Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Faculty Union Negotiations
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1). Q: What bargaining units were certified by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB)?
A: The IELRB certified the UIC United Faculty Association as the exclusive bargaining representative of two bargaining units on June 28, 2012. In general terms, one bargaining unit consists of tenured and tenure track faculty and the other bargaining unit consists of non-tenured faculty. Each unit has its own generalized description that was approved by the IELRB:
- Tenure System Unit: All full-time (i.e., employees who have .51 or greater appointment as a faculty member) tenured or tenure-track faculty.
- Non-Tenure System Unit: All full-time (i.e., employees who have .51 or greater appointment as a faculty member) non-tenure system faculty who possess a terminal degree appropriate to the academic unit in which the faculty member is employed, and all full-time non-tenure system faculty without the appropriate terminal degree who have been employed for four consecutive semesters, excluding summer terms.
Excluded from the two bargaining units are all faculty members of the College of Pharmacy, the College of Medicine, and the College of Dentistry, and all supervisors, managerial and confidential employees as defined under the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (IELRA). Most of the exclusion determinations have been made (deans, department heads and chairs, and certain other administrative positions are excluded).
2).Q: What if a faculty member does not meet these definitions?
A: If a faculty member does not meet these definitions, they are excluded from the two newly formed bargaining units. For example, if an employee holds a faculty appointment of less than 0.51, he or she falls outside the scope of the two newly formed bargaining units.
3). Q: I am a faculty member who did not sign a card, am I still in the bargaining unit?
A: Yes. The IELRB certified the UIC United Faculty Association as the bargaining representative for faculty as defined in question 1. This was based on the IELRB’s determination that a majority of the faculty in each bargaining unit had signed cards authorizing the union to be their collective bargaining representative.
4). Q: Is there a difference between “being in the union” and being in the bargaining unit?
A: Membership in the union is a private voluntary decision on the part of a faculty member. Membership in the bargaining unit was decided by the IELRB as noted above.
5). Q: Will I have to pay union dues?
A: The union may require members to pay dues. Whether the eventual contract includes dues deduction or “fair share”—a mandatory fee for union services for non-members—will be determined in the negotiation process.
6). Q: What impact does the certification of the UIC United Faculty bargaining units have on the annual salary planning process for faculty in those units?
A: As a general bargaining requirement and principle, Illinois labor law requires an educational employer to bargain in good faith with a certified bargaining representative concerning “wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment.” The principle of good-faith bargaining also precludes an employer from making unilateral changes to mandatory subjects of bargaining for union-represented faculty. This concept of “no unilateral changes to the status quo” requires an employer to continue to apply policies and practices affecting mandatory subjects of bargaining.
7). Q: Based on the FY13 Salary Guidelines, faculty members covered by the bargaining unit are not eligible for the merit program. Why?
A: Merit or equity pay increases are mandatory subjects of bargaining and will be negotiated between the University and the union. Even if the union says “we have no objection” to the University implementing individual merit pay adjustments, the University has historically never implemented pay increases for employees in a new bargaining unit unless and until a comprehensive agreement is negotiated and ratified.
8). Q: How will FY 13 wages be handled for faculty members covered by the bargaining unit?
A: As noted above, they will be negotiated in the ordinary course of collective bargaining with the union. Typically, in collective bargaining the parties attempt to resolve non-economic language issues and then move to a discussion of the contractual wage or cost matters. The resulting mutual obligations in the union contract are implemented at the time the agreement is completed. The process of negotiations is fluid and the University will consider seriously the union’s proposals over mandatory subjects of bargaining. The University looks forward to concluding negotiations and reaching and implementing an agreement that is fair to all parties and stakeholders.
9). Q: What other pay adjustments are bargaining unit faculty eligible to receive based on the concept of the “status quo”?
A: There are a number of existing policies that provide for increases to base salary during the annual salary planning process. They are:
- Promotional increases as provided for in the Salary Guidelines based on promotions in academic rank and change in tenure status.
- Awards that specify a salary increase be provided to the recipient.
- Counter-offers and pre-emptive offers as defined in the Faculty Handbook, Section IX.G.
10). Q: What is the process for requesting a salary adjustment based on a counteroffer or pre-emptive retention measure?
A: Any counteroffer or other pre-emptive retention measure will need to be documented and approved by the Provost. Counteroffer documentation should include a copy of the letter from the offering institution and/or information on the offer being presented (the institution/agency making the offer, the contact person’s name and title at the institution/agency, and the terms of the offer). Pre-emptive offers should include a justification for the request, and supporting internal and/or external salary comparables. This documentation should be submitted through the normal administrative channels from the department head/chair to the Dean with final approval by the Provost.
11). Q: Am I able to renew a multi-year contract for a non-tenure track faculty member?
A: Yes, in accordance with UIC FPPG 100-102. While renewals to these special written agreements may be made, salary increases may not be provided for in the agreement.