UIC faculty union OKs contract with 6.75% average raises
CHICAGO — Unionized faculty on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus overwhelmingly approved their first contract, an agreement that guarantees raises averaging 6.75 percent combined for the last two years and higher starting salaries for lecturers and instructors.
"We're very happy with this, as happy as we can be given it took two years" to negotiate a contract, said John Shuler, UIC librarian and member of the union's communications group. "We're looking forward to making sure it's implemented transparently and fairly," he added.
UIC United Faculty is composed of two units: one for tenured and tenure-track faculty, another for non-tenure track faculty such as lecturers and instructors. The three-year agreements extend retroactively from the 2012-2013 academic year until the 2014-2015 academic year, ending in August 2015.
Faculty will receive average raises of 2.5 percent for 2012-2013 and 4.25 percent for 2013-2014, plus a payment of $1,500 for professional development. In 2014-2015 they will receive raises as outlined in the to-be-determined campus salary program, plus 1 percent for salary compression. Details of the campus salary program are typically announced in the summer. The contract also guarantees a minimum of a 10 percent raise when they receive a promotion such as moving from an assistant professor to an associate professor. The new contract also addresses issues of salary compression in some colleges in which salaries of some longtime faculty salaries have not kept up with market rates. The contract also includes a boost for the annual starting salary for lecturers from $30,000 to $37,500. The contract also establishes a promotion system for lecturers.
"We know it's not everything we wanted when we first started out. We also feel it is an excellent start and will provide a firm foundation" for the union, he said.
Shuler said members were pleased with the vote turnout, support among members and how tenure and non-tenure track faculty worked together during the bargaining process.
UIC United Faculty reached the deal earlier this month after negotiating with administration for nearly two years and holding a two-day strike in February. Another strike was planned for this month before the two sides reached the deal. Faculty voted on the contracts last week; 98 percent of those who voted approved the contracts, according to the union.
The union represents full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty and non-tenure track faculty outside of the medical, dental and pharmacy colleges on the UIC campus. That's about 1,100 people, according to Shuler. UIC United Faculty is affiliated with the Illinois Federation of Teachers/American Federation of Teachers.
Campus spokesman Bill Burton issued the same statement issued earlier this month from Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares and Provost Lon Kaufman in which the officials said they were pleased the two sides had reached an agreement.
"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," they said. The contract now goes to the university board for approval.