Thursday marked 411 days without a contract and our 21st bargaining session. Progress continued from last session–we signed tentative agreements on the Health and Safety and Union Activity/Union Membership articles. These are important parts of our contract because they protect your right to participate in your union and strengthen the health and safety provisions that the University has to comply with under State and Federal laws.
We also discussed the articles about discipline and dismissal, and access to personnel files. Our discussion of the latter continues to be held up by the administration’s insistence that we could either dispute the (wrongful) inclusion of something in a personnel file through the grievance procedure or by pursuing legal remedies granted to us by state law. They want us to give up one of these avenues in favor of the other. They want us to bargain away our rights. We should not have “two bites at the apple,” as their lead negotiator called it.
On the Discipline and Dismissal proposal, we are waiting on some clarification from Administration about language we found problematic for establishing the right to just cause and arbitration.
At this session, we also demanded to bargain the impact of healthcare changes proposed at the state level that were brought to light by the clerical/staff worker’s union negotiations (AFSCME Local 3700) here on campus. We will contact you soon with more information and a survey for all bargaining unit members to inform the bargaining team how to proceed on this issue at the table.
Though we made continued progress in today’s session, we must keep up the pressure on the Administration to ensure this pace. Mark your calendars now for Thursday, December 10 (Reading Day), when we will hold our Work-In at the Illini Union Courtyard Cafe.
Want to see negotiations first hand? Our next session is on December 2nd 8:30am-11:30am. Contact our lead negotiator, Kay Emmert, if you will be attending at firstname.lastname@example.org.