negotiating team to continue advocating for a better faculty contract. Last session, we presented our full, comprehensive proposal, which included all of our economic proposals. While we did not receive counter proposals on those items, the Administration team did engage us on questions they had around issues ranging from PD funds to office space.

We can’t share specific language or numbers associated with contract proposals still being discussed, but we do want to remind our members of our core goals going into this negotiation. From the beginning, we’ve aimed to address issues around:

 

  • Stagnant salaries amid rising costs of living in the Chicago area.
  • Changing demands on faculty pursuant to rapid enrollment growth at the University.
  • Shared governance principles that must form the backbone of decision-making at the University.


To reach these goals, we have proposed an array of measures that would improve working conditions, and are now adding items to
address salary concerns across the board. “The last time we negotiated a contract, we were contending with budget austerity and hiring freezes,” explains Aaron Krall, Co-Lead Negotiator for UICUF, “but we’re in a different economic era now.”

While we’ve discussed many of our non-economic proposals already on this blog, our economic proposal cut to the heart of what our labor is worth. That means demanding raise pools that not only keep up with inflation, but make up for years of mediocre or non-growth. It means demanding a universal minimum raise built into the merit system, so no faculty member will be left behind. It means demanding money for professional development in meaningful amounts in relation to critical conferences in their fields. And it means demanding protections against ever-rising health care costs.

These are just a few of the things we intend to fight for, so that UIC faculty can continue to grow in and contribute to their academic communities, while prospering alongside the community they serve.

After Months of Resistance, U of I Recognizes Basic Nondiscrimination Protections
Meanwhile, we do have some good news to share. While we can’t say when our Administration counterparts intend to bring counter proposals on our economic items, or what those proposals will look like, we did see progress being made in other areas.

We are happy to say, we now have a tentative agreement on one of our earliest proposals, on nondiscrimination protections for our members. We brought this article up in the very first bargaining session expressly because we felt it would be common sense to expand protections to vulnerable communities, like non-citizens. Given the disappointing and dangerous turn in the national political climate around such issues, we believed it was a no-brainer to position UIC as a leader in protecting our community. U of I administration obviously didn’t see it that way on day one, and it has taken them 11 negotiating sessions to come around on what we consider to be the most basic protections we could ask for.

While this is certainly a victory for faculty and the UIC community, the staunch resistance Administration put up leads us to suspect that nothing is going to come easily out of this process. We are continuing to have useful discussions around raises and other economic issues, but we are also preparing for every eventuality, and intend to continue raising the pressure on Administration. We will keep pushing forward until we win the best contract we can, for our members, and for the UIC community as a whole.

Take Action: Union Rally at Rare Board of Trustees Visit to Chicago
Given the overall slow progress of negotiations so far, we feel compelled to raise our concerns in front of a larger audience. Next week, Thursday, November 15th, the U of I Board of Trustees will be at Student Center West for one of their rare Chicago meetings. We, alongside our fellow UIC unions, will hold a rally and press conference to show the Board that we will not stand by and be railroaded with a take-it-or-leave-it contract. We will also be joining our fellow workers in the Licensed Practical Nurses bargaining unit, who will be going on strike for their own contract the same day.

We highly encourage our members and allies to attend one or both of these events on the 15th. If you are able to join us, please RSVP to UICUFJeff@gmail.com.

*        *        *

Until we win a fair contract, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

In Solidarity,
UIC United Faculty Bargaining Team
Aaron Krall [Co-Chair], Senior Lecturer, English | Kevin Whyte [Co-Chair], Professor, Math, Statistics and Computer Science | Kheir Al-Kodmany, Professor, Urban Planning and Policy | Xochitl Bada, Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies | Joaquin Chavez, Associate Professor, History | Jim Drown, Senior Lecturer, English | Chris Kanich, Assistant Professor, Computer Science | Paul Pieper, Associate Professor, Economics | Paul Preissner, Associate Professor, Architecture | Laurie Quinn, Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Science | Jeffrey Sklansky, Associate Professor, History | Charitianne Williams, Senior Lecturer, English | Milos Zefran, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

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01 Nov Administration’s Frightful Bargaining Position

While Halloween is over, frightening things still haunt us…

 

FACULTY BURIED BY WORKLOAD
How would you feel if your Dean told you next semester you had to teach an additional class without extra pay AND you were expected to keep up the same level of research and service? This happened last year in Applied Health Sciences. While faculty organized and used shared governance to push back, without enforceable contract language on how workloads are defined and updated, no one is protected from unilateral decisions to change faculty workloads.

