UICUF Bargaining for the Common Good

13 Oct UICUF Bargaining for the Common Good

Silence on Salary

At bargaining session 15 earlier this week, UIC management returned four articles to us, with nearly everything we had proposed crossed out, while continuing to sit on our salary proposal, which they have had since August 8. They have offered no explanation for their delay, and no explanation for why they will not allocate the 3.5% merit raise pool that non-unionized University of Illinois employees have already received. Many faculty are hearing from unit heads and deans that “union negotiations” are holding up the allocation of the merit money, but there is no legal reason for the University to do so. Management stalls at the bargaining table, while inflation effectively delivers us all pay cuts.

Supporting Our Students

Among the proposals that the administration flat-out refuses to discuss are things that would benefit the entire University community, especially our students. We have proposed a modest expansion of on-campus counseling services for students, staff, and faculty so that everyone in need would be guaranteed at least four counseling sessions per semester. We have also proposed that our students have access to free learning disability assessment, just like students at UIUC already have. The administration asserts that services for students don’t belong in a faculty labor contract, but our members tell us that they are seeing an increasing need for emotional support for their students that exceed faculty members’ own time limits and professional abilities. Because we are concerned for our students’ well-being, and because this growing phenomenon is in fact an important part of our own working conditions, these common-sense proposals belong in our labor contract. 

We have also proposed that faculty no longer be designated “mandatory reporters” of sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination, but instead leave it to survivors to have the autonomy to determine who is told about their experiences. The University administration currently mandates that faculty report, within 24 hours, to the Office for Access and Equity (OAE) any information they receive from a survivor about their experiences. OAE is an investigatory entity accountable only to the Chancellor, and inevitably tied up with questions of University legal liability. Not every survivor wants to share with OAE: not immediately after an incident, and sometimes not ever. For this reason, the bargaining committee would like to focus faculty responses to disclosures of abuse on survivor support and agency. We have an excellent Campus Advocacy Network that is an actual advocate for survivors, not an unaccountable investigative entity. 

Finally, we have proposed a process for identifying and addressing deficiencies in availability of gender-inclusive restrooms, and to make dedicated refrigeration available to those expressing and storing milk.

Let’s Take Action and Get This Done!

If we want to see management movement on these common good agenda items, as well as on our other proposals, UICUF members and allies need to show their support. You can do that by showing up for the next bargaining session on Monday the 17th,10am-1pm, SCW 206, or via zoom. You are welcome to come and go as you are able, and to join discussions with other UICUF members during caucus sessions and in the post-bargaining debrief. 

Also, we are holding our first rally of the semester to help people learn more about our common good agenda items, and to show support for them. Join us Thursday, October 20, noon, outside Grant Hall. Please indicate here your commitment to attend.

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)