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23 Sep Contract Bargaining: Present and Future

  • On Monday, the UICUF bargaining team returned all articles in our court to the management team; Management returned three, mostly just crossing out all of our proposals. 
  • Management is still sitting on our key economic proposals with no response for six weeks.
  • All members are encouraged to attend the next bargaining session, Thursday, September 29, 12:30-2:30, Student Center West 206 and on zoom.

***

Bargaining Update

Our proposals on articles dealing with compensation, appointment, and reappointment are still sitting unanswered by the management team, even though they received our compensation proposal six weeks ago, and our appointment and reappointment proposal three months ago. On Tuesday our team presented counter proposals on all articles that had been in our court. It is up to management to move the negotiation process forward.

We did receive three counter proposals from the management team. While we are finding some common ground on physical conditions, they reject clarification of shared governance rights and intellectual property rights as well as inclusion of guarantees of mental health services to students, staff, and faculty. 

They insist that the administration is already doing what it can regarding mental health, and insist that the issue of student and staff well-being doesn’t belong in a faculty labor contract. Our position is that the mental health of students and staff is part of faculty working conditions: when students’ mental health needs are not met by the counseling center, the work falls upon faculty in a variety of ways. We believe that UIC students are entitled to all the services currently available to students at UIUC, which is not currently the case. In particular, we are demanding that, like at UIUC, UIC students have access to free learning disability assessment upon demand.

The administration is questioning the need to increase enforcement mechanisms guaranteeing equitable access to shared governance across colleges and units and denying increased support via the contract for member mentorship for career advancement (we were told that is another issue management is currently working on). They prefer to invest in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity and pay $4,650 dollars per faculty member for a faculty success program instead of investing up to $500 to reimburse their own faculty who are willing to serve as mentors to junior and associate faculty.

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Next Week and Beyond: Attend and Testify

The next bargaining session will be Thursday, September 29, from 12:30-2:30, at Student Center West 206, viewable on zoom. We encourage all members to come to this session to see for yourself how this process is playing out, and to show support for our bargaining committee. All members are welcome to participate in caucus discussion during and after the session. If you cannot attend next week, please check our union calendar for future dates, and commit to coming to at least one session in the next month.

We are also looking for people interested in testifying during bargaining about issues of concern to you. In particular for upcoming sessions, we are looking for people to speak about the failures or inconsistencies of shared governance in their units or colleges, lack of mental health services, or mentoring (as a mentor or mentee). If you would like to explore this possibility, please reach out to us at uicunitedfaculty@gmail.com. Any member can send testimonies to the bargaining committee to be shared at the bargaining table. Members who volunteer their testimony can always remain anonymous upon request.

In Solidarity,

The UIC UF Bargaining team

Xochitl Bada (Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies) | Aaron Krall (Senior Lecturer, English) | Andy Baker (Clinical Assistant Professor, Music) | Anna Kornbluh (Professor, English) | Becky Bonarek (Lecturer, Tutorium in Intensive English) | Charitianne Williams (Senior Lecturer, English) | Gosia Fidelis (Associate Professor, History)  | Ian Collins (Clinical Assistant Professor, Daley Library) | Jim Drown (Senior Lecturer, English) | Jeff Gore (Senior Lecturer, English)  | Jennifer Rupert (Senior Lecturer, English, Gender and Women’s Studies) | Kate Floros (Clinical Associate Professor, Political Science) | Kate Lowe (Associate Professor, Urban Planning and Policy) | Kevin O’Brien (Clinical Associate Professor, Library of the Health Sciences) | Kevin Whyte (Professor, Math, Statistics, and Computer Science) | Laurie Quinn (Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Nursing Science) | Nicole Nguyen (Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies) | Paul Preissner (Professor, Architecture)

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12 Sep You’re Invited: Member Meeting Thursday

  • Join the UICUF fall general member meeting this Thursday! 3-4:30pm at Hull House (800 S. Halsted). 
  • Bargaining continued this morning. Management has no plans to present an economic counter proposal in the near future. 
  • Next session: Tuesday, September 20, 12:30-2:30. In person in SCE & on zoom.

