Dear Alma: Raises? What the Heck!?

Dear Alma

Dear Alma,

What the heck! I worked very hard over the past year and was looking forward to my annual merit increase from my department. Now I get a letter from academic HR telling me that I won’t get that raise – because of the new NTT union. What’s going on here?

Emilia  Hoppenmad, PhD.

Dear Dr. Hoppenmad,

You’re right to be upset.  NTT faculty at UIUC now have a union, but it is not the union  keeping you from getting your merit pay. What’s happening here is that the University administration is trying to have its cake and eat it too.

The administration is claiming it can’t give out regular pay increases and promotion raises to NTTs because of union negotiations.   Yet it is fighting the union’s authorization, and will not commit to contract  negotiations.  It’s tied its own hands.

I would suggest that you go back to your HR rep and calmly inform them that because there are no negotiations scheduled, there is no legal reason why you shouldn’t receive your merit increase.   You can also tell them that CFA Local #6546 has said formally and in writing to the Administration that it has no objection to scheduled and ordinary raises while bargaining.

Just for your information, this is a standard technique that big employers try to use to fight unionization.  U of I used it at Chicago – and the faculty there are off to a good start with a contract, raises, back pay and better instructional support.

Your raise was taken back after the Provost formally issued Communication #25 back in the spring but that’s the Administration’s unilateral doing.   It shows how much we need a union.




Published by Susan Davis

I teach in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois.

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