06/29/2012

Let the bargaining begin, say Chicago faculty

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Despite a yearlong runaround from the boss, faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago never lost sight of the prize—their right to have a voice through the legal process of collective bargaining. On June 28, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB) officially certified the UIC United Faculty as the exclusive bargaining agent to represent the nearly 1,000 full-time tenure-track and full-time nontenure-track faculty in two units.

Jointly organized by the AFT, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors, the UIC United Faculty filed as one unit last year under Illinois' card-check law and was certified by the IELRB. But the university went to court to block the union. After a March 22, 2012, decision from the Illinois Appellate Court saying the faculty must organize as two units, the members collected the new cards in record time and record numbers.

With the final certification, the union says on its website that it "hopes that the administration will respect the will of the faculty and realize that collaboration through collective bargaining is the best avenue to achieve the university's mission of research, teaching, and service."

"The ability for faculty to have a voice through collective bargaining is the best way to strengthen the university and ensure that its students receive the highest-quality education now and in the future," says AFT president Randi Weingarten in a statement. [Barbara McKenna, Troy Brazell]

June 29, 2012