***

Bargaining Update

In our eleventh bargaining session this morning, the management team finally brought a counter on Article XII, Hours of Work and Commitment. Their counter shows some progress, but we still have a long way to go on the key issue of protecting faculty against workload creep. Management has made no commitments on when they will bring their initial counters on the articles that deal with compensation, reappointment and promotion, discipline and dismissal, or institution commitments to faculty. They explicitly said that they do not intend to present any counter proposal on the economic articles until we’ve made enough progress for them on the non-economic issues. How much progress is enough? They didn’t say, but we won’t see any raises until the contract is settled, and it is clear that management is stalling.

The next bargaining session will be Tuesday, September 20 from 12:30-2:30. We are encouraging all members to come to this session to show management that you’re watching. The management team will not move until we can apply pressure beyond bargaining. Join us in person in the White Oak Room in Student Center East or on zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86484958145?pwd=QlJVSUdkWDhQeEF6UkZ6SjhwbzJNQT09

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Member Meeting This Thursday

In the meantime, we want to see all of you at the fall membership meeting this Thursday, Sept 15 from 3 to 4:30pm at Hull House (800 S. Halsted). We will discuss bargaining with union leadership and receive a report from Eastern Michigan Accounting Professor Howard Bunsis on his financial analysis of UIC. Food and drinks will be available outside after the meeting. It is crucially important for union members to come to this meeting to learn more about how to support the bargaining team and what we expect for the semester to come. Those unable to attend in person may request a zoom link by writing to UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

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08 Sep Management is Stalling

UICUF members, bargaining committee leadership, and staff deliver our Intent to Bargain on March 16th, 2022 after our spring membership meeting.
  • UIC management fails to offer counters on 6 key articles, all in their possession for a month or longer
  • Next bargaining session is in-person, Monday, September 12, 10:00-1:00 on West Campus, Student Center West, Room 206AB. All members are encouraged to attend.
  • Fall Membership Meeting Thursday, September 15 @ 3pm at Hull House!

***

Bargaining update

Five months in, and with faculty raises pending until the contract is settled, they need to stop stalling and bring serious counter-proposals, and real decision-makers, to the table. 

After declining to schedule a negotiation session last week, citing the need to work on counter proposals with their new labor relations lawyer, the management team brought only one counterproposal to Tuesday’s meeting–and this counter on Governance was a simple reversion to their previous language. In short, management asked for an extension, but brought no work to show for the extra time. They have not presented any counters on six crucial articles: 

  • Article IV. Compensation, Leaves and, Group Health
  • Article VII. Institutional Commitments
  • Article IX. Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion, Layoff, and Recall
  • Article XII. Hours of Work and Commitment
  • Article XV. Discipline and Dismissal
  • Article XXIV. Teaching Professor Ranks and Conversion. 

On a number of other articles, they continue to pass counters that reject almost everything we offer with little or inconsistent explanation and no alternative language. 

On Tuesday our team delivered counterproposals on Article VIII. Union Membership and Activity; Article XIII. Health and Safety; Article XIV. Physical Conditions; and Article XVIII. Grievance and Arbitration. After 45 minutes of caucus time, management came back with counters on VIII & XVIII–suggesting to us that, in fact, they have the potential to produce counterproposals when they put in the effort; they just don’t seem to be doing so between meetings.

When asked when the bargaining team could expect counters on compensation, management had no response but suggested that they would offer proposals on Article IX. Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion, Layoff and Recall and Article XII. Hours of Work and Commitment next week at our in-person bargaining session on Monday, Sept 12 from 10am-1pm at Student Center West, Room 206AB. We strongly encourage members to join us to see the bargaining process for yourself and offer advice during caucus discussion! 

Join us in SCW or listen in on Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85667197005?pwd=eHBBNUtrcnBDdjRGczFVUmxqdjJpdz09 

Bargaining Timeline and Retroactive Compensation

The administration has not offered us the U of I 3.5% campus wage raise, arguing upcoming contract negotiations supposedly prevent them from doing so (nothing in the university rules nor labor laws prevent this). At the same time, we have negotiated since April and have yet to receive a counter on our Compensation proposal. We feel a great sense of urgency around negotiations because we know that the sooner we settle the contract, the sooner we all will get our raises for this academic year, retroactive to August. At this point, 175 days have passed since we delivered our notice of intent to bargain and we have spent 22 hours at the bargaining table, but faculty have now been working without a contract for almost a month. The UICUF bargaining team signaled our interest in settling this contract before the previous one expired, and management consistently agreed.  Unfortunately, that deadline passed before the labor relations lawyer was even on board. In addition to stalling, management also isn’t bringing the real decision makers – the Chancellor, Provost, VC of Health Affairs, and VC of Faculty Affairs – to the table.  It’s time for management to get serious about bargaining. 

