Statement on IPAC
The leadership of our association endorses President Killeen’s IPAC plan to provide accountable and stable funding for the University of Illinois. Earlier today, the Council on Academic Professionals announced their support of IPAC as well (https://illinois.edu/emailer/files/114359/ipac_oral_statement.pdf). This plan sets high standards that will benefit the students and citizens of Illinois while providing a reasonable investment in the present and future of the state. Further, removal of the onerous state regulations as outlined in the plan will increase innovation and decrease the regulatory costs that do not benefit our students. We encourage our members and all who wish to see the University of Illinois system succeed, to contact your state representative or senator and encourage them to support this plan (currently HB6623). You can find out how to contact them here: https://app7.vocusgr.com/WebPublish/controller.aspx?SiteName=UnivILAlumni&Definition=Home&SV_Section=Home
Please consider calling their office rather than email, as it is more effective. If you have any questions on this, please contact us.
At the state and national level, there have been a number of disappointing events that affect members in our local.
A court in Texas issued an injunction against the Department of Labor’s new FLSA guidelines from going into effect (see here). This means the new overtime rules will not go into effect on our campus. It seems unlikely that the new Department of Labor secretary will follow through with the implementation or defend it in court, but we don’t know yet if that is the case. The University has decided to go ahead with pay increases that were promised, however, in response to the FLSA rules. We are happy the University has chosen to do this as it follows our understanding of the relevant law and the collective agreement.
Health Insurance/AFSCME Labor Board Ruling
AFSCME lost its challenge before the state labor board (see here). They are still waiting on a written ruling and then it is likely that AFSCME will appeal. The consequences on University employees could be dire: There is the possibility that all state employees health insurance premiums will double retroactively to June 2016 (and they would be withheld from paychecks from the remainder of the year). The University’s presentations over the summer provide a little hope that might not happen. A a minimum the University wants the state to allow employees to choose a new plan and not allow the increases to apply retroactively. There is still much uncertainty around this issue and it might not be resolved soon.
In some positive news, the University has gifted employees three more holidays during the winter break. Most units shut down between December 25 to Jan 1 and employees are forced to take vacation days for the days not covered as a holiday or gift day during that time. The association, under the collective bargaining agreement, quickly confirmed to the University we agreed with their policy* and did not need to negotiate this (any change in benefits can be negotiated by the local). We are grateful to President Killeen and the leadership of each of the campuses for providing these extra days this year and hope they continue to do so in future years.
*There are some employees who will not get these days off because of the critical nature of their positions. They have the right to use these at later date during the school year. If they don’t use them by the end of the calendar year, they lose these days (similar to the floating holidays). If there are problems or concerns with how this has been implemented in your unit, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org