In the fight for better working conditions, educators at the University
of Illinois in Chicago won a major victory this week with a ruling by
the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) that allows tenured and non-tenured
faculty and staff to be unionize as one.
When the UIC United Faculty campaign filed to unionize its teaching staff, delivering nearly 1,000 cards signed by the educators, the university immediately pushed back earlier this spring. The school issued a notice that said they would fight to have separate unions for tenured faculty and non-tenured faculty, effectively watering down their collective bargaining powers.
At that time, Lennard Davis, a professor and former head of UIC’s English department, said the chancellor and provost put “down the gauntlet" on the prospects of the union, citing a "loophole" to keep the tenured and non-tenured faculty from unionizing together. "They want to weaken us, and divide and conquer, and spend taxpayer and tuition money [on it]," Davis said.
Of the ALJ's decision to allow all educators to unite as one union, UIC Professor Victoria Persky said in a release: “We applaud the Administrative Law Judge’s finding that tenured, tenure track and non tenure-track faculty should be in the same bargaining unit. Indeed, we are virtually indistinguishable in the courses we teach, the committees and service we provide, the research we do, and the recognition we provide.”
Moving forward, the union hopes they can finally have a say in the curriculum to strengthen the institution's academic offerings. “We have followed the law, and previous case law clearly shows that we have every legal right to be recognized as one union,” Davis said in the release. “We call on the administration to end this attack on faculty and work with us to strengthen our university.”