Member Meetings

We hope that you learned a lot about our platform and concrete proposals during the listening tours offered by the bargaining committee at various colleges in the past week. Two final meetings are still to come:

  • Friday, 9/9@10:30 AM in 1550 UH for the Humanities, Social Science, the Tutorium and Graduate College 
  • Friday 9/9@noon EMTWS Room 2233 for CADA and the Colleges of Education and Social Work. 

If you missed your college meeting, please be sure to join us at the all-member meeting on Thursday, September 15 at 3pm at Hull-House! Reach out to union staff at uicunitedfaculty@gmail.com for a remote option. We will have more discussion of the bargaining process, with a focus on our economic proposals. 

In Solidarity,

The UIC UF Bargaining team

Xochitl Bada (Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies) | Aaron Krall (Senior Lecturer, English) | Andy Baker (Clinical Assistant Professor, Music) | Anna Kornbluh (Professor, English) | Becky Bonarek (Lecturer, Tutorium in Intensive English) | Charitianne Williams (Senior Lecturer, English) | Gosia Fidelis (Associate Professor, History)  | Ian Collins (Clinical Assistant Professor, Daley Library) | Jim Drown (Senior Lecturer, English) | Jeff Gore (Senior Lecturer, English)  | Jennifer Rupert (Senior Lecturer, English, Gender and Women’s Studies) | Kate Floros (Clinical Associate Professor, Political Science) | Kate Lowe (Associate Professor, Urban Planning and Policy) | Kevin O’Brien (Clinical Associate Professor, Library of the Health Sciences) | Kevin Whyte (Professor, Math, Statistics, and Computer Science) | Laurie Quinn (Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Nursing Science) | Nicole Nguyen (Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies) | Paul Preissner (Professor, Architecture)

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26 Aug Join your Bargaining Committee for Contract Update Meetings & at the Table

Bargaining co-chair Xóchitl Bada on the picket line on Tuesday
  • College-level meetings during the next 2 weeks: see below for when and where your college will meet.
  • Observe bargaining: see for yourself what’s happening at the table. Next session is Tuesday, September 6 at 12:30pm at White Oak Rm SCE. Please don´t forget to bring a mask.
  • General Member Meeting: Thursday, September 15, 3-4:30pm at Hull House.
  • Let us know if you’re having issues with COVID accommodations

***

Dear UICUF members, 
Welcome back to the fall semester! We hope you had a chance to join or at least stop by our informational pickets on Monday and Tuesday. You can see pictures on our new Instagram account, @uicfacultyunion

Bargaining Update
On Monday, August 22nd, we met with the administration for our ninth bargaining session and continued working toward agreement on several articles. However, we are still waiting for the administration’s counter proposals on key articles including compensation, workload, reappointment & promotion, and discipline & dismissal. 

Meet the Bargaining Team!
When all union members are engaged in the bargaining process, we will achieve a better result. To ensure that, we’re holding a series of meetings for members in different colleges to talk with members of the bargaining committee and share thoughts. All meetings will be hybrid. Please join us!

Natural Sciences, Business, & Engineering 
Tues, Aug 30 at 1pm 
ERF 1043, zoom: bit.ly/LAS-COE-CBA 

Library & CUPPA 
Wed, Aug 31 at 3pm 
Lib 0101, zoom: bit.ly/Lib-CUPPA 

Public Health, Applied Health, & Nursing 
Wed, Sep 7 at 10am 
SCW 206AB, zoom: bit.ly/AHS-CON-SPH 

Humanities, Social Sciences, Tutorium, & Grad College
Fri, Sep 9 at 10:30am 
UH 1550, zoom: bit.ly/LAS-TIE-GC 

Education, CADA, & Social Work
Fri, Sep 9 at 12pm 
EMTSW 2233, zoom: bit.ly/ETMSW


General Member Meeting
Please also save the date for our general member meeting on Thursday, September 15 from 3-4:30pm, at Hull House Dining Hall, 800 S Halsted. We strongly encourage in person attendance, but will have a remote option available. If you need to join remotely, please reach out to us at uicunitedfaculty@gmail.com.  

