29 May UIC Admin Has a Responsibility to Bargain
Many faculty received notices today deferring a decision on their reappointment to July 15th. This notice is contractually required only if your academic unit is unable or unwilling to make a renewal decision by June 1st, and nothing in the union contract prevents units from reappointing faculty before this deadline. Deferral of a decision does not imply non-renewal. Please let us know if you received a deferral letter today so we can have a better understanding of what’s happening in various units.
It remains UIC United Faculty’s position to advocate through impact bargaining for immediate renewal of all full-time faculty appointments.
- Demand Action on Bargaining: Please click here to send an email demanding that UIC Admin return to the bargaining table with all of its campus unions for meaningful and productive negotiations
- Failure to Bargain in Good Faith: The UIC Administration has a legal responsibility to bargain impacts of COVID-19, but has consistently chosen to act without union input, and to treat bargaining as an informal advisory rather than a serious legal obligation.
- Unfair Labor Practice Filed: UICUF will be filing Unfair Labor Practices regarding admin’s failure to bargaining in good faith over changes sweeping the university due to COVID-19.
A Legal Obligation to Bargain
UIC’s administration has a legal obligation to bargain over changes to working conditions (yes, we’ll say it again!). This principle holds true even when changes come as a result of events beyond either party’s control. The process is called impact bargaining, and it is not optional.
UICUF called for impact bargaining back in March, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in earnest. Unfortunately, from the start, top administrators did not even acknowledge our meetings as formal bargaining, choosing instead to waste time while they continued doing whatever they wanted. And while we can draw clear lines from our proposals to actions later taken by the administration, like extending professional development fund deadlines, university officials refused to formalize even these agreements. Ultimately, the administration outright told us they had no intention of discussing further “contract enhancements.” This is not how healthy negotiations work.
Unfair Labor Practices
By failing to respect a formal bargaining process, enacting changes to working conditions without formal agreements, and refusing to discuss further impacts to our contract, the UIC administration has been committing unfair labor practices. We have therefore decided that, in order to best protect the rights of our members, we must file an official notice of violations with the Illinois Board of Labor. We hope this action highlights the gravity of the administration’s choice to pursue a strategy of obstruction and unilateralism rather than bargain in good faith with its faculty.
A Fresh Push for Negotiations
Despite taking this action to call out unproductive practices by our counterparts, we still sincerely believe that we can work together with the administration during this unprecedented crisis. Faculty bring both substantial expertise and rich perspectives to the table as we consider the future of working and learning at UIC. Everyone–including the administration–will benefit from our sustained participation in all formal dialogues relating to the university’s future, but our administration cannot acknowledge us only when it is convenient.
We are therefore reconstituting our remarkable bargaining team, once again drawing on faculty from every college in our bargaining unit, to restart the impact bargaining process. We are also calling on all faculty members to click here to send an email demanding that the administration return to productive bargaining immediately. If needed, the committee will also advise on further escalating pressure on our administration counterparts to bargain fairly. We will keep faculty informed as this process continues. Of course, if you have questions or want to highlight particular issues, email us here at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.
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