FACULTY SALARIES FLATLINED
How would you feel if you were told full-time faculty at UIC are paid more than their peers? That is what was presented to the Board of Trustees in September. And just who are our peers? SUNY, Buffalo, U of Alabama at Birmingham, U of Cincinnati, U of Connecticut, U of Louisville, U of South Florida-Tampa, U of Utah, Virginia Commonwealth. However, compared to the other three Research 1 universities in Illinois, UIC tenure system salaries are well below Northwestern and U of Chicago. While comparable to UIUC, the cost of housing in Urbana-Champaign is 16% lower than Chicago.  A 2% salary increase – the amount offered by UI administration’s campus wage program for this academic year – barely covers inflation and clearly doesn’t help close the gap.

Source: AAUP 2018 Compensation Survey Excludes part-time faculty members, medical school faculty members, faculty who are primarily administrative officers, and graduate teaching assistants.

Source: AAUP 2018 Compensation Survey Excludes part-time faculty members, medical school faculty members, faculty who are primarily administrative officers, and graduate teaching assistants.

 

While we hope the Administration will prove us wrong, next week we expect them to offer a scarily insufficient raise proposal and the same status-quo zombie proposals we’ve already put to rest on issues like workload. This would be in keeping with what we’ve already seen in our own negotiations, as well as what our fellow UIC unions have experienced (7 months of non-movement for UIC GEO’s contract negotiations, unilateral rewrites by Admin on articles they’d already agreed to with INA).

UIC United Faculty and our fellow unions are not a gaggle of terrified teenagers in a Halloween horror movie. We will send ghastly contract proposals packing and fight for what our members and the UIC community deserve: Fair, Transparent and Accountable workplace policies, and raises that make good on years of salary stagnation. We hope you’ll stand with us in this effort!

*        *        *

Our next contract bargaining session is Monday, November 5th. Join us in respectfully observing the bargaining process from 2-5pm, at Student Center East, White Oak Room (on the 3rd floor). Even if you can’t be there, we are asking all our members to wear their UICUF T-shirts and pins that day to show solidarity and support for our bargaining team at the table. If you need a T-shirt, pin, or other UICUF materials, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

Until we win a fair contract, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

References in hyperlinks:
http://www.trustees.uillinois.edu/trustees/agenda/September-27-2018/r-sep-UIC-Performance-Metrics.pdf
https://www.insidehighered.com/aaup-compensation-survey
https://sites.google.com/a/bu.edu/zhuzhe/publications/3-tiers-of-us-research-universities-ranked-by-carnegie-classification-system
https://smartasset.com/mortgage/what-is-the-true-cost-of-living-in-chicago

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25 Oct Bargaining Update: Administration Intransigence Won’t Hold Us Back

This Tuesday, faculty members attended our bargaining session en mass to observe negotiations with U of I Administration. We encourage our members to join us in promoting transparency and participation in this process by attending future bargaining sessions!

This Tuesday, faculty members attended our bargaining session en mass to observe negotiations with U of I Administration. We encourage our members to join us in promoting transparency and participation in this process by attending future bargaining sessions!


Simply No

From the beginning, Administration negotiators have been solely interested in seeing our economic proposals, regarding raises, development funds, etc. Our strategy of bringing forward noneconomic items first has forced them to discuss issues that our faculty members resoundingly endorsed, but, it seems, hasn’t made them take those concerns seriously.

Instead, these discussions have revealed that the Administration has no intention of addressing any substantive issues. Despite it costing them little or nothing to, for example, commit to greater transparency in workload and discipline policies, Administration has consistently chosen to stonewall. They even eventually dropped the pretense of wanting to weigh these proposals on fundamental workplace rights against the cost of our salaries. The message is clear: they simply won’t give faculty anything they don’t have to, no matter how reasonable or justified.

Escalating Pressure
On Tuesday, we put Administration’s intransigence to the test one more time, now with an audience. We were disappointed to find that, even with a gallery of faculty from around the university watching, they couldn’t muster so much as a token gesture toward building a better contract. Unfortunately, our bargaining team is already all too familiar with this dismissive attitude toward faculty priorities.

Given the lackluster response at the bargaining table, and a questionable negotiating history in general, we increasingly suspect that there will be no serious negotiation without serious action on our part. Remember how UIUC Grads were forced to strike this year over something as fundamental as protecting fee waivers? Or how we ourselves were forced to strike in 2014 to get our first contract?