Join Us at Bargaining
The best way to learn about bargaining is to attend a session yourself! Our next session will be on Tuesday, September 6 from 12:30-2:30pm. The session will be on zoom, but the union bargaining team will be gathering in SCE White Oak Room. Members are welcome to join either remotely or in person. We ask that all in person observers stay masked while in the room. We will have plenty of chairs for any member who wants to join and observe.

We are working hard to get weekly bargaining sessions on the books. At this point, we are all working without a contract, and we feel it is imperative to settle a contract as quickly as possible. 

Health-Related Accommodations
As we come back to the semester, we have heard from some faculty that they’ve had difficulty getting health-related accommodations to teach remotely. If you are in this situation, please contact union staff at uicunitedfaculty@gmail.com.

In Solidarity,

The UIC UF Bargaining team

Xóchitl Bada (Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies) | Aaron Krall (Senior Lecturer, English) | Andy Baker (Clinical Assistant Professor, Music) | Anna Kornbluh (Professor, English) | Becky Bonarek (Lecturer, Tutorium in Intensive English) | Charitianne Williams (Senior Lecturer, English) | Gosia Fidelis (Associate Professor, History)  | Ian Collins (Clinical Assistant Professor, Daley Library) | Jim Drown (Senior Lecturer, English) | Jeff Gore (Senior Lecturer, English)  | Jennifer Rupert (Senior Lecturer, English, Gender and Women’s Studies) | Kate Floros (Clinical Associate Professor, Political Science) | Kate Lowe (Associate Professor, Urban Planning and Policy) | Kevin O’Brien (Clinical Associate Professor, Library of the Health Sciences) | Kevin Whyte (Professor, Math, Statistics, and Computer Science) | Laurie Quinn (Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Nursing Science) | Nicole Nguyen (Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies) | Paul Preissner (Professor, Architecture)

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15 Aug UICUF Bargaining team offers final contract proposals during negotiation

Our next session is Mon, 8/22 at 10am at SCE, Oak Room. We hope to see you there!
Please join us for informational picketing on the first two days of classes!
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive the latest contract news!

On Monday, August 8, the UICUF bargaining team held its 8th negotiation session with the UIC administration team. At this meeting, the UICUF team passed our final contract proposals, Article VI. Compensation, Leaves and Group Health & Article XXIV. Teaching Professor and Conversion to Tenure System Faculty (a new article in the NTT contract only). With these final articles, we have now presented the administration with a comprehensive set of proposals.

On Monday, August 22 from 10am to 1pm, we will meet with the administration’s bargaining team again to continue passing counter proposals and hear their responses on compensation, workload, reappointment, and a number of other articles that are in their court. Bargaining will take place in the White Oak Room in Student Center East, and all UICUF members are welcome to observe negotiations and participate in caucus discussions. 

To show support for the bargaining committee, re-engage members as they return to campus, and make it clear to the administration that we are serious about settling these contracts, UICUF will be holding informational pickets August 22 from 9-11am outside of Student Center East and August 23 from 11am-1pm outside of UH. You can sign up to join one or more picketing shifts here

This summer, most of our proposals have been countered by rejection–the admin team has simply crossed out our proposed language. But it is fully within the administration’s power, now that they have both our comprehensive proposal and the labor relations representative at the table, to offer a complete contract proposal at our next bargaining session on the 22nd, or shortly thereafter. 

Based on previous experience, this is unlikely to occur–the U of I System has a history of pushing unions to a strike vote or a full-blown strike before engaging in significant negotiation and counter-proposing. But informative discussion has occurred this summer, and we feel that the bargaining team has done an excellent job of making our positions and the rationale for them clear. At this point in the process, a counter-proposal from the administration team that sincerely engages with our proposals and responds meaningfully to expressed faculty needs is a quite reasonable expectation. 

