UI-Chicago, faculty union reach contract deal

UI-Chicago, faculty union reach contract deal

CHICAGO — The faculty union at the University of Illinois at Chicago has reached a tentative deal with administration on its first contract, the union announced Wednesday.

The union declined to release details until members vote on the contract; a vote is planned for next week.

UIC United Faculty have been negotiating a contract for nearly two years. A two-day strike was held in February and members authorized another strike to be held later this month. With the tentative agreement reached, that strike has been called off.

The union represents about 1,100 tenure-system and non-tenure track faculty on the Chicago campus. It's affiliated with the Illinois Federation of Teachers/American Federation of Teachers.

Faculty organized in 2011 and fought with the university administration over the union's original plan to include tenure track and nontenure track faculty in one bargaining unit. The union ended up establishing two bargaining units and has been negotiating two contracts.

Outstanding issues have to do with compensation, especially for some of the lecturers. The union also has been asking for multiyear contracts, which would provide some job security to lecturers and similar employees. Another area of concern was the need to address salary "compression," when some long-time professors' salaries have not kept up with market rates, according to the union.

In its statement released Wednesday the union said "many aspects of faculty work life and professional conditions are dramatically improved under the new agreement."

The agreements are subject to ratification and approval by both sides.

"We are pleased that the university and the union representing bargaining units for tenure-system and non-tenure-system faculty have reached tentative agreement on final contracts," said Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares and Provost Lon Kaufman in a joint statement issued Wednesday. "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."

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