19 Mar Transition Tips and UICUF Response During the Pandemic
- UICUF wants to ensure a smooth transition for faculty during the COVID-19 response.
- We have initiated demands for impact bargaining over changes to working conditions during this time.
- UICUF will also begin doing member check-ins by phone over the coming days to find out if you are getting everything you need to succeed under the new working conditions.
- We strongly recommend you reach out to the union proactively at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com if you have any work-related concerns.
Last week, Coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, came into much sharper focus in our lives here at UIC. The local and system administrations have issued responses to the growing impact the virus is having on education and campus life, and we have submitted our own statement regarding shifting working conditions.
In addition to maintaining the safety of our members and students, we want to emphasize that the current situation is not an invitation to suspend shared governance, faculty autonomy, academic freedom, intellectual property rights, or workload norms at UIC. We also want to reinforce the reality that rapidly developed online curricula will not necessarily meet the same standards as purpose-built online courses, and that not all students may be equally prepared to take advantage of such online offerings. In short, we hope that a sense of understanding and generosity is extended to all members of the university community in this time of uncertainty.
There is a growing pool of resources for faculty to explore both in protecting yourselves and your students, and in transitioning your work during the COVID-19 response. We’ve compiled a few links here for your convenience:
AAUP guidance on university policies, online course transition, etc
Joint AFT and AAUP statement of principles
Guidance about accessible online teaching from the UIC Disability Cultural Center
The UIC COVID19 website – (Regularly updated info on UIC’s response to COVID-19)
And for those with students who lack easy access to the internet off campus, effective Monday, March 16, 2020, Comcast is offering 2 months free internet to new customers in response to recent emergency measures associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
While the situation is evolving, we have initiated a demand to bargain with the administration over changing work conditions pursuant to the new policies created by university’s COVID-19 response. Regardless of circumstances precipitating these changes, it is the union’s duty to undertake negotiations on our members’ behalf to assure their contractual rights are not impacted by unilateral policy change. That being said, we do not intend to slow or restrict timely responses to the current situation, but rather hope to ensure that the transition in working conditions is smooth and fair for our members.
Over the coming days and weeks, UICUF will be doing member check-ins by phone. We know that everyone is working hard to accommodate changes during this transitional period, and want to make sure our members have everything they need to succeed under the new conditions.
If you are experiencing immediate workplace concerns, whether they be a lack of information, unclear or inappropriate expectations, or challenges maintaining your teaching or research, we encourage you to proactively reach out to the union via UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.
Our Fellow Workers
While we do not represent the vast majority of workers at UIC, we hope you will treat every worker, from grad assistants to custodial staff, with understanding and respect in these difficult times. Many workers do not have access to paid sick leave, or obvious ways to work remotely. We will be supporting our union colleagues, and workers throughout the university community, in calling for universal paid sick leave for all workers so as best to protect their safety, and public health at UIC.
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 better place to work and learn!