New Union Responds to Challenges

10/24/11 Update:
The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board on Friday rejected a request from the University of Illinois at Chicago administration to stay an order certifying the faculty union. This is good news for the faculty and the latest in a series of findings that the faculty does have the right to bargain collectively. In its ruling, the board said "We find that granting a stay in this case would be contrary to the public policy that supports a duty to bargain. In addition, we find that there is not a reasonable likelihood that the Employer will succeed on the merits."

9/15/11 Update:
Today, the full Illinois Education Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of the faculty union at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC), certifying the group as one bargaining unit. UIC United Faculty will immediately contact the administration to bargain a first contract.

The faculty voted last spring to have one union represent tenured, tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty, but the administration has been fighting against this. The faculty union called on the administration to get down to work with them on strengthening the university and to stop spending student and taxpayer dollars on appeals.

“We have followed the law, and previous case law clearly shows that we have every legal right to be recognized as one union,” said Lennard Davis, Distinguished Professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UIC.

For more information, visit uicunitedfaculty.org.

7/13/11 Update: An Illinois judge has sided in favor of the new AAUP/AFT union at the University of Illinois Chicago after the administration challenged the union's inclusion of both tenure-track and contingent faculty. The court found that faculty in tenure-track and contingent positions have enough in common to form a single bargaining unit, and that the language in the Illinois law regarding faculty unions does not bar adjuncts from joining..

Original Post 5/19/11:

For Immediate Release: May 19, 2011
Contact: Dave Comerford (IFT)

Chicago, IL—The University of Illinois-Chicago faculty who recently voted to be represented by a union vowed today to fight for their legal and democratic right to a voice at their institution, despite the university’s legal efforts to deny them that right. The university has filed a motion to dismiss the faculty’s petition to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board to form a union.

“We are profoundly disappointed that President Hogan and the university would treat faculty in such a hostile manner. We carry out the university’s mission and should have input in making UIC better for students and the instructional staff,” said Patricia O’Brien, associate professor with the UIC College of Social Work. “Instead of wasting tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on legal fees to create a wedge between faculty and administration, the administration should respect the will of its workers and begin negotiations immediately on a first contract.”

The faculty union members said they regretted that the university was adopting tactics used by other states to attack public employees and thwart their democratic right to form a union.

“Collaboration and respect—not conflict—at the bargaining table is the best avenue to ensure that UIC provides a quality education and acts in the best interest of students,” said Lennard Davis, distinguished professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UIC.

On April 29, representatives of UIC United Faculty, jointly organized by the American Federation of Teachers, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors, delivered hundreds of signed union authorization cards to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, more than enough to certify the union under Illinois law. The faculty voted to have one union represent tenured, tenure-track and contingent faculty who have appointments of 51 percent time.

On May 6, the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois filed a motion to dismiss the union’s petition, contending that nonpermanent and tenured or tenure-track faculty should not be part of a single bargaining unit. The university hired a well-known union-busting law firm to handle its case, Clark Baird Smith. UIC United Faculty sent a response to the IELRB earlier this week in opposition to the university’s motion to dismiss the union’s petition.

“We have followed the law, and previous case law clearly shows that we have every legal right to be recognized as a union,” said Darold Barnum, professor of managerial studies at UIC. “We call on the administration to end this attack on faculty and work with us to strengthen our university.”

For more information, visit http://uicunitedfaculty.org.

Media Contact: 
Dave Comerford
Publication Date: 
Monday, October 24, 2011