The Administration thus far is categorically unwilling to discuss proposals that cost them nothing. Even the UIC Provost has signaled skepticism over basic protections, like an accountable process to review academic freedom violations. They can’t even agree to extend non-discrimination rights to non-citizens. How can we expect any better behavior when real money is on the table?

Full Steam Ahead
At this point, in the name of moving forward, we have decided to proceed with our comprehensive proposal, including all economic articles. We do this not because we feel it will improve negotiating conditions, but because it is a necessary step as we plan to bring further pressure to bear.

The economic proposals we’ve introduced include, but are not limited to:

  • Raises to help us catch up and keep up after years of salary stagnation
  • Accessible PD funds that go the distance when applying to academic conferences
  • Expanded commitments to maintain facilities, policies, and staffing befitting of an R1 university

 
We will, of course, continue to push for robust improvements to workplace rights. As we’ve said before, UIC faculty deserve improvements to working conditions AND raises that make good on years of weak salary growth. We will not support an agreement that trades one for the other, and while we are a long way off from a potential work stoppage, UICUF has not ruled out any action which may be necessary to achieve these meaningful improvements to our contract.

Our next bargaining session is Monday, 11/5, 2-5pm (location TBD). Send a strong message to the Administration by wearing your union colors in solidarity, and attending the session if you are able. We anticipate that economic proposals will be under discussion at this meeting. Email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com to RSVP!

* * *

Until we win a fair contract, we will continue issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

In Solidarity,

UIC United Faculty Bargaining Team
Aaron Krall [Co-Chair], Senior Lecturer, English | Kevin Whyte [Co-Chair], Professor, Math, Statistics and Computer Science | Kheir Al-Kodmany, Professor, Urban Planning and Policy | Xochitl Bada, Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies | Joaquin Chavez, Associate Professor, History | Jim Drown, Senior Lecturer, English | Chris Kanich, Assistant Professor, Computer Science | Paul Pieper, Associate Professor, Economics | Paul Preissner, Associate Professor, Architecture | Laurie Quinn, Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Science | Jeffrey Sklansky, Associate Professor, History | Charitianne Williams, Senior Lecturer, English | Milos Zefran, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

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18 Oct Step Up

UICUF Banner

If you’re a faculty member at UIC, your union needs you! We are currently engaged in increasingly tough negotiations over our next contract, and the strength and involvement of our membership will be a decisive factor in achieving success in those negotiations.

To remind folks what’s at stake, U of I Administration has yet to agree to anything not already in our previous contract, despite 4 months of negotiation, 9 rounds of meetings, and the presentation of 16 proposals that would cost them little or nothing to implement. We have no reason to believe they’ll give proposals for long-awaited pay raises a more favorable reception.

Since the Administration has clearly signaled that they have no intention of engaging in constructive discussion, it seems that further action will be necessary to reach an agreement that addresses faculty concerns. Here are a few ways you can get involved in the coming weeks and months, to help us push for a contract that improves working and learning conditions at UIC AND keeps faculty financially secure in the face of rising inflation and local costs-of-living.

 

JOIN THE UNION
It’s an obvious one, but if you’re not a union member, joining the union is the first step toward helping us build power, and leverage toward a better contract. Every new member is a reminder to the Administration that our bargaining team represents a unified faculty. 2/3rds of all eligible faculty are already members, and joining is easy. Visit our membership page now to complete an application!

STAY INFORMED
Knowledge is power, and we try to keep our members as informed as possible about union activities. In addition to our regular updates here on the website, members receive weekly email updates, and you can get even more timely info about union activities by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

SHOW YOUR COLORS
Every bargaining day is an opportunity to show your solidarity by wearing your union colors. Let your colleagues, and U of I Administration, know that you support your bargaining team with a strong showing of your union blues. Members can request free t-shirts and pins if you don’t already have them, by emailing us at UICUnitedfaculty@gmail.com.

PRIORITIZE
We periodically issue surveys to learn more about our members’ priorities. A bargaining priority survey is live RIGHT NOW, and if you’re a member, you should take 3 minutes to complete it. If you did not receive a link to the survey via email, contact us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com for a new one.