During the fall semester, bargaining sessions will be held weekly. We have asked that sessions be held on-campus and in-person, and we invite members to join us and observe. We will share information about when and where sessions will take place as they’re set up and will continue to update members through email. We also invite you to follow UICUF on Facebook and Twitter to stay abreast of the most recent developments, actions, and faculty testimonials between bargaining sessions.
In Solidarity,
The UIC UF Bargaining team

Xochitl Bada (Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies) | Aaron Krall (Senior Lecturer, English) | Andy Baker (Clinical Assistant Professor, Music) | Anna Kornbluh (Professor, English) | Becky Bonarek (Lecturer, Tutorium in Intensive English) | Charitianne Williams (Senior Lecturer, English) | Gosia Fidelis (Associate Professor, History)  | Ian Collins (Clinical Assistant Professor, Daley Library) | Jim Drown (Senior Lecturer, English) | Jeff Gore (Senior Lecturer, English)  | Jennifer Rupert (Senior Lecturer, English, Gender and Women’s Studies) | Kate Floros (Clinical Assistant Professor, Political Science) | Kate Lowe (Associate Professor, Urban Planning and Policy) | Kevin O’Brien (Clinical Associate Professor, Library of the Health Sciences) | Kevin Whyte (Professor, Math, Statistics, and Computer Science) | Laurie Quinn (Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Nursing Science) | Nicole Nguyen (Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies) | Paul Preissner (Professor, Architecture)
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28 Jul Bargaining Update: Comprehensive Counter-Proposal Expected Soon

  • UICUF Bargaining team met with UIC admin for 7th session: Discussion at the table focused on personnel files, the Office for Access and Equity, and fine-tuning the process for responding to student academic grievances.
  • Get to know your contract: Article VII. Institutional Commitments outlines the resources UIC must provide faculty for work-related duties and activities.

Bargaining Update

On Monday (7.25), we met with the UIC Administration team for our 7th bargaining session since June. UICUF passed along our proposals on Article II. Recognition, Article VII. Institutional Commitments, Article VIII. Union Membership and Activity, Article XIII. Health and Safety, and Article XXIII. Duration. This means administration now has all UICUF contract proposals with the exception of Article VI. Compensation, Leave, and Benefits. Past experience at the table has taught the bargaining team that once economic issues are introduced, conversation on all other workplace concerns is muted. We chose to introduce our economic proposals last to force negotiation and discussion on the other important workplace issues that have emerged in the years since our 2018 contract was ratified. As stated in our bargaining platform, our new proposals focus on three main priorities: 

  • Investing in Support & Security for Faculty
  • Prioritizing Accountability & Care in the Workplace
  • Amplifying Faculty Voice in Shared Governance

Our next bargaining session is August 8, 10am-1:30pm via Zoom. At this meeting, we will be introducing our economic proposals for the next contract, and setting the schedule for bargaining in the fall. UICUF has proposed that sessions be held in-person, on campus, and on a weekly basis until the contract is settled. After the 8th, the administrative team will have the full proposed contract, with almost 20 hours of discussion over the content. We hope to see a comprehensive response to our proposals soon. 

Members are encouraged to come and observe the August 8 session, and discuss negotiations with the team during caucus! Please contact the UICUF staff at UICUnitedfaculty@gmail.com if you have any questions, or simply join the session here.

Get to know your contract

Article VII. Institutional Commitments 
A. A well supported working environment promotes effective and sustainable teaching, learning,  service, and research. Therefore, within the limits of available resources and within the  University’s discretion, the University acknowledges its commitment to provide libraries,  technology, classroom assignments, and faculty support responsive to the needs of students and  faculty to meet the research mission and instructional/pedagogical needs of the departments,  consistent with high quality research and teaching at a nationally recognized research university. 

B. When faculty are required to travel on approved University business, the University will reimburse  for such travel. The University’s Business and Financial Policies and Procedures provide complete  guidelines for these reimbursements. Travel for University related business should be conducted as  economically as possible. 

C. Faculty performing employment duties are provided legal coverage as set forth in and under the  terms of the University of Illinois Liability Self-Insurance Plan, as that plan may be amended from  time to time. 

D. Faculty may request health-related accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or otherwise by contacting the Office of Access and Equity to request such  accommodations.

