Saturday, April 9, 2016

Union news update

Catching up from a couple of days off . . .

AFSCME leaders are lobbying GOP legislators to override Rauner's looming veto of the mandatory arbitration bill. AFSCME negotiations determine the health benefits offered to all state employees, including university faculty. The bill would require arbitration in the event the two sides reach an impasse in bargaining. Rauner has said he believes AFSCME negotiations are at an impasse, and has asked the ILRB (Illinois Labor Relations Board) to certify as much. AFSCME disagrees that negotiations are at an impasse, arguing that Rauner is simply refusing to negotiate (which doesn't constitute an impasse).

If a legal impasse is reached, the employer has the right to impose their last contract offer--and the union has the right to strike. But by and large an impasse benefits the employer. Hence "impasse to implementation" is a common employer strategy for getting their way in union negotiations.  At least, unlike the Cheng administration, Rauner isn't just declaring an impasse without a legal ruling. Here at SIU, of course, the IELRB (Illinois Education LRB) eventually ruled that there was no impasse, which resulted in everyone getting four days of pay back after the illegal imposition of furloughs and imposed terms by the Cheng administration. Thanks are due to members of the Cheng bargaining team for not only saying revealing things about the bargain to impasse strategy in meetings but recording them in minutes.

NTT faculty at U of I consider some sort of labor action. The new UIUC NTT union is having a difficult time in negotiations; they are trying to win protections similar to those enjoyed by UIC NTT faculty, who are guaranteed two-year appointments after five years and three-year appointments after ten years. The UIUC plans for some sort of work stoppage/labor action short of a full-on strike are no doubt dictated in part by timing: the last couple of weeks of the semester are a poor time to start a strike. You maximize damage to students (a bad thing) at the end of the semester, and if you don't get things resolved at the end of the semester you're left in limbo over the summer, with no leverage and no pay (or at least no benefits, potentially, if you are on a nine month contract). (UIUC tenure stream faculty are not unionized, though they have an active Campus Faculty Association.)


  1. Point of information. Nobody has yet got back those four days of furlough deductions nor are they likely to at the present time.

  2. We got the money back about a year ago. My payment came on June 1, 2015.


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