SHOW UP
Attending events and actions is particularly important as a way of showing Administration that we can’t be railroaded in negotiations, or taken for granted. We currently have 3 major events on the calendar, and certainly more to come. RSVP to UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com if you can attend:

Tuesday, 10/23, 2-5pm: Bargaining session #10 @Student Center East, Rm 613
Monday, 11/5, 2-5pm: Bargaining Session #11 @TBD
Thursday, 11/15, 9-11am: Board of Trustees Meeting @Student Center West

VOLUNTEER
Running a union that’s responsive to members and effective in engaging university administration takes a lot of work, but many hands makes that work much easier! Serving on a committee, acting as a communicator for your department, or running for an elected position are all great ways to make our union more effective. If you want to learn more about volunteer opportunities, let us know at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

***

As contract negotiations unfold, we want to personally encourage you to be an active participant in our union, and the bargaining process. Everyone in our bargaining unit has a stake in these negotiations, and our strong membership is our greatest leverage at that table.

WeHeartUIC - Logo

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11 Oct Bargaining Update: A Turning Point

321 Action

Bargaining By The Numbers

Our Bargaining Team began preparing almost a year ago, and has been meeting with U of I Administration for about 4 months. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, but we have now reached a critical point in our negotiations. To get a sense of how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go, here’s a look at our contract negotiations by the numbers:

Meetings with Administration: 9
Hours at the Bargaining Table: 27
Articles with Tentative Agreement: 8 (the easy ones)
Active Proposals: 8 (the power issues)
What’s left: 5 (the money issues)

Degrees of Difficulty

Easy: These articles are “uncontroversial” (e.g., minor language tweaks, little/no substantive changes).

Power: These articles deal with making sure our working conditions are fair, transparent, and responsive to core academic principles, like shared governance and academic freedom.

Money: These articles deal directly with economics – salaries, development funds, computers, etc – to make sure our faculty get paid what they deserve and keep up with our region’s rising cost of living. It’s common and strategic to introduce these last, after non-economic gains are made.

Weighing the Odds

We’ve held economic articles back because we first wanted to get some agreement on non-economic matters – issues our members value and that cost the Administration very little or nothing at all.  

Making good on years of stagnant salaries is a critical issue, but we don’t agree with the Administration’s position that granting basic workplace rights must be weighed against those raises.

Given the fact that they have said NO already to most of our non-economic proposals, we do not feel confident the Administration will say YES to raising our salaries.

A Turning Point

Which brings us to the proposals currently on the table. Our members resoundingly indicated that they wanted our new contract to address the following issues:

Control over Workload Expectations
Expansion of Non-Discrimination Protections
Protection for Academic Freedom
Fair and Transparent Discipline Processes
Responsible Use of Student Evaluation Scores
Improved Campus Safety for Late Courses

So far, the response from Administration has been minimal. Their few substantive counter proposals indicate a step backwards for faculty rights, and no real spirit of legitimate give-and-take.

At our last session, the Administration told us they really have no interest in accepting anything that goes beyond our current contract. In other words, they don’t believe they need to acknowledge the concerns that faculty clearly have about current working conditions. They certainly don’t want to give faculty the power to insist on improvements to those conditions through an enforceable contract.

Rank and File

It’s now clear that if we want to be treated fairly at the table, we must prepare to take action. Our greatest leverage is our membership, and it is the time to remind the Administration that we don’t have to simply agree to take-it-or-leave-it terms.

We are calling on all of our members to do two things:

Join us at our next bargaining session, Tuesday, 10/23, 2-5pm at Student Center East, Room 613. Help us keep the Administration Team honest, by attending and respectfully observing the process with your union T-shirt or pin on. To get union gear and/or RSVP to the session, email us at uicunitedfaculty@gmail.com.

Tell us what matters to you. Watch for a short survey to review and prioritize the issues we are trying to address. This 5 minute survey will give our bargaining team valuable input on how to proceed.

Remember, solidarity matters, and it starts with you!

*        *        *

Until we win a fair contract, we will continue issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

WeHeartUIC - Logo

In Solidarity,

UIC United Faculty Bargaining Team

Aaron Krall [Co-Chair], Senior Lecturer, English | Kevin Whyte [Co-Chair], Professor, Math, Statistics and Computer Science | Kheir Al-Kodmany, Professor, Urban Planning and Policy | Xochitl Bada, Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies | Joaquin Chavez, Associate Professor, History | Jim Drown, Senior Lecturer, English | Chris Kanich, Assistant Professor, Computer Science | Paul Pieper, Associate Professor, Economics | Paul Preissner, Associate Professor, Architecture | Laurie Quinn, Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Science | Jeffrey Sklansky, Associate Professor, History | Charitianne Williams, Senior Lecturer, English | Milos Zefran, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

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04 Oct Get Informed, Get Involved

Frozen Salaries 2018

Setting the Record Straight on Campus Wage

If you’re a faculty member at UIC, you may have heard that the reason all faculty in our bargaining unit (union member or not) did not see a merit raise in their Notice of Appointment is because the union is negotiating our next contract.

