Bargaining Update: A Turning Point

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

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