Faculty Strike Ends at U of Illinois at Chicago

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University of Illinois at Chicago’s faculty strike is over, just before its second week was to start.

The university and the union, UIC United Faculty, each announced the strike’s end and a tentative agreement early Monday morning.

Union members haven’t yet voted on the new contract, so the walkout could resume if members reject the deal. It’s unclear when that vote will be.

The union, which represents faculty who are tenured or tenure track and full-time non–tenure track, tweeted:

“Key wins for @UICUF in this #faircontract are: Non-contractual, public commitments on expanding resources for #studentwellness and establishing psychoeducational testing[.] Increased minimum salaries for the lowest paid faculty: $60,000 [non-tenure track] and $71,500 [tenure track.] 20 percent raise pools over the course of the 4-year contract[.] Stronger job protections for non-tenure track faculty[.] Expanded Non-Discrimination & Anti-Harassment policies[.] Increased professional development funds[.] And more…!”

In the last contract with the bargaining unit, the minimum salary for non-tenure-track faculty was $50,000 and the minimum for tenure track was $65,000.

As of last Tuesday, when the strike began, the union was requesting a $61,000 minimum salary for non-tenure-track faculty and $77,000 for tenure track, and a $3,000 base salary increase for all faculty in the first year of the contract.

The university’s offer, as of last Tuesday, was a $54,000 minimum salary for non-tenure-track faculty that would grow to about $58,400 by the fourth and final year of the new contract, and a minimum $67,600 for tenure-track faculty that would grow to $70,300 by year four.

As for student mental health wellness, the university said back then it had approved a “$4.47 million plan to enhance student mental health services,” but it kept insisting “a clause regarding student services does not belong in a faculty employment contract.”

In a statement emailed around 1:20 a.m. Monday, university officials wrote that “the agreement is subject to ratification by the union’s membership and approval by both parties. Details of the agreement will be provided after ratification.”

The statement–from Javier Reyes, interim campus chancellor, and Karen Colley, acting provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs–said all classes and labs will continue.

“The parties were able to find common ground on an overall contract that addresses various faculty concerns and bridges the gap in compensation offers,” they wrote. “However, there may be challenging financial times ahead that will require further collaboration with our faculty, staff and administrative leadership to control or reduce costs, as well as improve the retention and graduation rates of our students, to enhance the financial stability of the institution. The negotiation teams for UIC and UICUF and the independent federal mediator deserve credit for their steadfast work to reach a resolution.”

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