UIC faculty union agrees to Friday negotiations as strike continues
Dear faculty, staff and students,
While the UIC United Faculty, the union representing tenure/tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty with 51% time or more, including visiting faculty, remains on strike, we are pleased to report that the union has agreed to resume negotiations Friday, Jan. 20. The university had offered to meet today and Friday and is willing to continue talks over the weekend as well.
Out of 3,900 total faculty at UIC, approximately 1,500 faculty, or 38%, are represented by the bargaining unit. On average, UICUF members’ average annual salaries for nine-month appointments are $83,291 for non-tenure-track faculty and $134,031 for tenure/tenure-track faculty.
The parties have reached agreement on a significant number of non-economic issues. However, they remain far apart on the key issue of compensation with the union’s three-year proposal costing $9.3 million more than the university’s fair and fiscally responsible four-year offer.
The most current offer from UIC is as follows:
- Four-year contract.
- A $4,000 one-time lump sum for all faculty, prorated for full-time equivalent.
- Annual salary increases at 17.25% over the four-year contract.
- In addition to the annual 17.25% salary increase, increases to the salary minimum of 16% for non-tenure-track faculty and 8% for tenure-track faculty over the four-year contract.
UICUF’s proposal seeks:
- Three-year contract.
- A $3,000 across-the-board permanent salary increase (added to base salary before annual increase detailed below; will compound year-over-year) and is equivalent to a 2.24% increase to the average tenure-track faculty salary and a 3.6% increase to the average non-tenure-track faculty salary.
- Additional annual salary increases of 17.25% over the three-year contract (on top of the permanent salary increase).
- In addition to the across-the-board $3,000 salary increase and annual increases of 17.25% over the three-year contract, minimum salary raises of 22% for non-tenure-track faculty and 18.5% for tenure-track faculty each in the first year of the proposed contract.
Reaching a fair and equitable agreement for both parties continues to be UIC’s objective. Students should continue to check Blackboard and email for information regarding the status of their specific classes and labs. Please plan to attend if you have not been told the class or lab is canceled.
Please continue to visit facultybargaining.uic.edu for updates on negotiations, details on the bargaining positions of both parties and answers to frequently asked questions.
Acting Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Funding faculty salaries
The institutional base budget for university operations, which pays for faculty salaries comes from student tuition revenue and State of Illinois appropriations. While the university’s enrollment has grown, more than 78% of UIC students do not pay full tuition and undergraduate tuition rates are guaranteed not to increase for an enrolled student for their first four years. As part of the university’s commitment to increase access and affordability to students, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved a modest tuition increase of 1.8% for incoming in-state freshmen for the 2022-23 academic year, only the second tuition increase in the past eight years. A more substantial increase in tuition and class sizes would be necessary to fund the union’s proposal.
Union leaders representing faculty suggest the university has $1 billion in unrestricted reserve funds available to fund faculty salaries. The union is incorrectly referencing FY21 financial statements. The $1 billion amount UICUF is quoting is cash and not unallocated recurring budget funds and includes all operating funds both restricted and unrestricted (tuition, indirect cost recovery, royalties, grants, contracts, gifts for distribution, auxiliaries, the hospital and medical service plans) for all three University of Illinois campuses; UI Health, system-wide administration, etc. as our financial statements are consolidated.
The university must be very careful about utilizing reserve funds for recurring expenses. Committing one-time cash for permanent, ongoing costs like salaries would create a structural budget deficit that would soon deplete these funds. Maintaining adequate cash reserves is essential to the financial stability of any organization and any university, college or unit.
Student mental health
The university shares the union’s concern about the importance of student mental health. UIC has announced an approved $4.47 million plan and is strongly committed to further enhancing student mental health services with input from students and faculty. UIC continues to insist that a clause regarding student mental health services should not be associated with a single union contract.
As communicated earlier, the work stoppage is disappointing and detrimental to the university and its students. UIC will continue normal operations to the fullest extent possible. Classes and labs continue to be held as scheduled in the Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy and School of Law as they are not represented by this union, as are other University classes being taught by faculty also not represented by this bargaining unit.