The UIC United Faculty (an AFT/AAUP union) announced a two-day strike next week:
After 18 months of bargaining, the faculty at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is headed for a two-day strike on Tuesday, February 18th and Wednesday, February 19th. UIC professors did not want it to come to this, but the trustees’ proposals continue to short change both faculty and students. UIC administration continues to hike tuition to the point it has amassed hundreds of millions in profits each year and more than a billion dollars in reserves, yet refuses to pay professors what they’re worth. Many members of the faculty who teach first-year students only make $30,000 a year!
Please join us at a number of events organized by UIC faculty to bring attention to their issues.
- Picketing: 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18 & Wednesday, Feb.19. Warming stations will be available both days.
- Rally: 10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb 18. Same location as picketing. Speakers will include faculty leaders, students, campus workers and community organizations.
- Overpass Light Brigade banner: 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday over the Racine/290 overpass. Participants will display LED lights with a message of solidarity for striking faculty to evening commuters.
- Demonstration: 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 18 outside the Battle of the Deans basketball shootout at the UIC Pavilion.
Faculty hope that a strong showing of support will convince the administration to settle the contract soon, with minimal disruption to students, as opposed to the possibility of a strike near the end of the semester.
- Picketing will be mainly around the lecture centers on the East Campus, but we will dispersing to the main classroom and administration buildings at certain times. If you are unfamiliar with the area, there is easy access through Student Center East at 750 South Halsted (just below Harrison). Enter the east side of the building, walk through to the west side, and you’ll be on the lecture quad. There is parking right across Halsted in the Taylor Street Garage (access via Taylor and Polk, just off Halsted). Student Center East is also 1 block south of the UIC/Halsted Blue Line stop (take the far east exit).
- Rally will be held on the lecture quad on the East Campus.
- West Campus picketers will have Public Health as a center. Go to the SPHPI building at 1603 W. Taylor Street. That’s where you’ll get your signs and further directions. To warm up, plan on going into the hospital lobby.
Strike headquarters and designated warming station will be at The Jane Addams Hull House during the day. The Hull House is located at 800 S. Halsted, Chicago, IL 60607. Food, coffee, and restrooms will be available from 9:00-4:00 at Hull House for those taking breaks from picketing. Labor films will also be playing continuously throughout the day. At night, strike headquarters will be located at the IFT office at 850 W. Jackson, Suite 220, Chicago, IL 60607
The Illinois AAUP issued this statement in support:
The Illinois conference of the American Association of University Professors expresses our strong support for the faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and their right to form the UIC United Faculty. We regret that the failure of the administration to negotiate in good faith with the faculty union makes a faculty strike necessary.
As the AAUP notes in its statement on collective bargaining, “As a national organization that has historically played a major role in formulating and implementing the principles that govern relationships in academic life, the Association promotes collective bargaining to reinforce the best features of higher education. The principles of academic freedom and tenure, fair procedures, faculty participation in governance, and the primary responsibility of the faculty for determining academic policy will thereby be secured. Moreover, collective bargaining gives the faculty an effective voice in decisions that vitally affect its members’ professional well-being, such as the allocation of financial resources and determination of faculty salaries and benefits. For these reasons, the Association supports efforts of local chapters to pursue collective bargaining.” Furthermore, the statement specifically notes that “Where a faculty chooses collective bargaining, the trustees and administration have a corresponding obligation to bargain in good faith with the faculty-selected representative and should not resort to litigation or any other means intended to avoid this obligation.”
Another core principle of a university is shared governance, where the faculty has a voice in the running of the institution. One key aspect of shared governance is that faculty chooses its own representatives, and the administration cooperates with those representatives. That aspect of shared governance includes the right of the faculty to form a union, and the administration is obligated to work with any faculty-chosen union.
The UIC administration needs to respect academic freedom and shared governance, and negotiate in earnest with the faculty’s chosen union representation.