E. The University will provide each bargaining unit position a new computer not to exceed $1,500 (plus the cost of a three-year extended warranty) to be chosen from a set of available and  supported configurations from the campus office of Academic Computing and Communications  Center (ACCC). This program for provision of new computers will extend through August 15,  2022, and computers will be replaced if an existing computer is more than four years old during  the term of this Collective Bargaining Agreement. The University will provide hardware support  during the time the computer is covered by warranty and is assigned to the original bargaining  unit position. In accord with the State of Illinois and University procurement rules, the assigned  computer remains property of the University and assigned to the department. Computer use is  subject to the applicable Acceptable Usage Policy promulgated by ACCC, as such policy may be  amended from time to time. The process for replacing computers that will be more than four years old during the following academic year will be initiated every year of this agreement on or  before January 15th, and computers should be received no later than August 1st of each year. 

F. The University shall provide classroom support during all hours in which courses are scheduled,  including access to printers and technology support for classrooms with sufficient on-campus  staff to facilitate timely support. This support shall commence at least a half hour before courses  are scheduled. 

G. In accordance with the University of Illinois Statutes and General Rules Concerning University  Organization and Procedures, faculty members shall retain ownership rights to traditional  academic copyrightable work.  

***

Institutional Commitments discusses resources necessary to teach, learn, and research at UIC. Our contract currently codifies reimbursement  for work-related activities; classroom and technology support; rights to accommodation and access; and provision of  a functioning and up-to-date computer.

The University-provided computer program (E.) is the most widely utilized guaranteed institutional commitment amongst members. This program became available through the UICUF 2015-2018 contract. All faculty within the UICUF bargaining units are entitled to a $1,500 computer and a 3-year extended warranty — the 3 year warranty is an extension over the standard 1 year warranties – so faculty should have a total of 4 years coverage, after which you are entitled to a new computer. The additional cost of extended warranties, where applicable, will be covered by the university in addition to the $1,500 limit.

In addition to the computer program, Article VII. addresses intellectual property rights for faculty. In recent years, concerns over faculty rights to materials posted and distributed via third-party contracts–such as Blackboard–or other online teaching materials produced during periods of remote learning have risen. Per the contract, all materials produced during the normal course of teaching and learning remain the author’s intellectual property. The only exception is if a faculty member was paid expressly for the production of materials above and beyond what would be a part of their normal workload/salary. Such agreements should be documented via a faculty member’s appointment letter for the term that the materials would be created. 

If you feel you are being inappropriately denied a university-issued laptop, intellectual property rights, appropriate accommodation, or effective classroom support, please contact your UICUF Representative Assembly member, or email UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. UICUF representation has a successful track record in supporting faculty denied the resources necessary to maintain UIC’s extraordinary academic environment. 

In Solidarity,
The UIC UF Bargaining team

Xochitl Bada (Associate Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies) | Aaron Krall (Senior Lecturer, English) | Andy Baker (Clinical Assistant Professor, Music) | Anna Kornbluh (Professor, English) | Becky Bonarek (Lecturer, Tutorium in Intensive English) | Charitianne Williams (Senior Lecturer, English) | Gosia Fidelis (Associate Professor, History)  | Ian Collins (Clinical Assistant Professor, Daley Library) | Jim Drown (Senior Lecturer, English) | Jeff Gore (Senior Lecturer, English)  | Jennifer Rupert (Senior Lecturer, English, Gender and Women’s Studies) | Kate Floros (Clinical Assistant Professor, Political Science) | Kate Lowe (Associate Professor, Urban Planning and Policy) | Kevin O’Brien (Clinical Associate Professor, Library of the Health Sciences) | Kevin Whyte (Professor, Math, Statistics, and Computer Science) | Laurie Quinn (Clinical Professor, Biobehavioral Nursing Science) | Nicole Nguyen (Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies) | Paul Preissner (Professor, Architecture)

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20 Jun Seeking information about salary payment delays and other issues

Dear UICUF member, 

Many UIC faculty have been having repeated problems with delayed pay. UICUF members have been reaching out to see what can be done, but because of the complicated bureaucracy involved, we don’t have a clear sense of where the issue originates or how best to approach it. We also do not know how widespread the problem of delayed pay is. 

