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UIC Faculty Union Votes to Strike if Necessary for a Fair Contract

4/10/2014
University has money to provide faculty with a fair and equitable contract and avoid labor action on April 23

CHICAGO – Last night, members of the University of Illinois at Chicago United Faculty (UICUF) voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if current negotiations fail to gain a collective bargaining agreement that sustains the quality of education at the world-class research institution. Talks at the bargaining table have been going on for two years, and the Union conducted a two day strike in mid-February.
“The heart of UIC is its faculty and its students, but the Illinois board of trustees short change them both”, Joe Persky, UICUF president said. “They take more of our students’ tuition money, and even with hundreds of millions in profits each year and more than a billion dollars in reserves, they refuse to pay professors what they're worth. Many of our faculty who teach our first-year students only make $30,000 a year. The administration’s priorities don’t match our mission, and after trying to negotiate a fair contract for two years, they leave us no choice but to strike again. It’s time for the University to settle this contract now."
While the union and administration reached agreement on a number of points since the February strike, vital issues remain unresolved. UICUF members are asking the Illinois Board of Trustees to settle the remaining issues through binding arbitration, but University President Bob Easter dismissed the opportunity to resolve the dispute and settle the few remaining differences in this fashion.  In addition,  the administration insists on restricting the “fair share” provision, which is part of every other university union contract currently in force.
“The Union will only strike if the University forces us to do so,” Persky continued.  “We will head back to the bargaining table and try to settle before we take the labor action. We realize it could hurt our students, and hope it does not come to that.  But we are fighting for them as well, and the administration has the money and ability to avoid this disruption.  If there is no serious movement towards resolution at the bargaining table, we will go on strike starting April 23.”
At its core, UICUF fights to preserve UIC's academic and urban mission as the largest public research institution in the greater Chicago metropolitan area. Its faculty members are committed to  providing accessible public higher education to Chicago area residents and demand:


  • A living wage, multi-year contracts, and a clear system of promotion for non-tenure track (NTT) faculty that recognizes their teaching, research and service.
  • A commitment to improve learning conditions for the students.
  • A compensation proposal that can sustain the UIC mission by attracting and retaining best faculty of the and that undoes the disastrous effect of furloughs and salary freezes in the past as well as addresses equity disparities and salary compression.

The University’s false claims about their financial position have been debunked by UICUF.

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About UICUF: Local 6456 (IFT/AFT) is legally recognized to represent all full-time tenured and non-tenured faculty at UIC. It is committed to realizing the mission of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) as a public research university in a democratic society; making sure that every member of the faculty shares in the traditions of shared governance; making the promise of shared governance a reality through the power of collective bargaining; and keeping the principles of academic freedom, free speech and free inquiry central both to our union and our university.

 

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