February 18, 2014
Kate Childs Graham
AFT, AAUP and IFT Statements on UIC United Faculty Strike
CHICAGO—Statements by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten; American Association of University Professors President Rudy Fichtenbaum; Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery, who is also an AFT vice president; and AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress Chair Howard Bunsis, on the University of Illinois-Chicago United Faculty two-day strike:
AFT President Randi Weingarten: "Our members voted to strike as part of their work to give their students what all students deserve. Reasonable class sizes, individualized instruction, support for cutting-edge research, and classrooms and labs that are safe and well-equipped are the rights of every student. Despite the university's determined and divisive efforts, the entire UIC community has come together to fight for high-quality higher education."
AAUP President Rudy Fichtenbaum: "From the outset, the UIC United Faculty has bargained and the administration has stalled. While the administration rakes in millions in profits, and has hundreds of millions of dollars in reserves, it refuses to pay faculty what they deserve. We support our brothers and sisters at UIC in their struggle for a fair and just contract."
IFT President Dan Montgomery: "It is outrageous that the university has increased tuition and burdened students with debt, all while socking away almost a billion dollars of students' money. Just as outrageous is that the administration has spent the students' tuition dollars on increasing the number of administrative positions and reducing the number of faculty."
AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress Chair Howard Bunsis: "How can the administration claim that it has offered a 'fair contract' when newly hired faculty make more than faculty who have been at the institution for many years? How can the administration claim that it has offered a 'fair contract' when many nontenure-track faculty earn just $30,000 a year (less than a living wage in Chicago)? How can the administration claim that it has offered a 'fair contract' when faculty, who have been teaching at UIC for more than 10 years, do not know until August each year whether they will have a job in the upcoming year? If the administration cared about the quality of education received by UIC students, it would have settled with the faculty after 18 months of bargaining."
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.