Update on UIC United Faculty Negotiations/Potential Strike
We are writing to provide an update on the status of collective bargaining with 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 bargaining unit does not represent faculty in Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy or Law.
Today, we met for our 29th negotiating session, our 11th with the guidance of an independent federal mediator. To date, UIC and UICUF have reached agreement on 17 of 23 contract items under deliberation. We continue to make progress and exchange proposals, including a few additional articles where the parties are aligned but have not signed off on tentative agreements.
However, we remain significantly apart on several key issues related to compensation.
- UIC: 16% salary increase over a proposed four-year contract; plus a one-time cash bonus of $3,000 in the first contract year to faculty earning less than $70,000 per year and a one-time cash bonus of $1,500 in the first contract year to faculty earning $70,000 or more per year.
- UICUF: 21% salary increase over a proposed three-year contract, plus a $3,000 permanent, across-the-board increase in base salary in the first contract year for all faculty.
- UIC: 7% increase during the course of a four-year contract.
- UICUF: 20% increase for tenure-track faculty and 24% increase for non-tenure-track faculty in the first year of a three-year contract.
In sum, the cost of the compensation package being requested by the union exceeds the university’s offer by more than $17.3 million over three years. Considering its fiscal responsibility to the entire campus and the state’s taxpayers, UIC is not in a position to provide what the union is seeking. This kind of salary commitment – without a significant increase in the state appropriation or in undergraduate tuition revenue – would lead to severe deficits in nearly all of the colleges and cause significant financial hardship throughout the university. Overall, this would be harmful to UIC’s mission, students and stakeholders.
A full comparison of the university and union positions on pending contract articles is available at facultybargaining.uic.edu/bargaining-positions.
UIC United Faculty filed the legally required 10-day Notice of Intent to Strike with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board on Nov. 17 and could opt to strike as soon as Tuesday, Jan. 17, just one week into our spring semester.
We know that all parties care deeply about our students and keep their best interests at heart. The university wants to resolve these negotiations without any disruption to teaching and learning—especially as we begin the spring semester.
The university has an obligation to its students. During a strike, we are committed to continuing normal operations to the fullest extent possible. While the union has indicated that striking faculty will not teach their classes, the decision to strike is up to each faculty member. The academic calendar will not be affected by the strike. Teaching assistants are expected to hold their regularly scheduled classes and office hours. In addition, if there are interruptions in class schedules during a strike, make-up arrangements must be implemented to ensure that the instructional objectives are met. Students should check Blackboard and email for information regarding the status of their specific classes.
It is important to note that a strike would NOT impact classes in the Colleges of Pharmacy, Dentistry or Medicine, the School of Law or courses taught by faculty who are less than 51% time. Campus health care facilities will also remain open in the event of a strike.
We continue to believe that much can be accomplished through continued bargaining. Our next negotiating session is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 12. The university has shared its willingness to schedule additional sessions to move this contract forward, including Friday, Saturday and Monday.
We will continue to provide updates to our campus community regarding significant developments in negotiations via email and on our website at facultybargaining.uic.edu.