Meeting of the Faculty: non-tenure-track member Dorothee Schneider calls for “good faith” from Administration

Statement to the Meeting of the Faculty, October 13, 2014

Dear Colleagues, Dear Senate President Campbell, Dear President Easter, Dear Chancellor Wise, Dear Provost Adesida.

I would like to speak on behalf of the almost 500 non-tenure track (NTT) faculty who work on this campus and who do not usually participate in this meeting or the deliberations of the Senate.  A majority of NTT faculty voted at the end of last semester to be represented by a union.  On July 8, Local 6546 AFT/IFT was certified as the sole representative of NTT faculty on this campus for collective bargaining purposes by the appropriate state agency.

Since then the University has chosen to deny the legitimacy of our union as the representative of NTT faculty under law.  The University’s arguments have been unsuccessful with the state educational labor board, the Illinois Attorney General and an appellate court, but litigation continues and no serious negotiations have taken place.

My first question is therefore:  How, given this hostile and uncooperative behavior, can we proceed in our negotiations to solve the issues at hand and work toward common goals? How will you build the cooperative and collegial relationship between NTT faculty and University administrators, something you profess to prize above all?

Another matter that the University administration saw to almost immediately after our certification was a reversal of promised salary increases under the campus wage program, announced to great fanfare in June.  None of the NTT faculty on this campus saw any raises this academic year under this program. Our salaries are very modest to begin with and the salary freeze has resulted in considerable hardship for many.  Local 6546 has asked repeatedly that this freeze, which does not conform to existing labor law, be rescinded.

My second question is therefore: are you willing to take the lead and reverse the salary freeze for NTTs?

On behalf of the hundreds of NTT faculty on this campus I ask you to recognize our union, to unfreeze our salaries and to begin collective bargaining “in good faith.”

“Good faith” is what our university sorely needs. In this case, the law requires it as well.

– Dorothee Schneider, Lecturer, History Department