Public Education has been under attack for years and the current faculty strike at the University of Illinois Chicago is part of a larger conversation we need to have about what we value as a society. As we see an attempt to dismantle public institutions that educate, preserve, and model what democratic practices look like in action globally; public schools, higher ed, and cultural institutions are part of these conversations!
Faculty at the University of Illinois Chicago have been working without a contract for the last 5 months. On January 17th, we made the difficult decision to stop teaching in our classroom and walk the picket line! The UICUF bargaining team has met with UIC management for over 33 sessions with little movement toward meeting the needs of UIC students and faculty.
UIC UF is negotiating for the following:
- We seek raises that reward merit and address compression and equity, on top of keeping up with inflation. The standing offer from the administration would constitute an effective pay cut, given inflation. What they are offering for the next two years wouldn’t make up for the inflation of the past year.
- We seek greater job security and support for NTT faculty–now nearly half of UIC’s faculty–including earlier notice of reappointment, rolling contracts, protections against workload creep, and access to professional leaves. The administration will not entertain any of this.
- We seek a system of progressive discipline for tenured and tenure-track faculty that NTT faculty already enjoy. The administration has rejected our efforts to specify due process rights for tenured and tenure-track faculty.
- We want to require that administrators who ignore faculty votes in the shared governance process explain their rationale for rejecting faculty advice. The administration does not think that faculty deserve to know why their advice was not followed.
- We seek a minimum level of mental health care for our students, as well as access for UIC students to the same free evaluation for learning disabilities that students at UIUC enjoy. The administration doesn’t think such things belong in our contract, and hasn’t committed to realizing these support systems through other means.
As part of the strike, Justseeds Member William Estrada, along with many other artists, students, and community members have contributed to the picket line by making artwork to celebrate our collective power, the importance of defending public education, and the joy that comes from people coming together to model what democracy looks like in action!
To learn more about the Strike and how you can support visit https://linktr.ee/uicfacultyunion
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