Chancellor Message 5/2/11

Message to Campus
RE Faculty Unionization Efforts

Faculty and Staff,

By now it is likely you have heard that faculty seeking to establish a union at UIC have announced they have filed authorization cards with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB). While we have not received official notification from the IELRB, we will respond fully and cooperatively to IELRB if such official notification occurs. In the meantime, we wanted to briefly address some of the issues raised by this announcement.

We hope that all faculty who signed cards realized this did not mean they were calling for an election - a process of open debate on the merits of unionization, followed by a secret ballot. The organizers utilized a provision in the Illinois law that allows unions to use a "card check" process as a method to certify union representation in the public sector. Anyone who signed a card was, in effect, voting for unionization.

Until we actually receive the notification from IELRB, it is unclear which positions are in the union's proposed bargaining unit. State law defines the appropriate bargaining unit as tenure-system faculty in all UIC colleges except Dentistry, Medicine and Pharmacy. The news release from the union says the bargaining unit includes "contingent faculty." The University will oppose any effort to combine temporary faculty with tenure-system faculty into a single bargaining unit.

If the IELRB eventually certifies the union as the "exclusive representative" for the faculty in the unit, UIC then would deal with the faculty union as we do with the other 19 organized bargaining units on our campus. We endeavor to maintain an atmosphere characterized by respect for each other as individuals and for the roles we play collectively in support of our students and patients and in pursuit of our common goals for UIC. At a time of historic challenge, we all need to work together to keep UIC moving forward.

We will keep you apprised as the situation develops. Thanks to every member of our community for your hard and excellent work on behalf of our students, patients and the public we serve.

Paula Allen-Meares,

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