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UIC, faculty union set to begin collective bargaining

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The university will begin collective bargaining with UIC United Faculty, the campus’ first recognized faculty union, after a year of legal actions related to the make-up of bargaining units.

The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board certified two separate bargaining units for UIC faculty June 28 — one for tenured and tenure-track faculty members, one for non-tenure track.

UIC United Faculty originally filed a petition for representation in April 2011 with a single bargaining unit for tenured, tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty.

The university filed a motion with the labor relations board to dismiss the UIC United petition on the grounds that state law does not allow a combined bargaining unit for tenure and non-tenure track faculty. The issue went before an administrative law judge, then the Illinois Appellate Court, which ruled in the university’s favor March 22.

After the appellate court ruling, UIC United Faculty filed authorization cards to establish two bargaining units.

UIC United Faculty is affiliated with the Illinois Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors.

Under Illinois law, a union can be certified either by election or by collecting signed authorization cards from at least 51 percent of the employees in the proposed bargaining unit.

To be represented by a bargaining unit, university employees must have a 51 percent appointment or more.

The law excludes supervisory, managerial and confidential university employees from union membership. Faculty in the colleges of Dentistry, Medicine and Pharmacy at UIC and the colleges of Law and Veterinary Medicine at UIUC are required to have separate, individual bargaining units. 

Under the law, once a union files a representation petition, the university must provide the labor relations board with the names of the employees holding positions the union seeks to represent.

The labor board decides whether the bargaining unit is appropriate under the law and the union has submitted the required number of authorization cards.


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