I want to assure you that is not actually the case. This was the U of I administration’s choice, not UICUF’s. Labor law clearly allows for agreements on pay increases during contract negotiations, and the union would have been happy to consider such an interim agreement had one been presented.

I also want to assure you that UICUF will seek salary pools for merit as well as compression and equity in our new contract, and make sure raises are retroactive back to 8-16-18. However, we will not support any proposals that leave you with less earning potential than you had last year. To this end, we must point out that the 2% campus wage pool offered this year is downright insufficient when inflation is expected to be closer to 3%.

 

The Power of Participation

To ensure that U of I administration does the right thing, we are going to need to work together. Our Member Meeting Wednesday, October 10th, 3:30-5pm at Hull House, is a great opportunity to learn more about the negotiations, give input, and get involved. However, you must be a member to attend!

If you are not yet a member of the union, you can join by downloading an application, or you can complete one when you arrive at the Member Meeting. Members enjoy many benefits and privileges, including regular updates on the bargaining process as it unfolds and voting on the final contract.  

If you are already a member, the easiest way to support the union is to wear your UIC United Faculty T-shirts and pins on bargaining days, and come to observe the bargaining sessions as your schedule allows (next one is Tuesday, 10/9, 12-3pm @SCE, White Oak Room). Please let our organizer, Jeff Edwards, know about your plans to attend by emailing him at UICUFJeff@gmail.com. You can get union gear at the Member Meeting or by sending us a request at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. You are the union!

As contract negotiations unfold, I want to personally encourage you to be an active participant in our union, and the bargaining process. Everyone in our bargaining unit has a stake in these negotiations, and our strong membership is our greatest leverage at that table.

We look forward to seeing you at bargaining, and at the Member Meeting next Wednesday!

In Solidarity,
Janet Smith
President, UIC United Faculty

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Fall Events

Tuesday, 10/9: Bargaining session #9. Wear your t-shirts and buttons on campus!

Wednesday, 10/10: Member Meeting, 3:30-5pm Hull House Dining Hall. Contract presentation by the Bargaining Team.

Tuesday, 10/23: Bargaining session #10. Wear your t-shirts and buttons on campus!

Wednesday, 11/7: Rep Assembly meeting 11-12:30pm, UH 2028. All members invited.

Thursday, 11/15: Board of Trustees meeting in Chicago.

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28 Sep Bargaining Update: Solidarity Amid Halting Progress

At The Table This Week

Yesterday, UICUF’s Bargaining Team came to the table with the understanding that we’d laid the groundwork for more substantial discussion on non-economic issues. As a reminder, we have not brought forward any overtly economic proposals, in order to keep the focus on quality of life issues and shared values.

Unfortunately, the Labor Relations Bargaining Lead has chosen to double down on their prior insistence that they can’t discuss much without our economic proposals. The Administration Team had previously asked for a specific article, on Appointment and Promotion, as a path to move forward. As a show of good faith, our team agreed to present that article, but the Administration Team has returned with little other than status quo rejections of our proposals since then, and another demand for our economic proposals before they will proceed.  

We fundamentally disagree that it is necessary to weigh, for example, non-discrimination or transparent discipline processes, against pay raises before decisions can be made. Our members deserve both improved working conditions AND a meaningful raise in the next contract, and we don’t intend to accept false equivalencies that would seek to pit one against the other.

That being said, we are having positive discussion around some issues, and may be nearing agreement on one additional article. There are certainly still opportunities to move forward with what is already on the table, should the Administration Team choose to do so.

Solidarity Beyond the Bargaining Table

Meanwhile, we want to remind everyone that the strength of our union is defined not just by the skill of our negotiating team, but by the commitment of our membership. This week, we’ve initiated a number of activities to strengthen our union, and encourage you to remember the importance of day-to-day solidarity.

