UPDATE: Non tenure faculty to start second round of strikes after coalition vote

By Megan Jones, Writer Staff

Update 4:30 p.m.: Shawn Gilmore, President of the Nontenured Faculty Coalition and lecturer in the English department, said that the conversation between the union and the administration have commenced.

Gilmore said that the union has not yet settled any of what are called tentative agreements, but did start exchanging what looks like final language on a number of small issues that were outstanding and one of the union’s key two issues.

“We will require that the multi-year contracts be specified clearly in a final contract, so that doesn’t mean we are settled yet, but this is a really positive sign,” Gilmore said. “I made it incredibly clear to the Associate Provost, Katherine Galvin, that our members expect a clear and enforceable multi-year contract.”

Update 2:30 p.m.: According to the Non Tenure Faculty Coalition, the union is staying past their scheduled time with the University and a federal mediator to come to a counter proposal. The administration is making movements on reappointment notifications and rights, but not on multi-year contracts, according to a tweet from Kristen Wilcox, a senior lecturer for the English department.

Update 10:20 p.m.: Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson and Interim Provost Edward Feser sent a massmail Wednesday night alerting students of the further work action.

“We worked with the union bargaining team for more than 10 hours today,” they wrote.

Feser was “present and involved throughout,” except for two brief periods when he left to attend other meetings, according to the massmail.

“We made progress on several issues, ending with the delivery to the NTFC of a comprehensive proposal that was revised substantially from our initial proposals at the start of the day,” they wrote.

Wilson and Feser wrote they expect classes to be held during the strike and they will try to minimize any disruptions. Classes may receive a substitute teacher, have course sections combined or be moved to a different location.

“We regret the disruption another work stoppage will cause our students but we remain committed to arriving at a contract that is in the best interest of our university,” it said.


Original story:

Some University students might not have class during the last week of the spring semester.

The Non Tenure Faculty Coalition Local 6546 voted overwhelmingly Wednesday night to hold a five-day strike beginning Thursday morning. The strike will continue until Reading Day.

They will begin picketing around the English Building at 8 a.m. Thursday morning.

The strike will not occur during finals week according to an email Sydney James Slobodnik, senior instructor in English department, wrote to his students.

The NTFC and administration will meet with a federal mediator again on Friday, April 29 and all-day Tuesday, May 3.

Negotiations for the union’s first contract started at 8:30 a.m. and University negotiators proposed a comprehensive proposal later in the afternoon.

Lead negotiator Kay Emmert sent an email to members, stating they are willing to accept current statutes for academic freedom. But the University’s offer for multi-year contracts doesn’t contain enforceable language.

“We remain committed to working to find a pathway to creating the same protections for our members here at UIUC as our colleagues at UIC have, a fair and just contract,” Emmert said.

Members became hopeful after Interim Provost Ed Feser announced he would attend the session with a federal mediator. It is unusual and unprecedented, Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson said, but they wanted to make sure they are present and listening.

But, Emmert said, “The administration has made little movement on the issues that are most important to us: multi-year contracts and reappointment rights. … They merely want to codify the status quo.”

After not being able to come to a negotiation, the union encouraged supporters to call Feser and Wilson’s office.

“This resulted in some tensions as Interim Provost Feser and Associate Provost Katherine Galvin took issue with the phone calls coming into Feser’s office and demanded that the union’s bargaining team instruct supports to refrain from contacting his office,” the release stated.

The administration presented a series of proposals with general recommendations, though they contained little contractually binding language, according to a press release from NTFC.

NTFC has been in negotiations since October 2014 to create its first contract.

“We remain committed to working together through mediation to reach a fair agreement,” Campus Spokesperson Robin Kaler said.

During Monday’s Senate Executive Committee, Wilson said the administration is continuing to work hard on reaching an agreement and believes it is a good thing they are using a federal mediator. She said agreeing to a first contract always takes a long time, and they, too, feel that it’s been a long time.

Wilson said they are in agreement about many things and that Feser’s presence would help ensure the Union knows “we’re listening and we’re committed to making progress.”

She said one of the stickier points is multi-year contracts, as most non tenure faculty receive annual nine-month contracts. Wilson helped develop Provost Communications No. 25 and 26, which lay out promotion plans and multi-year contracts based off merit.

“Our biggest concern is making sure our departments and colleges are fully able to make sense of their financials and needs going forward without being completely prescriptive by the contract,” she said.

The union proposed two-year contracts after five years and three-year contracts after 10 years, Union President Shawn Gilmore said.

In the last two weeks, the union held a two-day strike followed by a two-day “work-in” in the Henry Administration Building and Swanlund Administration Building.

“We are not cancelling classes this week, but we are just coming in and out as a group and working together,” Architecture Lecturer Jennifer Burns said. “Everybody went back to teaching today, I’ve been seeing a lot of people grading, there’s been some student meetings. We’re just doing the normal work we always do.”

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