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.
Following a strike that lasted more than two weeks, Will County employees are expected to resume work Thursday now that a tentative agreement involving the workers' contracts has been reached by AFSCME Local 1028 and the county.
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.
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