May 3, 2011

University Senate Supports Retention of Full Seniority when APs Converted to Civil Service

THE UNIVERSITY SENATE on April 21 unanimously passed a letter to be sent to University Board of Trustees Chair Christopher G. Kennedy and University President Michael J. Hogan opposing the reclassification of Academic Professional positions to Civil Service without retention of seniority accrued throughout an employee’s entire Academic Professional career at UIC.

CURRENTLY, WHEN APs are converted to Civil Service, they retain only the seniority for their last AP position, but do not receive seniority credit for all their previous AP positions at UIC.

THE LETTER had been drafted by AP Senators William S. Bike, Jacqueline M. Berger, and Jill M. Davis.

THE LETTER read in part that APs “have taken new positions on campus in an effort to advance their careers and have done so in good faith, assuming that the University had properly classified these positions as Academic Professional. By not allowing seniority accrued from all positions an individual has held, many of these employees who have ten-to-20 years of experience at the University, will be reclassified as Civil Service with only one-to-two years of seniority. This means that if position elimination occurs in their new Civil Service classification, many of these individuals will be at the bottom of the ‘bumping tree’ and could be laid off in favor of other employees with less total experience at the University.”

BERGER USED herself as an example to illustrate the concerns to the Senate. While she has been employed at UIC for over 15 years, she was recently promoted and has been in her current position for less than two years. If she is converted, she will have less than two years of seniority - the other 13 years of service to the campus will not "count."

THE LETTER also notes, “Academic Professionals are a vital part of the University’s ability to respond to the needs of the citizens of the State of Illinois. Inequitable treatment of their years of dedication to the University will have a devastating impact on the daily operations of the University and on the level of service we provide our students. We encourage the Board of Trustees and the President to ensure the protection of full seniority during the process of conversion of Academic Professional positions to Civil Service classifications.”

BIKE, BERGER, and Davis on the Senate floor explained the reasons for the letter before the Senate took a vote. They addressed the concerns of faculty, who comprise most of the Senate roster.

“CIVIL SERVICE personnel are subject to ‘bumping’—removal from their position should a Civil Service employee with greater seniority seek that position,” Bike said. “So if a faculty member had a particularly skilled assistant in his or her department who had been an AP and now is Civil Service, that person would be subject to bumping, and could lose that qualified assistant. A way to protect against that is for the University to count all of our seniority.”

TO SEE a recording of the Senate meeting, click below.  Discussion of letter runs from 17:24 to 25:12.

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