Faculty Collective Bargaining Update

Dear Campus Community,

The UIC United Faculty (UIC UF), the union representing a bargaining unit of UIC tenure system faculty (excluding faculty in the colleges of medicine, pharmacy and dentistry) and a separate bargaining unit of non-tenure system faculty, has filed formal notice of an intent to strike. The University and UIC UF have completed 23 bargaining sessions, with three more sessions scheduled for this week. An intent to strike notice does not necessarily mean that a strike will occur; however, it does mean the UIC UF may now call for a strike to begin as early as April 22 — the beginning of the second to last week of classes at UIC.

The University has proposed or accepted at the bargaining table more than 30 provisions which will significantly improve the pay and working conditions for all represented faculty. However, in addition to the amount of the guaranteed merit pool for annual salary increases, other issues about which the union and the University continue to disagree include:

  • The union is proposing that the only way a faculty member can revoke union membership and stop paying union dues from their paycheck is to notify the union, and then the union would notify the University. We strongly believe that faculty who do not wish to be union members should be able, and have a legal and constitutional right, to exercise their rights by notifying either the University directly or the union.
  • The union is asking that the University, as part of a plan to hire more tenure system faculty, convert non-tenure system faculty to tenure-system faculty without a search.
  • The union continues to request that non-tenure system faculty be eligible for sabbatical leaves.

The following are among the many new provisions on economic and non-economic issues that the University has agreed to:

ECONOMIC

  • There was no guaranteed minimum annual merit salary pool for tenure system and non-tenure system faculty in the previous contract; the contracts provided that faculty receive the campus-wide salary increase each year of the contract, even if it was zero. The guaranteed minimum annual pool for compression, equity, market or retention increases was 1% each year of the previous contract.

The current proposal from the University guarantees an 11% increase over a three-year contract, and a 14.5% increase over the term of a proposed four-year contract. Specifically, the University has proposed guaranteed minimum increases to merit salary pools and compression and equity salary pools as follows:

  • 2018-2019: 4% total salary pool, comprised of 2% merit (or campus salary program, whichever is more), and 2% for compression/equity, with 1% of this as a guaranteed increase for all non-tenure system faculty with a base salary of $65,000 or less.
  • 2019-2020: 3.5% total salary pool, comprised of 1.5% merit (or campus salary program, whichever is more), and 2% for compression/equity, with 1% of this as a guaranteed increase for all non-tenure system faculty with a base salary of $65,000 or less.
  • 2020-2021: 3.5% total salary pool, comprised of 1.5% merit (or campus salary program, whichever is more), and 2% for compression/equity, with 1% of this as a guaranteed increase for all non-tenure system faculty with a base salary of $65,000 or less.
  • 2021-2022: 3.5% total salary pool, comprised of 1.5% merit (or campus salary program, whichever is more), and 2% for compression/equity, with 1% of this as a guaranteed increase for all non-tenure system faculty with a base salary of $65,000 or less.

The previous contract guaranteed a minimum salary of $42,000 for all non-tenure system faculty and no minimums for tenure system faculty. The University has agreed to establish the following new, title-specific minimum salaries for faculty in both bargaining units in the next contract:

  • $50,000 for Lecturers, Instructors, Clinical Assistant Professors, and Research Assistant Professors
  • $55,000 for Senior Instructors, Senior Lecturers, Clinical Associate Professors, and Research Associate Professors
  • $60,500 for Clinical Professors and Research Professors
  • $65,000 for Tenure-Track Assistant Professors
  • $71,500 for Tenured Associate Professors
  • $78,650 Tenured Full Professors
  • In addition to continuing the current reimbursement of up to $1,500 for a new computer every four years, the parties have agreed to the University’s proposal to also reimburse the cost of a 3-year warranty for all such computers.
  • The University has proposed to double professional development funds for non-tenure system faculty and significantly increase these funds for tenure system faculty. Non-tenure system faculty members will now be eligible for reimbursement for up to $600 in conference and travel expenses in addition to the $600 already guaranteed for expenses for research and/or teaching-related professional development. Tenure system faculty will continue to be eligible for up to $900 for expenses for research and/or teaching-related professional development as well as the new $600 for conference travel and expenses.

NON-ECONOMIC

The parties have agreed to, or the University has proposed, various new non-economic benefits in the new contract. For example:

The following provisions would apply to non-tenure system faculty:

  • The University has proposed that the maximum number of consecutive service years required to receive a multi-year contract of at least 2 years be reduced from 5 to 4 years; and the maximum years required to earn a multi-year contract of 3 years be reduced from 10 to 6 years.
  • Changes in job expectations during the term of a contract must be mutually agreed upon between the non-tenure system faculty member and the department head.
  • The reappointment process must be in writing and in every department’s bylaws.

The following will apply to both tenure system and non-tenure system faculty:

  • Protection against discrimination based on citizenship and expression of gender identity will be added to the anti-discrimination clause.
  • Alleged violations of copyright protections in the UI Statutes will be grievable.
  • Student evaluations cannot be used in isolation to make reappointment decisions for non-tenure system faculty.
  • The University will guarantee the availability of classroom and technology support 30 minutes prior to every class.
  • The Provost will issue a report twice each year stating how safety concerns are being addressed on campus.
  • The Provost will convene a task force to review and advise on how to improve the campus lactation policy and the availability of gender-neutral bathrooms.

We remain hopeful that we can come to an agreement that is fair to both the University and the faculty and avoid the disruption that a faculty strike would cause. After almost a year of bargaining during which the union has secured significantly more favorable contract terms than in the last contract, it is unfortunate that the union has chosen this time at a critical juncture in the semester to notice a strike.

Sincerely,

Michael Amiridis
Chancellor

Susan Poser
Provost

Robert Barish
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs