31 Mar Bridge-to-Faculty Scholars Seek Inclusion, Farewell to Tony Floriani
- Bridge-to Faculty Scholars: Bridge-to-Faculty Scholars and UICUF supporters testified before the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board on March 24 to win union recognition and inclusion in our non-tenure track bargaining unit.
- Tony Floriani: UICUF staff organizer Tony Floriani is moving to a position with the Illinois Federation of Teachers after working for UICUF for five years.
- Hold the Date: Rally at University Hall at noon, April 29, to honor Janet Smith, cheer on our Bargaining Committee as they begin bargaining our next contract, and recognize end-of-year UICUF awardees who have made extraordinary contributions to our union this year.
Our Bargaining Committee worked through Spring Break and will be intensifying its work finalizng contract proposals in advance of an initial bargaining session with university administrators. We are in the process of setting a date in the last half of April and will be able to announce that soon. Our current contract expires in August. In the meantime, we have two pieces of news we want to share with you.
Bridge to Faculty
With support from more than 75% of the 29 Bridge to Faculty (B2F) scholars, UICUF filed a petition to allow B2F faculty to join our union on February 23. Our petition went to a hearing before the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board on March 24. UICUF witnesses–including B2F scholars, NTT faculty, and tenured faculty who mentor B2Fs–did an excellent job establishing that B2F scholars’ working conditions and qualifications are on par with various NTT and TT faculty throughout the university.
Because of labor board rules that expedite the timeline for resolving majority interest petitions, we expect a decision in mid- to late June. All of the scholars in the first B2F cohort have been offered positions as Assistant Professors to start in Fall 2022. The scholars in both cohorts are an impressive group, and we are excited to officially welcome them into our union family one way or another.
Farewell to Tony Floriani
Sadly, we must say goodbye to our stalwart comrade and super-dedicated staff organizer, Tony Floriani. Tony will be moving on to a terrific opportunity as a field service director with the Illinois Federation of Teachers.
Tony started working with UICUF nearly five years ago in September, 2017. He came to us as a seasoned organizer and consistently brought abundant energy, steadfast commitment, and a challenging vision to our collective endeavors.
Tony began his journey as a union staffer in 2012, fresh off the energy of the Occupy protests. His first labor job was as an organizer in central Texas, working with PK-12 teachers in non-union districts. In 2015, he moved to Florida to work with higher education locals including University of South Florida and St. Petersburg College. During his two years in Florida, he was sent on a campaign to organize grad workers at University of Chicago, where he met his wife, Veronica—a scholar and labor organizer herself. Within six months, Tony moved to Chicago and joined the staff of our union.
Tony has done a wide array of work for UICUF. Most prominently, he has written our weekly communications to the membership. Much of his work, however, was behind-the-scenes, as he responded quickly to a multitude of queries from members, sought to ensure that our membership lists were as up-to-date as possible, and provided extremely valuable quantitative analysis for grievances. (Those are just several examples among many!)
Therese Quinn, our Vice-President for Tenure-Track Faculty, notes how much she will miss Tony. She especially values how Tony “brought together deep knowledge and organization and helped UICUF set up important systems. For example, Tony’s weekly updates on union matters have been indispensable reading for me, and there’s no going back! Now that we are used to regular and informative communications, the union will be able to build on Tony’s framework to continue that vital connection with our membership.”
Acting President Aaron Krall adds: “among Tony’s many contributions to our union, I have always valued his ability to critically read situations. Whether it’s staking out a contrary position in a committee meeting, interpreting cryptic administrative statements, or encouraging us to push harder at the bargaining table, his experienced perspective has consistently helped me see the larger picture. I’m glad he’ll still be on our team at the IFT.”
Tony himself has made it clear to us that leaving UICUF was a difficult decision, and that he will indeed still very much be on our team. He leaves us with these inspiring words: “I’m proud of my ten years of service in the union movement, but I have particularly been impressed with UIC United Faculty for embodying so many of the best aspects of unionism. As a relatively new union, there will be a variety of opportunities to shape both your institution, UIC, and your own organization, UICUF, in profound ways. While there will be challenges ahead as well, I’m confident you’ll meet and overcome them with the dynamism I’ve come to expect of this organization and its leaders.”
Tony promises to stay in touch. Please feel free to send along your goodbyes, good wishes, and statements of solidarity at firstname.lastname@example.org
April 29 Rally at University Hall
Please mark your calendar to join your union colleagues on the last day of classes, Friday, April 29, at noon, outside University Hall. We will honor Janet Smith, cheer on our bargaining team, and present the annual John Shuler Shared Governance and Academic Freedom Award and the inaugural Janet Smith Organizing Award. Details on these awards, and on how to nominate people for them, is forthcoming.
UIC United Faculty Leadership