By Shawn Gilmore, NTFC President :: Apr 21, 2017 :: Colleagues —
A busy week for NTFC Local #6546–with Stewards elections just wrapped up, we are in the midst of officer and chair elections, meaning that a couple of weeks from now, we’ll have a somewhat reorganized Executive Council. It also means that I’ll be turning over presidential duties, including this update–more on that in a later iteration. Read more about these developments and a lot more in our April newsletter.
This week, our Campus Labor Coalition finally met with University President Tim Killeen and Vice President Barb Wilson. We have been trying to arrange this meeting all academic year, and were even forced to hold a press conference last December to remind the President that it has become standard practice to hold such meetings periodically.
This meeting was attended by representatives from many of the major campus unions, including SEIU, AFSCME, CFA, Uni High, GEO, NTFC, AAP, Electricians, and the Pipefitters. Though we were restricted from talking about the specifics of bargaining, the coalition made clear that there are major disconnects between the administrative layer of the University and the impact on labor on campus. In particular, we raised multiple recurring issues related to belt-tightening measures now in place due to the state budget situation. We also made clear that we see major structural flaws in how the administration conducts its side of bargaining, which was repeatedly led to long bargaining cycles on all three campuses, forcing unions to take work actions in situations that they might not have otherwise. Finally, we indicated that we would be willing to coordinate and give fuller feedback about these broad issues if the administration would do its part to reach out. I’m happy to detail this more fully if anyone is interested.
At Springfield, our colleagues of UISUF are gearing up to strike, if need be. They have made clear that they don’t want to do so, but are responsibly preparing their members. Follow them here or on their facebook page. I’m sure there will much more on this next week, but for some context, just a year ago we were on strike after the same pattern of bargaining (and a bit over three years ago, UICUF were forced to strike as well).
Nicely coinciding with those potential event is next week’s “Teach Out” for Higher Education in Springfield (link), on April 27. A bus is leaving from UIUC, departing from the Armory, between 4th and 5th at 8:30 am on April 27th. Anyone (NTFC, CFA, GEO, undergrads, etc.) who wants to go can sign up most likely still can here.
And, locally, there is a March for Science tomorrow (4/22) in Champaign (link), an ongoing sit-in at the African-American Studies Department (link), and next weekend (4/29, 10-2), there will be an informational picket by Teamsters Local 568M, protesting the move of jobs from the local newspaper, the News-Gazette, as they work to get fair severance due to these changes.
Finally, we have two events coming up, and everyone is invited! On Thursday, May 4, we’ll hold our traditional end-of-the-semester “Work-In” at the Illini Union, from 10-2 (link). And the next day marks the one-year anniversary of the signing of our first collective bargaining agreement, so we’ll be celebrating with a potluck at our favorite local haunt, Quality (link). Mark your calendars now (fliers attached).
Later on today, our regulars will be out for our weekly Happy Hour today, at or around 5pm, at our normal location, Quality Bar, in downtown Champaign. Come on out if you’re local to celebrate the end of the week!