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Loyola University faculty union threatens to strike April 4; next talks Monday

Loyola University Chicago’s non-tenure track faculty union voted to ratify a three-year contract | Sun-Times file photo

Loyola University Chicago’s non-tenure track faculty union is threatening to strike next week if an agreement isn’t reached in its next bargaining session with the university.

Plans for the April 4 strike were announced on March 16 by the union representing non-tenure track faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, The Loyola Phoenix reported. The union’s contract demands include better pay and more job stability.

Non-tenure track faculty unionized in 2016, and have negotiated with the university ever since. The faculty are represented by Service Employees International Union Local 73.

Alyson Paige Warren, an adjunct instructor who’s been with Loyola for over 10 years, said progress was made in negotiations on March 28, and she hopes an agreement can be reached in the bargaining session scheduled for Monday.

Does she think a strike will occur?

“I absolutely hope not,” Warren said.

“We’ve said to the administration that we would love nothing more than for 4/4 to be a celebration, for 4/4 to be a time when we can be celebrating the fact that we’ve reached a contract that serves us all better,” she added. “That being said, we don’t see it as us walking out on our students. We see it as standing up for our students.”

Loyola has also stated it doesn’t want a strike to take place and that all striking faculty will not be paid during a strike.

“Loyola does not want a strike and is eager to continue negotiations to reach an agreement. However, we are prepared and equipped to put our students’ intellectual and spiritual needs first during a possible strike. It is highly disappointing that the Union would call a strike and disrupt our students’ education,” the university wrote in part in a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times.

But Loyola instructor Sarita Heer said many students have expressed support for the faculty.

“Many of us have talked to our students about this and why we would do this and many of our students understand,” Heer said. “And many of them have offered to also be on the picket lines with us if we do have to go on strike.”

Lead negotiator Larry Alcoff from SEIU Local 73 said April 4 was chosen as the strike date both because the negotiations have been going on for two years and because it’s the 50th anniversary of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination; King was killed in Memphis, where he had gone to show support for striking sanitation workers.

Alcoff said the union is working hard for an agreement but is prepared to strike.

“For (Loyola), it’s not a question of ability,” Alcoff said. “It’s a question of will.”