We knew before yesterday’s bargaining session that the UIC administration will provide nothing without serious pressure from union members. The initial proposals on compensation and reappointment that management presented yesterday only confirm that UICUF members will need to show we are willing to strike before we can achieve a fair contract. Union members will have the opportunity to vote on November 14 and 15 to authorize the bargaining committee to call a strike if it proves necessary. We know from past contracts and other unions’ experiences that this is unfortunately a standard part of the way that university administration handles all contract bargaining at UIC.
The time has now come upon us.
We need members to commit now to voting for strike authorization.
Tell us when and where you plan to vote by clicking here.
UIC management asserts the need to “hold the line“
UIC faculty say in exit interviews and surveys that they leave UIC to join other universities because of “better offers,” “family commitments,” and “financial security.” Yesterday, the management team showed unwillingness to make any effort to remedy or rectify those problems.
The next session is Monday, October 31 at the White Oak Room, Student Center East from 10-1pm and via zoom. Please plan to attend if you are able.
UIC management expressed the need to “hold the line” on faculty salaries for the next four years and “no interest” in a pay increase to address historic inflation. The management team also offered meager pools for compression and equity because they believe these issues have been remedied as a result of past contracts.
The counter they brought on compensation is significantly lower than our proposals, and lower than the economic compensation package in our contract four years ago. We have asked for a 23% increase in raise pools over three years, and management returned with an offer of a 14% increase over four years. In our last contract, raise pools totaled 16% over four years. Our members have experienced historic inflation. Agreeing to their counter proposal, or anything close to it, would result in a real pay cut each year for the next four years. A tenure-track assistant professor told us during caucus that she will no longer be able to afford daycare unless she gets a more realistic raise. She mentioned that she depends on daycare to be able to produce the quality scholarship and teaching that is expected from her at UIC. Management’s compensation proposal would not only fail to help people in situations like hers, but would make things worse as inflation continues.
When the 3.5% campus wage program was announced for this academic year, management made the conscious decision–according to labor relations lawyer Hubert Thompson–to withhold these wage pools from bargaining unit members while the contract was being negotiated, though this is by no means required by law. Despite submitting all of our proposals before our previous contract expired, bargaining unit members have been working without a contract, and without a raise, since August 16.
Management also introduced a side letter regarding the suspension of raises that were “inadvertently” given to Bridge to Faculty (B2F) members this semester due to the administration’s delay in implementing a labor board decision that added B2F scholars to our bargaining unit. Management asked the union to agree that the current pay of B2F faculty be cut starting in November and revert to pre-August rates. It is the position of the union that ALL bargaining unit members should already be receiving campus wage increases, and that additional raise pools won in the faculty contract be applied on top of campus wage (retroactively) after contract ratification. To suggest that we instead agree to cut the pay of some of our most junior faculty shows that management is far removed from the realities faculty are living with.
Management also brought their first counter on reappointment and held the line on maintaining flexibility for administrators at the expense of insecurity for NTT faculty. Benjamin Superfine, a new addition to the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, also explained that the administration will not agree to any sort of expectation of reappointment for faculty on multi-year contracts or earlier notice of reappointment. They want colleges to be able to ensure all classes are the maximum size by making late summer personnel decisions, regardless of the costs such last-minute appointments bring to faculty and their families.
Sabbaticals and Leaves
Beyond their shocking offers regarding pay, UIC management fully rejected the possibility of professional leave for non-tenure track faculty, who constitute more than 45% of the total faculty. The administration’s position is to continue the practice of denying NTT faculty access to sabbaticals–a crucial part of professional development. Many NTT faculty have worked at UIC for 15 years or more, and they’ve never had (and will never have, if management has its way) the opportunity to take a paid leave to reinvigorate their teaching or focus on research pursuits. Furthermore, the management team suggested that even a faculty member who has been at UIC for decades is ultimately no more than a contract employee here for 3 years at a time and therefore does not merit professional leave. The management team also rejected all of our proposals for bringing parental leave in line with peer institutions and clarifying the policies around modified duties. Instead, they replaced it with a vague and unenforceable statement about “creating a family/life/friendly work environment.”
Between denying faculty the dignity of a salary that reflects the value they add to the university, and refusing NTT faculty greater job security or the opportunity to apply for professional leave, UIC management is sending a clear signal to bargaining unit members about our perceived worth. It’s time to respond with a clear signal of our own. Commit today to vote “yes” to empower the bargaining committee to call for a strike if management continues to fail to agree to the contract we deserve.
Tell us when and where you plan to vote: https://airtable.com/shru2zxLMtGoEws9t.
You can read the details of all the proposals management presented today here. Union proposals are in red and crossed out. Management proposals are in blue. Agreed-upon language is green.
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)