This Tuesday, we had our first Representative training of the semester, giving our elected Reps the tools they need to serve as a resource for members in their departments. Training included modules on communications, department relations, and perhaps most critically, resolving member issues, up to and including formal grievances. Another training will be offered next Tuesday, 10-2pm, and we invite all members to learn how the union works, even if you are not a current Representative.

Bargaining Team members and other volunteers also set up a table in University Hall on Wednesday. We handed out dozens of T-shirts and pins to our members, and encourage everyone to wear your union gear on bargaining days to support our efforts at the negotiating table. Solidarity matters, and it starts with you!

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Our next contract bargaining session is October 9th.
We are asking all our members to wear their UICUF T-shirts and pins that day to show solidarity and support for our bargaining team at the table. If you are a member and need a T-shirt, pin, or other UICUF materials, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

Until we win a fair contract, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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In Solidarity,

UIC United Faculty Bargaining Team

Aaron Krall [Co-Chair], Senior Lecturer, English | Kevin Whyte [Co-Chair], Professor, Math, Statistics and Computer Science | Kheir Al-Kodmany, Professor, Urban Planning and Policy | Xochitl Bada, Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies | Joaquin Chavez, Associate Professor, History | Jim Drown, Senior Lecturer, English | Chris Kanich, Assistant Professor, Computer Science | Paul Pieper, Associate Professor, Economics | Paul Preissner, Associate Professor, Architecture | Laurie Quinn, Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Science | Jeffrey Sklansky, Associate Professor, History | Charitianne Williams, Senior Lecturer, English | Milos Zefran, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

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20 Sep Elections Edition: Take Action, Get Registered, Vote!

Protest Austerity 2016small

When Educators Act, Communities Win

For a long time now, public education, and the workers who serve the public as teachers, faculty, counselors, etc. have been under political siege. We have been subject to stalled or slashed budgets, cuts to programs, personnel, and basic classroom resources, and have steadily been in the crosshairs of privatization advocates who want to run schools as (profitable) businesses. Yet it has become an all too mainstream narrative that it’s the educators serving our students who are selfish, lazy, and getting rich by draining the public coffers.

In many states, however, where the worst effects of this corrosive narrative have been felt, educators are fighting back, not just in their schools and universities, but at the ballot box, and in the halls of power. As UICUF union member Elizabeth Todd-Breland wrote in the Washington Post recently, “educators are protesting not just for better pay, but also for increased funding for public education to benefit students and communities.”

The recent wave of teacher uprisings have won substantial gains for public education as a whole, using many time-honored tools from the community organizing playbook, including public advocacy, work stoppages, and electoral activism. We’ve also seen an unprecedented wave of educators signing up as political candidates across the country. Educators and communities are fed up, and increasingly fighting to shift the political momentum toward supporting public education instead of degrading and defunding it. We need you to join us in that fight!

 

We Need 90%

Given the significant impact that politics can have on public education, we want to remind everyone that national elections are right around the corner, and voter registration deadlines are coming even sooner.

Union member, Professor of Political Science, and former public servant, Dick Simpson, strongly urges his colleagues to participate in the election process. “The 2018 election is too important to sit out. We need 90% registration and 90% of us UICUF voting. To make it easy, your can register to vote electronically in Illinois and we have an early voting site on campus for three days before Election Day November 6.”

There are also a number of opportunities to register in person on campus. Next week, the Civic Engagement Committee of  UIC will be hosting National Voter Registration Day events in the quad. You can show up any time from 11-1pm, Tuesday, Sept. 25th. Come make sure you’re registered and ready to vote, in what promises to be a pivotal election for higher education issues in the state of Illinois, and the nation. If you haven’t gotten around to registering, or updating your registration with your current address, now is the time!   

 

Your Committee On Political Education

We also want to remind all of our members that UIC United Faculty has started an independent political fund to support candidates that support public higher education. Union dues never go toward funding political campaigns, but we clearly have a critical interest in supporting candidates who value public education.

Even small contributions help, and faculty members working to educate the public on political issues goes a long way toward promoting a vision of higher education of which we can all be proud. If you want to become a contributor to our newly formed Committee On Political Education (COPE) fund, or want to get involved with the committee’s work, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

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Our next contract bargaining session is September 27th. We are asking all our members to wear their UICUF T-shirts and pins that day to show solidarity and support for our bargaining team at the table. If you are a member and need a T-shirt, pin, or other UICUF materials, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

 

Until we win a fair contract, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!

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