"About two years ago, we formed our union, UIC United Faculty, above all in order to maintain and improve on the level of excellence that we've already achieved at UIC. Our English Department, for example, ranks highest among those at public universities in the region according to the National Research Council (NRC), and the NRC ranks us around 15 nationally (including English Departments at many top private as well as public research universities). But during the past ten years, years in which the University has amassed nearly a billion dollars in expendable reserves and your tuition and fees have skyrocketed, faculty appointments have plummeted, faculty benefits have eroded, and faculty wages have stagnated (several years at a time with no raises). As faculty have retired or left the university, a large percentage of the relatively small number of hires to replace faculty losses have been appointed under year-to-year contracts with no job security and at salaries that are lower in many cases than those of fast food workers. At the same time, administrative (non-faculty) appointments have grown proportionately larger in number, many with lucrative salaries and in some cases large signing bonuses.
We formed our union in part to call into question these ways in which the U of I Board of Trustees has chosen to allocate tuition dollars. We believe in our students' education and want to continue to do our best work to teach them and make their college degree meaningful.
Since our union was legally certified nearly two years ago, we've had more than 50 bargaining sessions over basic issues like salary, minimal job security for non-tenure system faculty (currently many have none), and faculty voice in areas like curriculum content, intellectual property, and standards of evaluation. The Administration continues to stall on these basic issues, and UIC professors continue to work without a settled contract. So far, the Administration has negotiated as if the faculty's contributions to UIC don't matter to our students' education. We believe the Administration's approach to these discussions is short-sighted, to say the least.
PS: You can follow us on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/c26hyej) and Twitter @UICUF."