Today, we, the United Faculty of the University of Illinois Chicago, formally announced our intention to bargain for a new contract. It is our hope that through negotiation, our union can make UIC an even better place to work and learn. In our negotiations this year, the United Faculty will seek to address:
- Stagnant salaries amid rising costs of living in the Chicago area.
- Changing demands on faculty pursuant to rapid enrollment growth at the University.
- Shared governance principles that must form the backbone of decision-making at the University.
Faculty at UIC provide top quality education for students in the Chicago area, and perform research that deepens knowledge and improves lives the world over. Yet despite raising salary minimums 40% since our first contract, we still have faculty who are paid well below the median income for our community. At the same time we are being asked to accept an ever expanding list of duties.
Therefore, we will pursue increasing salaries for our lowest paid faculty, as well as improved salary pools across the board. We will also work to keep faculty from bearing the burden of increasing healthcare costs, which politicians are callously trying to pass on to workers. The University has pleaded poverty for years amid stagnating salaries, while pointing to no-budget austerity measures as justification. Administration owes it to the entire UIC community to fight alongside our members for adequate funding that will address years of lost income growth among faculty, without laying the cost at our students’ feet. UIC faculty are proud to serve the communities of Chicago. We deserve the dignity of a professional income in our hometown.
Additionally, our University is projecting and planning for rapid growth over the coming years. As UIC fervently pursues its capital campaign to fuel this growth with new classrooms and dorms, it must also pursue a parallel human capital campaign to effectively handle the influx of new students. While non-tenure track faculty play a key role in realizing the goals of our university, a commitment to sustained student growth should be matched with a commitment to sustained growth in secure, tenure-line positions, which are critical to the operation of a top research university.
The United Faculty are also concerned with threats to shared governance. Statutes and bylaws are too often ignored. Meanwhile, discussion and advisement are not always required for critical issues facing faculty, like merit determinations or appropriate workloads. We intend to address disparities, and ensure that the spirit of shared governance is applied to important questions affecting all our faculty.
We hope that the University administration will join us in negotiating a timely and effective agreement. We will be keeping you informed throughout this process, and encourage our members to participate by attending and respectfully observing the negotiating process.
UIC United Faculty Bargaining Committee
Kheir Al-Kodmany, Xochitl Bada Garcia, Joaquin Chavez, Jim Drown, Chris Kanich, Aaron Krall, Paul Pieper, Paul Preissner, Lauretta Quinn, Jeff Sklansky, Janet Smith, Vit Vanicek, Kevin Whyte, Charitianne Williams, Milos Zefran