15 Jan UI Holds Back Yet Another Union Contract
**Visiting Faculty are invited to join our first meeting of the Visiting Faculty Caucus**
**10-11:30am, Friday, 1/24/20 @UICUF Offices, 1016 W. Jackson Blvd**
**to discuss and address issues specific to visiting titles at UIC**
- ACTION: UICUF Faculty are invited to join a demonstration at the Board of Trustees meeting TOMORROW – 10:15, Thursday, 1/16/20 @Lobby of Student Center West.
- SEIU is negotiating several contracts, seeking to address chronic understaffing which has led to safety concerns and contributed to the death of a union member.
- UI Labor Relations are once again holding back an agreement on a fair contract.
- The UI System has a history of unproductive bargaining practices that have led to at least 18 strike authorizations and 9 actual work stoppages in the last 10 years.
The Semester has barely begun, but UI Labor Relations seems determined to start the year with their signature intransigence in negotiating labor contracts, this time with our fellow workers in SEIU Local 73. SEIU is currently bargaining for four different units of support staff, including civil service professionals, clerical staff, and service, maintenance, and technical staff.
Among other issues, SEIU is seeking to ameliorate chronic understaffing, which they report as being as low as 2/3rds of minimum requirements in some units. The low staffing levels seem to be symptomatic of what even HR acknowledges as substandard compensation. Even more concerning, understaffing has contributed to unsafe working conditions which in turn may have contributed to the death of an SEIU union member. Needless to say, if unsafe conditions killed a faculty member, we would have little patience for counterproductive negotiating tactics at the bargaining table.
To push back, SEIU members and allies, including faculty members, will be holding a rally at the Board of Trustees meeting at Student Center West this Thursday, 1/16/20. The UI system’s Labor Relations department has an unenviable record of pursuing negotiating tactics that court conflict with the university’s unions, and we will demand, once again, that the Board of Trustees take notice. Labor Relations represent the Board of Trustees in their dealings with UIC’s unions, and we hope to make it clear to the Board that their problematic stance toward organized labor must change.
Other Issues to Watch for at the BoT Meeting
Among other things, we expect the Board to announce that President Killeen will be offered a 40% raise and a 4-year contract extension. That is roughly what it would cost to hire 5 new full-time faculty, or pay for 18,000 hours of wages for security guards or other badly needed support staff. The Board will also be discussing tuition rates, which we expect will remain flat this year, virtually guaranteeing that UIC will raise fees. We’ll return to these issues in much greater detail in next week’s update.
Setting a Positive Example
Meanwhile, UICUF is proud to announce that we are trying to set our own good example for labor negotiations, as we can now report the signing of our first ever staff union contract! Unlike the grinding year-long process of negotiating with UI Labor Relations, negotiations with our newly unionized staff was acknowledge by both sides to be efficient and fair. We are particularly pleased with anti-bullying language that we’ve jointly crafted, which we hope will be a benchmark for other contracts in the future. Full disclosure: both staff and UICUF members contributed to this weekly message.
A Caucus for Visiting Faculty
Over the years, UICUF has noted an increasing prevalence of visiting faculty at our university, and we recognize that members with visiting titles have their own issues and concerns that may not affect others in the same ways. To dive into these issues, we are convening a Visiting Faculty Caucus, and encouraging our members with visiting titles to attend. Through discussing shared experiences and concerns, we can start to organize around what really matters to visiting faculty! You can join us from 10-11:30am NEXT FRIDAY, 1/24/20 @the UICUF office, 1016 W. Jackson Blvd. Please RSVP or send any questions to UICUFSophie@gmail.com.
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!