To help us get a better sense of this problem and potential solutions, please fill out this short survey about your experience with timely (or untimely) payment. 

Because we want to get an accurate picture, please forward this email to any faculty members in your department that may not be represented by the union, but may be having problems.

In solidarity, 
UIC United Faculty leadership

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14 Jun Professional Development funds are a part of your compensation!

  • The UICUF 2018-2022 contract guarantees every faculty member professional development funds as a part of their compensation package. 
  • Many departments ask faculty to submit claims for reimbursement by the end of the fiscal year, June 30: August 15 is the hard deadline.
     

From our contract:

Article VI. Compensation, Leaves, and Group Health
A.1.c Professional Expense Reimbursements

Funds will be allocated each year of this Agreement so that each bargaining unit member shall receive up to ($600 NTT or $900 TT) for expenses related only to research and/or teaching-related professional development, to be reimbursed in accordance with University policy and guidelines. In the event that a bargaining unit member has an opportunity to travel for professional meetings/conferences, specific to their employment duties, then they may be eligible for an additional $600. Pre-approval for the additional funding must be obtained from the Unit Executive Officer prior to the event and, if approved, will be reimbursed in accordance with University policy and guidelines. These funds supplement departmental professional development budgets, if any, rather than replace them.

Professional development funds should be considered a part of your compensation/benefits package, although system policy stipulates that they must be used in a manner that befits and benefits the university. All programs and department bylaws should outline what is and is not acceptable use for these funds. In addition to the professional development funds, all faculty are entitled to an additional $600 dollars specifically for travel-related expenses related to meeting/conference attendance. This $600 dollars must be pre-approved by the faculty member’s Executive Officer. It is important to note that the funds established by the union contract is a minimum amount, and does not limit the amount departments may grant faculty for important development opportunities.

The hard deadline to use these funds is August 15th, although many departments ask faculty to use funds in advance of the deadline, either citing the end of the university fiscal year–June 30–or potential delays in processing a sudden onslaught of requests. In the spirit of collegiality, faculty should make every effort to comply with these requests when possible, but August 15th is the contractual deadline. Some members are reporting increased delays in reimbursement due to the system’s switch to a new reporting system for expenses. With these issues in mind, we would like to emphasize the importance of all faculty using their professional development funds as soon as possible as they do not roll over from previous academic years.

If you encounter issues with using your professional development funds, please do not hesitate to reach out to your local UICUF Representative Assembly Member (see list below) or email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.

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25 May Judge Recommends Including Bridge to Faculty Scholars in Union!

  • Welcome to the newest UICUF members: In March 2022, 75% of the B2F members signed a petition to join our union. Last week, an administrative law judge recommended including B2Fs in the NTT unit. This puts the end in sight for a nearly two years-long effort to secure union protections for Bridge to Faculty.
  • Labor board to finalize decision June 15: The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board will meet on June 15 and will likely make a final decision based on the judge’s recommendation at that time.

The Bridge to Faculty (B2F) program offers two-year post-doctoral (or post-terminal degree) positions to underrepresented scholars with an expectation that they will join the tenure-track faculty at the end of their post-doc. The B2F program is arguably the foundation for attempts to recruit a more diverse faculty at UIC–one of the most serious issues facing the faculty, and indeed university as a whole.

Almost two years ago, a new UIC faculty member in the first cohort of B2F scholars attempted to join UICUF, the union that her offer letter said she could be a part of. To her, and our, surprise, HR refused to process her membership, saying she was not in the union’s bargaining unit after all. This initiated a fight to ensure union representation for Bridge to Faculty scholars that included a grievance, a bargaining unit clarification petition, and finally a majority interest petition in which 75% of B2Fs signed union cards and petitioned to join UICUF’s non-tenure track bargaining unit. This petition eventually went to a legal hearing in which various faculty and B2Fs testified to demonstrate the wide range of work NTT faculty do and the appropriateness of including B2Fs in that category. The University took a page from the playbook of the typical union buster, arguing that the B2Fs could only be represented in a much larger (and harder to organize) unit of all postdoctoral research associates.

