UIC faculty union strike continues
Dear faculty, staff and students,
After three and a half hours of federally-mediated bargaining today, an agreement was not reached between UIC and UIC United Faculty, the union representing tenure/tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty with 51% time or more, including visiting faculty, at UIC. The union ended today’s talks without a commitment to schedule another session. UIC has offered to meet Friday or earlier and awaits a commitment from UICUF.
UICUF’s strike will continue without a settlement on five outstanding contract items, including compensation among the main outstanding issues.
UIC’s four-year contract proposal shared during the latest session, which was the 32nd overall and 13th with the mediator, includes:
- Minimum salary raises of 9% year one/4% year two/3% year three/0% year four to non-tenure-track faculty and 5% year one/3% year two/0% year three/0% year four to tenure-track faculty.
- A $4,000 one-time lump sum for all faculty.
- Annual salary increases at 17.25% over the four-year contract.
UICUF’s three-year contract proposal seeks:
- Minimum salary raises of 22% for non-tenure-track faculty and 18.5% for tenure-track faculty.
- A $3,000 across-the-board permanent salary increase.
- Annual salary increases at 17.25% over the three-year contract, on top of the permanent salary increase.
In addition to compensation, the two parties have differing viewpoints on various aspects of the outstanding articles of the contract.
Funding faculty salaries
The institutional base budget for university operations, which pays for faculty salaries comes from student tuition revenue and State of Illinois appropriations. While the university’s enrollment has grown, more than 78% of UIC students do not pay full tuition and undergraduate tuition rates are guaranteed not to increase for an enrolled student for their first four years. As part of the university’s commitment to increase access and affordability to students, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved a modest tuition increase of 1.8% for incoming in-state freshmen for the 2022-23 academic year, only the second tuition increase in the past eight years. A more substantial increase in tuition and class sizes would be necessary to fund the union’s proposal.
Union leaders representing faculty suggest the university has $1 billion in unrestricted reserve funds available to fund faculty salaries. The union is incorrectly referencing FY21 financial statements. The $1 billion amount UICUF is quoting is cash and not unallocated recurring budget funds and includes all operating funds both restricted and unrestricted (tuition, indirect cost recovery, royalties, grants, contracts, gifts for distribution, auxiliaries, the hospital and medical service plans) for all three University of Illinois campuses; UI Health, system-wide administration, etc. as our financial statements are consolidated.
The university must be very careful about utilizing reserve funds for recurring expenses. Committing one-time cash for permanent, ongoing costs like salaries would create a structural budget deficit that would soon deplete these funds. Maintaining adequate cash reserves is essential to the financial stability of any organization and any university, college or unit.
Student mental health
The university shares the union’s concern about the importance of student mental health. UIC has announced an approved $4.47 million plan and is strongly committed to further enhancing student mental health services with input from students and faculty. UIC continues to insist that a clause regarding student mental health services should not be associated with a single union contract.
As communicated earlier, the work stoppage is disappointing and detrimental to the university and its students. UIC will continue normal operations to the fullest extent possible.
Students should continue to check Blackboard and email for information regarding the status of their specific classes and labs. Please plan to attend if you have not been told the class or lab is canceled.
Reaching a fair and equitable agreement for both parties continues to be UIC’s objective. Please continue to visit facultybargaining.uic.edu for updates on negotiations, details on the bargaining positions of both parties and answers to frequently asked questions.
Acting Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs