UIC faculty union wins pay raises, multiyear contracts

Written By BY SANDRA GUY Higher Education Reporter Posted: 04/25/2014, 06:10pm

After two years of bargaining, faculty union members at the University of Illinois at Chicago declared victory Friday with their first contract guaranteeing pay raises for tenured and non-tenured faculty and multi-year contracts for non-tenured faculty.

The three-year contract, ending in academic year 2014-15, was backed by 98 percent of the tenure-track faculty voting and 97 percent of the non-tenure track voting, said John Shuler, communications group leader for the faculty union.

The vote took place over the past four days.

“We feel good about what we got, and that we were able to negotiate one contract for tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty together,” said Lennard Davis, a UIC English professor and bargaining committee member. “We’re a young union. What we didn’t get this time, we’ll focus on next time, and we’ll go back to the table before next summer.”

The union represents 1,100 tenured and non-tenured full-time faculty.

Highlights of the contract, retroactive to Aug. 16, 2012:

■ Faculty will get retroactive pay raises averaging 6.75 percent for the past two years plus a 1-percent raise on top of a campus wage increase next year. The campus wage increase is believed to be between 2 percent and 2.5 percent for next year.

■ A minimum yearly salary for full-time, non-tenure track faculty of $37,500, a 25-percent increase. Before the contract, the average was $30,000.

■ $1,500 for research and professional development in 2014-2015.

■ A guaranteed 10-percent raise when a faculty member gets promoted.

■ Also, the contract reconfirms the faculty’s traditional role in governance and curriculum development.

Talks had stalled prior to an April 16 tentative agreement between the two sides. Previously, the union had asked for a 3.5 percent salary increase while the administration had stuck with a 2.75 percent offer.

The two sides also had argued over increasing salary and promotion opportunities for full-time faculty who are non-tenured, and boosting the pay of certain long-term faculty who make less money than their newly hired peers.

The faculty staged a two-day strike in February to call attention to a lack of progress in the lengthy talks — the focus of national attention since UIC is one of only a handful of top research institutions to form a union — and had set a new strike date before reaching the agreement.

“We look forward over the next few weeks to make sure the contracts’ many provisions are fairly and openly implemented, especially in regards to the salary pool distribution,” Shuler said.

University spokesman Bill Burton late Friday repeated the administration’s statement that had been issued when the agreement was completed: “Both sides in this long process have been focused on the teaching, research and service missions of the university, and this agreement will allow us to move forward together to serve the city and the state and, most of all, our students.”

Burton then said the agreement must now move on to the university’s approval process.

Email: sguy@suntimes.com

Twitter: @sandraguy

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