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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:42pm
Fri Dec 6, 2013

UIC Faculty Union Votes To Authorize Strike; Contract Negotiations Continue

Union members of the University of Illinois at Chicago United Faculty (UICUF) voted this week to authorize a strike. Union officials, however, say they will continue contract negotiations with the university's administration through early January, with the help of a federal mediator, in an effort to avoid a walkout.

"We will only take strike action once every other avenue of influence has been exhausted and the bargaining team believes there is no other way to make members’ views clear," the union wrote on its website before the strike authorization vote, which occurred Monday through Thursday of this week.

About 79 percent of the union's 800 members participated in the vote this week, with over 95 percent saying they backed the option to strike, if necessary, for a fair contract, union leaders said.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:57pm
Thu Dec 5, 2013

Seniors Rally Against Social Security Cuts, Tell Congress Not To Balance The Budget On Their Backs (VIDEO)

With Social Security reform on the table during congressional budget talks to reduce federal spending, about a dozen protesters, most of which were retirees, gathered in downtown Chicago Thursday to call on Congress to reject proposals that “balance the budget on the backs of seniors.”

“Keep your hands off our Social Security,” chanted the protesters who, organized by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) and the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, rallied at Federal Plaza.

The protesters urged Illinois’ congressional delegates to reject any legislative proposal that boosts the retirement age above 67, increases means testing for Medicare premiums or changes cost-of-living-adjustments to a chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation formula.

“This is becoming a budgetary issue, but it’s a matter of priorities,” said Jay Lewkowitz, 65, congressional district coordinator for the NCPSSM. “Our country needs to tell Congress that taking care of an aging population and making sure our safety net stays intact is a priority for us.”

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
5:15pm
Tue Dec 3, 2013

Illinois Lawmakers Ram Pension Reform Bill Through, Labor Preps For Legal Fight (UPDATED)

The Illinois General Assembly passed a controversial pension reform bill Tuesday, and labor is now prepping for a legal fight.

The House voted in favor of the bill 62-53 and the Senate barely passed the measure with a 30-24 vote. The bill needed 30 votes to pass through the Senate.

State Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora), who was the lone member of the ten-person, bipartisan conference that didn't vote for the bill to move out of committee said the state's pension debt is the fault of the state legislature — not public employees and retirees. She also pushed back against House Speaker Michael Madigan's (D-Chicago) assertion earlier today that the pension system was "too rich" for what the state to afford.

“I believe this was actually more caused by the fact that we as a state did not make our pension payments as we should have even though the employees worked and their full payments were made,” Holmes said. “So I think a lot of this problem stems from the fact that we actually didn’t do what we were obligated and should have done.”

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
12:10pm
Tue Dec 3, 2013

Illinois Lawmakers Poised To Rush Vote On Controversial Pension Reform Proposal

All eyes are on Springfield Tuesday as state lawmakers are expected to take another shot at approving legislation that addresses Illinois' $100 billion in pension debt, which is the worst in the nation. Progress Illinois takes a look at the proposal and includes some of the reaction about the plan thus far.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:45pm
Thu Nov 7, 2013

UIC Faculty Union Rallies For Higher Wages, Speedy Contract Settlement With Administration (VIDEO)

A few hundred University of Illinois at Chicago United Faculty (UICUF) members and their supporters rallied on campus Thursday afternoon, calling on the institution's administration to settle their contract with the union.

Back in 2012, UICUF was legally recognized to represent all full-time tenured and non-tenured UIC faculty. The union has been negotiating with the university over a contract for 15 months, and faculty members say a resolution is not in sight.

"We all realize now, over the last month or so, things have slowed down at the bargaining table," said UICUF President Joe Persky. "When money was tight, when we sacrificed for the university, when we gave up to help our students, the campus thanked us. But now when ... it's time to pay us back, they have stopped negotiating."

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