From Jordan Sellers – Instructor, English.
As an educator and a parent, I get it. You have no free time. Neither do I. So why am I pausing to write this amid lesson planning for tomorrow, returning student emails, and the myriad of other duties that need my attention? Because I care about you and about the state of higher education.
Because I care, I serve as NTFC’s Bargaining Research Chair. Last week, while out visiting new faculty members on campus, a colleague in a different department asked, “Hey aren’t you all paid for your time?” The thought seemed to be that, at the very least, the person who negotiated the contract was paid, right?
It may be comforting to think that the people doing this work are being paid for it, but no. I’m a volunteer for a union of teachers that we all build in our “spare time.”
For free. 100% volunteer.
While grading papers and fielding emails. While conferencing with students and serving on department committees. While building and prepping classes. While pursing professional development.
During all of it, we, the volunteers that staff NTFC, work to make UIUC a better place. This summer, while visions of pools and patios beckoned, we negotiated a contract that guarantees more protections and benefits to our members than ever before.
Our Lead Negotiator wasn’t paid for this work. Our Bargaining Team wasn’t paid for this work. I wasn’t paid for this work. In fact, all of the members taking their time to serve NTFC are doing so entirely pro bono. We volunteer to make UIUC a sustainable workplace for specialized faculty—to insure you can be there when your students need you.
I tell you that to tell you this: We can’t continue to make UIUC better without member contributions—even if that contribution is only financial. Think of it like the PBS pledge drive, if you like: “without members like you.”
To help, you don’t have to serve on a committee or knock on doors (though we would love you to join us). You don’t have to come to meetings or social events (but there’s usually good food). You don’t have to come from a union background and know how to organize and advocate already (I didn’t).
If you want to help make UIUC a thriving, sustainable work place for all Specialized Faculty, all you need to do is sign the card and pay the dues. With member support, the work can continue.
Your Colleague & Volunteer NTFC Bargaining Research Chair,