Faculty Union holds ‘work-in’ to protest slow contract talks
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On March 28, UIS United Faculty held a “work-in” outside of Chancellor Susan Koch’s office as a movement to protest “the slow pace of contract bargaining.”
The two parties – the faculty union and UIS – began meeting with the assistance of a federal mediator in August of 2016 to create an agreement. Some areas of contention within the contract include reappointment and promotion policies.
During the work-in, faculty members sat outside of Koch’s office and completed their regular work duties in an effort to put pressure on the university to complete the contract.
According to a statement released by Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice Jay Gilliam on the UIS United Faculty website, the union believes “a fairly negotiated contact where administration finally demonstrates its appreciation of the faculty will automatically improve morale and thus positively impact the student experience.”
The union feels that some of the university’s proposals for the agreement are “outrageous,” and that their concerns with the negotiations have not been heard by the Chancellor.
UIS United Faculty and the university have yet to reach an agreement after 19 months of negotiation.
Derek Schnapp, spokesperson for UIS, explained, “The university administration is anxious to get a contract agreement just as faculty members are.”
He continued, “Any time you craft a first contract with a newly formed union, negotiations take considerable time. It is the university’s practice to negotiate with all unions at the bargaining table rather than through the media, as we believe this is most conducive to constructive, good faith collective bargaining.”
UIS United Faculty is one of nine other unions on campus. The faculty union is one of the newest additions to join the union coalition on campus. Each of the eight other campus unions are recognized by the university and are covered under their respective agreements.