Bargaining update

Bargaining update

This is the first of what will be a series of regular updates from your union’s Bargaining Team as we begin negotiations with the administration to improve all of our teaching and working conditions. It is an honor to be able to work on behalf of all of the dedicated faculty at Loyola. This is your union and our goal is to ensure your hard work is recognized and aided through our direct negotiations with Loyola’s administration. We want Loyola to be the best university it can be, which is why it is so important for all of us to have a strong voice and a strong union. If you have not gotten involved, please do so soon!

What is going on now?
  • We have had two preliminary meetings with the administration and, after some delays due to the selection of the new president, will be having our first negotiation session with the administration on Wednesday, June 15.
  • We are planning to have a General Membership Meeting, open to all union members (i.e., all non-tenure track faculty, both part-time adjuncts and full-time lecturers), at the beginning of the Fall semester. We will give updates, get feedback from the people present, and address any concerns and questions people have. We will let people know the date when it is finalized.
  • We are analyzing the results of the member survey about the improvements people would like to see at Loyola. We will let you know what we find when the analysis is complete.
Common questions and concerns

We want to make sure you are kept informed and continue to learn about how this process works. Below you find some common questions and concerns we have heard. We have added all of these to our FAQ page, which is constantly under development. You are encouraged to look there for answers.

Who is doing the negotiations with the administration?

The Bargaining Team is made up of volunteers from our membership of the union, including both part-time adjuncts and full-time lecturers, in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. We are being supported by staff from SEIU Local 73, including Nick Reid, a professional organizer, and Remzi Jaos, our “union rep”–a professional negotiator.

How is the Bargaining Team deciding what positions to take in negotiating with the administration?
We are drawing on 1) our own experience as non-tenure track faculty here at Loyola; 2) the results of the member surveys and what issues people said they wanted to prioritize in them; and 3) contracts that other faculty unions have won at other colleges and universities.

How long will negotiations take?
We cannot say exactly how long the process will take, but because this is the first contract ever negotiated by and for contingent faculty, it could take up to a year or possibly longer. We will be going over every aspect of our employment situation in fine detail in order to negotiate the best contract possible for ourselves, our students and the Loyola community. 

When will we have to start paying dues?
We will not have to start paying dues until we have a full contract negotiated and then approved by a vote of the members. Everyone should see rises in their pay that will more than offset the additional expense of the dues.

There are some aspects of my current position that I really like. I’m concerned they will be lost during negotiations.
We are taking the current situation as a baseline and moving up from there. We will not give up any of the positive things people already have. Any concessions we make during negotiations with the administration will be giving up some of the new improvements that we are asking for in return for the administration granting us another improvement that is a higher priority for our members. Any contract we negotiate will have to be approved by a majority of members in a vote. If the majority of members reject a contract because there’s parts of it they don’t like, we will have to go back and renegotiate those parts with the administration.Also, keep in mind that without a union there is no guarantee that you can keep any of the positives of your current situation. The administration or department chairs can take them away at any time. Some full-time lecturers have, for instance, had their course loads raised without warning. A union contract will lock all these positive things in so the administration can’t change them except through negotiation with the union.

Aspects of my job have already gotten worse. I’ve been told this is because of the union.
Legally, the administration and department chairs are required to keep things as they were before the union election until we complete contract negotiations. If they are changing your job in a way that makes it worse, this may well be illegal. Please contact union staff people Nick Reid (nreid@seiu73.org) and Remzi Joas (rjaos@seiu73.org) if this is the case. They will be happy to help you resolve your problems.

Won’t a union institute an adversarial relationship between the faculty and the administration?
How adversarial our relationship is depends on many factors. We believe that we share many interests with the administration, such as seeing the school well run, our students well educated, and ourselves as faculty having good working conditions that support us as teachers and scholars. At the same time, because of our different positions in the school–as administrators and non-tenure track faculty–we have different experiences and interests and may not always see eye-to-eye. Hopefully, we can resolve any such differences through the negotiations. However, the administration may choose to take a confrontational approach, where they refuse to recognize the legitimacy of our perspectives and concerns. Or we may decide that the administration is being obstructive and choose as a union to take a harder line to protect our interests as workers and teachers. 

Why are we being represented by SEIU? Aren’t they a janitors’ union?
Most major unions today actually represent people in a broad range of occupations, not simply the ones they represented when they first formed and you would guess from their names. SEIU has a long history of reaching out to people in occupations most other unions consider too difficult to organize–including non-tenure track faculty. The effort here at Loyola is part of SEIU’s nationwide Faculty Forward campaign to unionize non-tenure track faculty. The union staff are involved with campaigns at other Chicago-area colleges and have a national pool of knowledge and resources to draw on.

How can I get involved?
You can join the Bargaining Team. It currently represents a broad range of faculty, but we need more adjuncts and people from the social sciences. If you would like to join the Bargaining Team, contact Nick Reid (nreid@seiu73.org). 

You can join the Contract Action Team (CAT). The group will facilitate communication between the Bargaining Team and the union’s membership, both letting members know what the Bargaining Team is doing and letting the Bargaining Team know about any concerns the members have. If you would like to join the CAT, please contact Nick Reid (nreid@seiu73.org).

Follow the updates we will be sending out and let us know about any concerns you have. Come to the General Membership Meeting we will be organizing at the beginning of the Fall semester.

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