Local 6546 Files ULP for Wage Freezes and Failure to Bargain

[Update 9/5/2014: the administration now wishes to identify “mutually agreeable dates and times for bargaining.” See the Timeline page. No movement on the frozen wage increases.]

9/3/2014

CHAMPAIGN- On Wednesday, September 3, the Campus Faculty Association, Local6546 (IFT/AFT/AAUP), the union of Non-Tenure-Track Faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana­ Champaign filed an unfair labor practice charge against the University Administration with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB).

The Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge alleges that the University has frozen all wage increases for the non-tenure-track faculty under the 2015 fiscal year (FY15) “campus wage program”, arguing that they cannot give wage increases without bargaining with the new NTT Union. However, the University refuses to bargain at this time with the NTT Union. “This position of the University is quite contradictory” states NTT spokesperson Dorothee Schneider. “We cannot give you raises without bargaining, and we won’t bargain with you, either.”

The Union is asking the IELRB to seek immediate, temporary injunctive relief, through the Attorney General in district court. “Freezing wages while refusing to bargain is a classic way to disrupt the formation of a union,” explained Schneider, who is also a history lecturer at UIUC and author of several books on unions in American history.

In May, NTT faculty at UIUC submitted union authorization cards signed by a majority showing interest in union representation and on July 8, the IELRB certified the Union as the sole representative of the bargaining unit of non-tenure-track faculty at U1UC. The University Administration immediately appealed this certification in appellate court, arguing that the faculty at the UIUC’s “University High School” should be included in the NTT unit. (The IELRB has already certified the high school teachers in a unit represented by the Illinois Education Association, and the University has agreed to bargain with this lEA unit.) At the same time, the University has refused to bargain with the NTT union.

The NTT faculty is a diverse group, which includes lecturers and instructors, as well as clinical, research, and visiting faculty, whose labor is vital to the teaching and research missions of UIUC. While ineligible for tenure and generally paid less than their tenure-track colleagues, they perform much of the classroom teaching, laboratory and field work, and help promote student retention and achievement.

NTT faculty organized towards a future that includes longer-term contracts, clear guidelines for promotion, higher salaries, and respect as faculty. These improvements in working conditions often lead to higher faculty retention and more experience in the classroom. The union organizing drive was a joint effort supported by the Campus Faculty Association (CFA), the Illinois Federation of Teachers (1FT), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

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The Campus Faculty Association is a democratically run faculty organization dedicated to improving conditions for all faculty and students at UIUC. With a forty-year history of activism, CFA draws its membership from tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty, staff and retirees.

The Illinois Federation of Teachers (1FT) is made up of more than 100,000 teachers and staff in PreK-12 school districts, higher education professionals, public employees, and retirees throughout Illinois.

The mission of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is to advance academic freedom and shared governance; to define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education; to promote the economic security of faculty, academic professionals, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and all those engaged in teaching and research in higher education; to help the higher education community organize to make our goals a reality; and to ensure higher education’s contribution to the common good.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.

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