Family & Medical Leave: A Union Makes a Difference

Keeping up with professional commitments at a large research university can be daunting. Writing, publishing, teaching, grading, advising and professional development demand significant investments of time and energy. But many faculty members also juggle challenging family duties—having and caring for children, and often, caring for older relatives as well. Faculty need access to a rangeContinue reading “Family & Medical Leave: A Union Makes a Difference”

What is the Campus Faculty Association?

As we start the 2012-13 academic year, welcoming new students, faculty and staff, we want to take a moment to introduce—or reintroduce, as the case may be—ourselves. We are an independent organization of faculty from all ranks at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. The CFA (formerly the Union of Professional Employees – UPE) has aContinue reading “What is the Campus Faculty Association?”

Contingent Imaginations

When I expressed doubt about the job market to one colleague, she advised me, with total seriousness, to “re-evaluate what work means” and to consider “post-work imaginaries”. This quote from our latest posting, an account by a recent Anthropology PhD graduate, newly entering the academic work force, plays to the irony that many recent college graduatesContinue reading “Contingent Imaginations”

Being Clear on Pensions

A recent article in the News Gazette discusses the State Legislature’s failed attempts to pass any pension reform bill, describing the failure as one rooted in conventional political differences. House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, wants to shift those pension costs from the state to schools and colleges. Republicans and some Democrats objected fiercely, saying itContinue reading “Being Clear on Pensions”

The Power of Two: Leveraging Academic Senates and Faculty Unions

A recent blog post by Professor of Asian Studies, Teri Yamada, takes on questions about the compatibility of faculty senates and unions. She presents a concise argument that faculty unions and senates, maintaining their autonomy, yet working together, offer a strong defense against authoritarian administrations that seek to enact austerity measures that severely compromise theContinue reading “The Power of Two: Leveraging Academic Senates and Faculty Unions”

May 23 event on Tax Fairness in Illinois

SEIU invites you & yours to a presentation on Tax Fairness in Illinois: Wednesday May 23, 7-9pm University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St., Champaign IL 61820 Why can’t our State pay its bills? Our public employees’ pensions are in trouble because the State didn’t pay its fair share, right?  But why didn’t they pay?  They used the money to payContinue reading “May 23 event on Tax Fairness in Illinois”

State University, Inc., Episode One!

A new, original comic strip State University, Inc. by Damian Duffy and David O’Brien debuts here! State University, Inc. takes on current events, real and imagined, on the UIUC campus, reflecting them through a sincerely skeptical view. In the best tradition of comic commentary, the strip uses exaggeration and inversion, hyperbole and understatement to try to see things as theyContinue reading “State University, Inc., Episode One!”

The Dialectics of Distance

I’ve been thinking lately about the ways that secondary costs related to higher education are another source of expense (and debt) for students, faculty and institutions. Electronic information communication technology (ICT) is one obvious form of recent expense that has shifted from the periphery to the center. One of the ways that developments in ICTContinue reading “The Dialectics of Distance”

Who Benefits from Benefits?

Benefits and pensions are undoubtedly a complicated subject. In the “public sector,” they’ve also become a rather heated one. The debate is a well rehearsed one, one that usually follows a scripted battle between deregulated privatization versus government redistribution. A common rhetorical question is, “If most workers must provide for their own post-employment futures, whyContinue reading “Who Benefits from Benefits?”