28 Jan UICUF Leadership & Sick Leave Legislation
- Leadership Transition: Last week, UICUF suffered the painful loss of our President, Janet Smith. Per our constitution, Executive Vice President Aaron Krall is stepping into the union’s top role, pending new leadership elections in April.
- Union Elections this Spring: In addition to the anticipated start of contract bargaining, we will be holding union leadership elections this April. All members will receive a mailing in the next couple of weeks indicating key dates for nominations and voting.
- Sick Leave Legislation: With support from our state affiliate, IFT, legislation covering leave time for public employees taking off for COVID related illness or care of dependents in isolation/quarantine, is now expected to become law. IFT’s FAQ on the bill can be found here.
- Questions About Back-to-Campus: We continue to encourage our members to contact us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com if you have any questions about returning to campus, including those regarding flexible work accommodations, contact tracing, and th like.
As we begin the process of moving forward after the loss of our President, Janet Smith, we want to thank everyone who joined us for the memorial service last Sunday, and who sent us photos or shared stories from her life. You can watch a recording of the memorial service here. We are of course continuing the work of representing UIC faculty with a view toward our upcoming contract negotiations and helping our members navigate the immediate questions and concerns of returning to campus.
Per our constitution, our Executive Vice President, Aaron Krall, will be taking on the duties of the President, pending new leadership elections this April. Aaron is a Senior Lecturer of English, and also a Co-Chair of our Bargaining Committee. He has been a union member since UICUF’s formation and is one of our veteran contract negotiators.
We will be holding a full round of union leadership elections this April, including all Executive Board Position and College Representatives. You can find a list of current Executive Board members and College on our website. All union members will receive a notice of elections, nomination process, and key dates by mail within the next few weeks. We will reach out if we do not appear to have an accurate address on file.
Sick Leave Legislation
Our state affiliate, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, has advised us that the legislature is expected to pass a bill covering leave for public employees either sick with COVID or caring for a dependent in quarantine/isolation. An FAQ on the bill can be found here, via our website. In brief, all public education employees in Illinois will be eligible for leave time for the stated purposes without having to use personal or sick leave days. Those who have used leave days to cover these situations in the 2021-2022 academic year will have those days returned to them.
UIC has offered some version of paid leave for COVID illness throughout the pandemic. This bill, however, may cover some gaps, especially if you were forced to take leave to care for a dependent in isolation or quarantine. We will announce when the bill has been signed into law. As always, please send any questions about this to us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.
For the many faculty who returned to full in-person teaching this week, we hope the transition is going smoothly. We are, though, aware that there may still be lingering questions or concerns. We have heard from members regarding flexible work accommodations, contact tracing, and temporary shifts to remote if COVID cases make classes unmanageable. Please remember that all units should, by now, have written policies on the latter issue. Per instructions from the Provost’s office, department heads should have worked out these policies with their elected advisory bodies, based on the principle that faculty members themselves are most qualified to make decisions about how to best conduct their classes. We encourage all members to continue contacting us if you have new or ongoing questions about how to navigate this challenging moment.
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!