Mission Statement

The purpose of this blog is to deconstruct the rhetoric and strategies of faculty union advocates at the University of Illinois. A consequential decision like this must be based on facts, not spin. Right now only one side of the argument is being presented to faculty. This blog represents the other side of the argument.

Sunday, January 19, 2014



Faculty union advocates here have cited UIC as their model for organizing. They are advised by the same state and national labor organizations.

Here is what the UIC union is doing. Is this the kind of environment you want to live and work in?

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: [OFFICIAL] Message from the Provost
From:    "Official Announcement"
Date:    Thu, January 16, 2014 12:32 am

Dear Faculty:

I am writing to express serious concerns about a communication that the union representing UIC faculty sent last Friday, urging faculty "to alert our students to the ongoing struggle over a faculty contract and the possibility of a strike this semester."

Alarming students and their families by suggesting that a strike is inevitable and may delay their graduation is indefensible. It is essentially using students as pawns in a power play to force faculty pay concessions. Equally regrettable will be the time and resources the campus will need to devote to preparing for a potential strike by faculty in the union.

A fair contract is being negotiated, now with the assistance of a federal mediator as jointly requested by both sides. It was the certification of a union as the "exclusive representative" of faculty (other than in the colleges of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy) that made the collective bargaining process necessary. Deans and department heads are no longer free to work with faculty to make compensation adjustments. Instead, the University must negotiate with the union on any matter concerning pay, hours and working conditions.

Pay raises consistent with the campus salary program provided to other faculty for 2012-13 and for 2013-14 have already been proposed by the University in union negotiations, and money has been reserved to pay for them.

The union's statements asserting that the University is stockpiling funds rather than granting higher pay raises for faculty is misleading. The dire state of the Illinois economy, along with delays in the State transferring appropriated funds (currently, the State is $400 million in arrears to the U of I) have required the University to adopt more conservative budgeting policies, including maintaining higher cash fund balances. These measures are needed to ensure our ability to continue University operations, meet payroll, honor our contractual commitments and provide needed financial aid to our students.

The very nature of cash balances has been a continuing point of misinformation. One-time cash cannot responsibly be used for permanent and ongoing costs like salary increases. As I have indicated in previous communications, most of our cash fund balances are spread throughout the campus, from the level of Principal Investigator to departments and colleges. These funds must be reserved for one-time expenses such as new faculty start-up, research "bridge" money, renovation projects and equipment purchases.

The union's statements about tuition increments over the last 10 years are correct but misleading. Our state allocations over the past 10 years have decreased by 33%. It is unfortunate that the only means we have to compensate for the loss of our state budget is to raise tuition, but this is necessary if we are to maintain the excellence in our academic, research, health care and public service missions. The city, the state, and especially the many underserved communities of Chicago depend on us.

I find it regrettable that the union leaders make it necessary for me to respond publicly to misinformation and polarizing statements, especially those designed to exploit the students during the mediation process. I remain committed to negotiating a fair and equitable contract for faculty in the bargaining units.


Lon S. Kaufman
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost 

Here is the original email from the UIC faculty union:

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
From: Information for members of UIC United Faculty  
On Behalf Of UIC United Faculty
Sent: Friday, January 10, 2014 11:42 AM
Subject: [UICUF] Speaking to Students about Possible Labor Actions

Union Colleagues--
As we go back to classes next week, many of us think it is appropriate and useful to alert our students to the ongoing struggle over a faculty contract and the possibility of a strike this semester. Here is a suggested statement (in italics) that you might want to read to your students on the first day of class. Feel free to adapt this as you see fit. 

I think you should know that our faculty union is considering a strike this semester which may impact this class and possibly (but hopefully not) graduation. We are still in negotiations with the administration but significant issues remain. I wanted to alert you to this situation.

Faculty at UIC have been working without a contract for a year and a half now. We have received only one raise in five years. Since 2007, tuition has gone up by more than 30%; the administration has stockpiled over a billion dollars during the same period. The number of administrators on campus has increased by 10%, none of them active in classroom teaching.

Over the same period, enrollment increased by 13% and the student to faculty ratio increased by 10%. 

The union wants you to be informed about the situation.  If you have any questions, please visit the union website or send an e-mail. 

*** This blog is a jointly authored project by two people who believe that the campaign for tenure-track faculty unionization has damaged morale and divided our campus, and that a faculty union, if ever established, would erode academic quality and undermine our highly successful system of campus shared governance, which has earned nationwide praise.

We speak for ourselves. We have no organization behind us, we don’t ask for funding, we don’t pay national hired guns to come in and make the case for us.

We want to start a different campus conversation about faculty unionization, which we believe will be more thoughtful and substantive when people have all the facts.

We welcome and will consider postings from others expressing issues and concerns about faculty unionization. We know that many faculty are very upset about the possibility of working on a unionized campus.

If you see any information here that is inaccurate, please tell us and we will correct it.

If you share our concerns and want to help, please forward these postings to your friends and colleagues, and urge them to do the same. ***