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Message 7/13/11

Message from the Provost – Faculty Unionization Efforts

Dear Colleagues,

This is an update on faculty unionization efforts at UIC.

Yesterday, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB)'s administrative law judge issued a recommended decision that a bargaining unit should be certified as the union has proposed - combining tenured and tenure-track faculty with contingent faculty.

The judge's recommended decision gives both the university and the union seven days to submit what are called "exceptions," and the university intends to do so. The matter of what constitutes an appropriate bargaining unit then would be taken up by the full IELRB, which would issue a ruling. This is all part of the statutory process for determining bargaining units for public educational employees in Illinois, which includes a decision by the full labor board and the right of either party to apply for and obtain judicial review of orders issued by the board.

The university believes state law is clear - that a faculty union at UIC must consist only of tenure-system faculty (excluding the colleges of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy). Non-tenure system faculty were formerly mentioned in the statutes defining appropriate university bargaining units, but in 2003 the General Assembly amended the statute and removed the reference to non-tenure track faculty. This legislation also voided any earlier Labor Board rules, decisions, or regulations to the contrary.

Let me emphasize again that the university is not attempting to deprive faculty of the right to organize, nor is UIC anti-union - we have 19 organized bargaining units on our campus. But faculty organizing must be done in a manner that is legally allowable - i.e., one bargaining unit for tenure-system faculty, and another for contingent faculty.

I will provide you with further updates as developments occur.

Sincerely,

Jerry L. Bauman
Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost

LINK: Administrative Law Judge Recommended Decision – July 12, 2011