Chicago faculty prepare to strike

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The University of Illinois-Chicago United Faculty has organized a two-day strike—Feb. 18 and 19—as part of its efforts to ensure that students there get what all students deserve: reasonable class sizes, individualized instruction, support for cutting-edge research, and classrooms and labs that are safe and well-equipped.

"Despite the university's determined and divisive efforts," AFT President Randi Weingarten says, "the entire UIC community has come together to fight for high-quality higher education."

University of Illinois-Chicago

The University of Illinois-Chicago United Faculty is a joint affiliate of the AFT and the American Association of University Professors. "From the outset," says AAUP President Rudy Fichtenbaum, "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."

Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery, who is an AFT vice president, calls it "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," he adds, "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 asks how the UIC administration can claim 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."

Send a message of support to the UIC United Faculty. Follow the conversation about the strike on Twitter: #UICstrike. [AFT-IFT-AAUP press release]

February 18, 2014