UIUC has a rich history of faculty union organizing which began long before the advent of CFA. Timothy Reese Cain of the College of Education has begun the process of chronicling that history with a short piece for the blog of the Illinois Program for Research Into the Humanties (IPRH). We applaud Professor Cain for his work and urge you to read it at:
Yesterday was my department’s graduation ceremony, and it was great–the weather was perfect, the students were excited, and the parents glowing with pride. We had the bagpipers, the brass quintet, the inspiring speeches, sang the “Alma Mater,” the whole nine yards.
In Communication, our tradition is that at the end of the ceremony, faculty stand at the exits, and as the students walk out toward the quad, we applaud them, cheering them onward into their new lives. This ritual can make even the most curmudgeonly faculty member feel proud of the University of Illinois. Everyone’s face seems to say “This is a good thing. I’m glad to be part of this.” And they should be.
When I watch students hug teachers, staffers, and their TAs, whom they often know better than their professors, it’s moving. It reminds me that everybody at U of I works hard, often goes the extra mile, and cares deeply about educating and guiding the students.
So it is sad to realize that as an employer, the University of Illinois refuses to treat some of these people with decency and respect. In fact, our employer is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars avoiding negotiations with unionized employees, and is refusing to recognize the democratic rights of employees to bargain collectively. The U of I is racking up unfair labor practice citations, and in some cases is breaking Illinois and federal labor law by refusing to bargain in good faith.
The unions affected are the Visiting Academic Professionals (many of whom make labs run for students and professors), AFSCME locals 698 and 3700, the library technicians and administrative professionals who are the fabric of the University, the Graduate Employees Organization, who do an enormous amount of teaching and grading, and UI Faculty United, the faculty union at UI Chicago. Thousands of employees are being disrespected by the University on this graduation weekend. This isn’t a small spat — it’s a broad and consistent pattern of disregard.
All the unions are finding the University is stalling, obstructive and negative in its responses to proposals, often in violation of the law.
Does the UI Administration really want to tarnish the University’s reputation this way? No university, public or private, should make it a policy to violate labor law. And no public University should be spending its money on anti-union tactics and union-busting law firms lawyers.
Come on, Alma Mater – we can be better than this!
CFAers can help by letting President Easter and Chancellor Wise know that you want the University to recognize and bargain in good faith with all U of I unions at all campuses.
UIC United Faculty has defied the Administration’s attempt to block their successful union drive. They have completed a second round of getting cards signed by more than half the faculty. For the whole story visit: http://uicunitedfaculty.org/
At a time of great financial crisis, shrinking faculties, low salaries, and rising tuition, the University of Illinois administration has spent enormous time and money fighting an open and democratic process of faculty decision making at UIC. A large majority of both tenure track and contingent faculty at UIC are on record in support of the union there. The university has lost every appeal down to this most recent court decision. The University of Illinois administration can and should recognize the union in Chicago, but if they should continue to ignore majority faculty opinion there, the UIC union is prepared. They are in a position to recover quickly, once again garner majority support from both groups, and, hopefully, begin the process of negotiations with the administration. We hope that the administration will show proper regard for faculty opinion on the collective bargaining issue here in Urbana-Champaign, CFA has intended from the beginning to maintain strong solidarity between tenure track and contingent faculty, as the fates of the two groups are linked. CFA will continue to support the efforts of all faculty on our campus. We ask that our weakened university administration recognize our unionized colleagues at UIC and also respect the rights of faculty here at UIUC to make our own decision regarding collective bargaining.
Executive Committee, Campus Faculty Association
An appellate court has ruled that UIC faculty cannot form a bargaining unit that includes both tenure/tenure track faculty and contingent/adjunct faculty. To read the UIC United Faculty’s report and response go to: http://uicunitedfaculty.org/ Their site also contains a link to the text of the decision. For the News-Gazette version, go to: