Members of the University of Illinois at Chicago United Faculty (UICUF) began voting Monday to determine whether or not to strike.
The UIC faculty union has been in contract negotiations with university officials for more than a year. Voting will continue through Thursday.
UICUF was legally recognized to represent all full-time tenured and non-tenured UIC faculty in 2012.
to union officials, the two sides have reached an agreement on a number of
points surrounding the contract. The union, however, argues that not enough progress has been made at the bargaining table with university officials beyond non-monetary and hortatory issues. In early November, both the union and the administration called for federal mediation to resolve their remaining differences involving the contract.
remaining sticking points include things like salaries and benefits.
According to the union, some of the unresolved issues its members are
calling for include a living wage, multi-year contracts and a "real system of promotion for a high quality non-tenured faculty."
The union is also seeking:
Faculty Control of Governance and Curriculum through the Senate, including expanding its role in budgetary decisions.
A commitment to improve students’ learning conditions in classrooms, labs, and access to support.
compensation proposal that acknowledges how, in the past, faculty took
furloughs and salary freezes in the past, and moves forward with a
system of compensation and promotion that is based on merit, responds to
equity disparities, and resolves long-standing problems with salary
“When money was tight, UIC faculty sacrificed for
students and the university," UICUF President Joe Persky said in a statement. "Now, with nearly a billion dollars in
surplus funds, the university president refuses to use even a small
fraction of those funds for faculty compensation. His position is not
only unwise, it's unfair.”
president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the statewide union
affiliated with UICUF, added that, “It is outrageous that the university
has increased tuition and burdened students with debt, all while
socking away almost a billion dollars of students' money."
as outrageous is that the administration has spent the students' tuition
dollars on increasing the number of administrative positions and
reducing the number of faculty,” Montgomery added.
Check back with Progress Illinois as this story develops.