On Thursday, May 19, the judge who presided over the hearing issued a recommendation to accept the petition, finally allowing B2Fs to unionize. The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board will make a final decision based on this recommendation when they meet on June 15. UIC administration, despite the Administrative Law Judge’s well-reasoned recommendation, plans to appeal. UICUF will submit a response to the appeal when the administration actually files it, and the Board will consider the appeal and response in making their final decision.

The University administration has been inexplicably intransigent regarding B2F unionization, resisting informal resolution or settlement at various stages. Indeed, at times the university lawyers have wandered into genuinely insulting territory, suggesting that the highly accomplished scholars in the B2F program are unqualified to be faculty. Through all of this, the B2F scholars have remained admirably committed to advocating for themselves and each other, despite the precarity of their positions.

As B2F scholar Ash Stephens from the Department of Criminology, Law, and Justice explains, “As a postdoctoral scholar/researcher, being a part of UIC United Faculty is crucial to my livelihood. Being a member of UICUF would allow all B2F scholars labor protections and the ability to build collective power. I see unions as a place where many of the inequities of race, class, disability, gender, and other social positions of marginalization are prioritized when we discuss how they intersect with work and labor. It puts all B2F scholars in vulnerable positions to have our work unprotected.”

Despite the administration’s commitment to fighting the basic rights of B2F scholars, we at UICUF are excited to welcome the first cohort of B2Fs to the tenure track this fall and to welcome the rest into official membership in the non-tenure track bargaining unit once the labor board meets. The victory is important not only to the people who constitute the Bridge to Faculty program, but also as a clear message to administration that fair treatment and respect for Black and Brown scholars must be a part of their efforts to diversify UIC faculty.

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26 Apr GEO Wins Tentative Agreement | Celebrate Janet Smith this Friday

  • GEO settles contract, suspends strike: grad workers won protections for survivors, increased wages, and fee waivers, among other important victories. 
  • Rally to memorialize Janet Smith, Friday at 12pm: Join us to celebrate Janet’s memory and rally to continue her fight for worker power at UIC and beyond. 
  • Action to save the quad, Thursday at 12pm: Join UIC undergraduates and the cultural centers in an action to save the quad as a space for protest and gathering.

Dear Colleagues,

At midnight last night, GEO and the UIC administration bargaining team reached a tentative agreement on the remaining articles of the GEO contract. GEO has suspended their strike and will hold a ratification vote later this week. In addition to increased protections for workers experiencing harassment, discrimination, and bullying, GEO won a 9.6% pay increase for the coming academic year and 3.75% and 3.25% increases in the following two years. All striking workers will have the opportunity to make up their missed work for full pay, and everyone currently in the bargaining unit will receive a lump sum retroactive payment of $1,000 for each of the past two semesters. See GEO’s wins summary for more details. 

We greatly appreciate all the solidarity that faculty have shown during the strike. Your contributions undoubtedly helped push the university administration toward a fairer contract. 

We will continue this spirit of solidarity by celebrating Janet Smith’s life and legacy this Friday at noon outside University Hall. Colleagues and comrades will speak to Janet’s enormous impact on UICUF, UIC, and the labor movement in Chicago. We will also present the inaugural Janet Smith Organizing Award to Gayatri Reddy (GWS, GLAS, Anthropology) and two years’ worth of John Shuler Shared Governance and Academic Freedom Awards to Philosophy and Global Asian Studies. We’ll conclude by introducing the 2022-24 UICUF leadership and sending the bargaining team into the summer with some rallying chants. After all, we couldn’t properly honor Janet’s memory without bringing some fighting, chanting spirit.  

Janet thought and cared a lot about physical spaces and how we use them. To honor that, we are asking participants to bring items that evoke Janet: photos, jewelry, buttons, or anything else that brings her to mind. We will have a space set aside to hold these items for the duration of the memorial. We hope to see you all there. 

Another way to honor Janet’s legacy and the history of protest at UIC is to join UIC undergrads and the Cultural Centers in resisting the planned renovation of the quad, which would eliminate it as a gathering space for rallies and other events and make it less accessible for people who need to pass through it. Please join students for an action in the quad this Thursday, 4/28 at noon and write to the Chancellor and Provost to express your support for the students’ concerns. 

Sincerely,

UIC United Faculty Leadership

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