Now that non-tenure-track faculty have a union (CFA Local 6546), members naturally think “we’ll elect our representatives and they can sit down with the administration to start bargaining, right?” Not so fast!
The administration’s game plan so far
The administration maintains a standing arrangement with anti-union law firm “Clark Baird Smith” from Chicago. Here’s the game plan they are following…
Step 1 – Appeal to state court, trying to overturn the democratic process by which the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board certified the union. The administration’s argument is that the Board should have included Uni High teachers in the bargaining unit (and never mind that those teachers are already represented by a different union). This appeal could take up to a year to be heard.
Step 2 – Do not commit to bargaining with the union. State that the administration is willing to fulfill any bargaining obligations it “may have” under Illinois labor law, but do not admit that it has any such obligations.
Step 3 – Deny raises to non-tenure-track faculty on the grounds that they are now represented by a union and so the administration cannot make “unilateral” changes to salaries. Ignore anyone who points out that the union issued a formal letter authorizing the administration to give raises under existing salary programs for 2014-2015. Also ignore anyone who points out (as per Step 2) that the administration has not in fact agreed to bargain with the union.
In case you think we’re making things up, you can read the original documents and correspondence at our Timeline page.
What happens next?
No university should treat its faculty members this way. So why do they do it? Perhaps they hope faculty members will blame the union for the lack of raises. (See Steps 2 and 3 above.) Remember, the administration tried the same tactics in Chicago, but faculty at UIC now have a strong union contract, and we know we will end up with a strong union contract here too.
So we’re going to keep putting pressure on the administration to come to the bargaining table and talk. Meanwhile, the nuts-and-bolts work of writing a constitution and (soon) electing officers is continuing apace. Keep your eyes open in the next month or so, for email announcements explaining how to get involved and vote.
What can you do? Rally at the Alma Mater on Thursday September 11 – gather at 12 Noon then march to the Quad!
Stand up for yourself and for your colleagues, by joining the Rally at the Alma Mater, at noon on Thursday September 11. Let’s show the Board of Trustees that Non-Tenure-Track Faculty are organized, and determined!
Your union, CFA Local 6546 – the democratic voice for non-tenure-track faculty
Please contact us at <firstname.lastname@example.org> for information, or to get involved (which would be much appreciated)