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University of Illinois at Chicago


Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
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."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Oct 25, 2013

Study: Boosting Unionization Would Help Combat Income Inequality In Illinois

Although Illinois’ economy is “tepidly growing,” workers in the state are still worse off than before the recession, labor experts at the University of Illinois say.

At 9.2 percent, Illinois’ unemployment rate is still higher than pre-recession levels, and the state’s labor-force participation rate is on the decline, according to the experts' report “The State of Working Illinois 2013: Labor in the Land of Lincoln.”

Overall, wages have been sluggish for most workers since the turn of the millennium, yet the top 1 percent in Illinois earned at least 635 percent more than the median employed worker each year. All of this has taken place as a growing number of people in Illinois have plummeted into poverty. The percentage of those living below the poverty line shot up significantly from 7.8 percent in 2000 to 12.7 percent in 2012, according to the report.

The study’s authors noted that the decline in unionization is a key reason why the state has experienced such high levels of income inequality, which can stifle economic growth. The report suggests that increasing unionization would not only be a win for workers but also for economic growth in the state.

Quick Hit
by Michael Sandler
Tue Sep 3, 2013

Second Chance Summit Offers Hope to Ex-Offenders

Rita Allison felt hopeless.

Allison admits that she made some bad choices in her early 20’s, including committing felony retail theft. The offense ultimately led to a conviction, and Allison, now 55, says she has been unable to find steady employment since then due to her criminal record. 

The Bronzeville resident had been employed in the medical records field for years. But Allison said she got that job based on her resume, and didn’t have to provide a criminal history. However, things began to change for her in 2009, when she began looking for new work. Allison told Progress Illinois she was continually passed over for a number of jobs due to her felony record. Her husband, a veteran, receives a pension, but Allison says it isn’t enough to survive. As a result, she has gone without additional income for a period of time, causing her, Allison says, to lose her apartment.

But an upcoming event in Chicago might help Allison and others in her position. The Second Chance Summit, being held September 7 at the University of Illinois-Chicago Forum, will educate those with non-violent class three or four felony convictions on how to get the crimes expunged from their records. Legal volunteers from organizations including the Wiley Resource Center and Cabrini Green Legal Aid will provide free guidance, and members from the Urban Weatherization Initiative, an organization that trains Illinois residents to work in the green industry, will also be on hand to sign up participants for paid trainings.

Quick Hit
Fri Jul 19, 2013

Guest Article: Economy of the Squeegee — Carwasheros Organizing Across the Country

The following was written by Amy B. Dean, a fellow at The Century Foundation and co-author of 'A New New Deal: How Regional Activism Will Reshape the American Labor Movement', for Truthout.

In major urban centers, car washing is an industry that relies on full-time labor. Like many other low-wage jobs in the American service economy, the workers who perform this labor are mainly adults with families to support, and they are often recent immigrants. Once considered unorganizable, the "carwasheros" (as the carwash employees call themselves) are now standing up. They are demanding to be taken seriously as employees who shouldn't be expected to survive on a teenager's summer salary.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Jun 11, 2013

Report Reveals 1 In 5 Schools Considered 'High-Poverty'

About one in five public schools was classified as high-poverty in 2011, according to a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics.

In comparison, about one in eight schools was considered high-poverty in 2000. Schools are labeled high-poverty when 75 percent or more of the enrolled students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

Over the past two decades, the percentage of school-age children living in poverty has also increased, according to the report, “The Condition of Education 2013." 

“If poverty is increasing, there should be an increase in support for education, and instead our education policies nationally and locally are going the opposite direction,” said Pauline Lipman, professor of educational policy studies and director of the Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Fri Apr 26, 2013

Massive Bike-Sharing Program Ready To Roll Out In Chicago

Users of Chicago’s public transportation system will have an additional option for their commute come June, as the city prepares to debut a massive bicycle-rental sharing program.

Three-speed bikes painted “Chicago blue” will soon be available at docking stations across the city for a $7 daily pass or yearly membership of $75.

“This is really a big deal,” said Ron Burke, executive director of Active Transportation Alliance. “It’s going to give tens of thousands of Chicagoans every day more transportation options.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Fri Apr 19, 2013

UIC Graduate Workers Hold Strike Authorization Vote

Graduate workers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are voting on whether or not to authorize a strike after negotiations with university officials over a living wage fell short of their demands Wednesday night, according to members of the Graduate Employees Organization.

The voting process to authorize a possible strike began Thursday and will continue through Monday, which is the end of the union's next bargaining session with UIC's administration.

“I don’t think most of our members want to strike," said Neri Sandoval, a graduate assistant in UIC's Department of African-American Studies. "I think it’s something that, I believe, is an outcome of a series of events the university has led to."

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Mar 6, 2013

Quinn's Budget Address Pits Pensions Against Education, Social Services

Gov. Pat Quinn turned up the rhetoric on pension reform during today’s state budget address, largely putting the blame on lawmakers for their failure to act.