The union representing 300 non-tenure track faculty members at Loyola University went on a one-day strike Wednesday — though the union said it was preparing to stay on the picket line for longer.
Emma Feeney, a member of the union’s bargaining committee who has taught biology at Loyola for nine years, said the strike was partly spurred by some last-minute counteroffers by the Loyola administration that would weaken union members’ job security.
“We’re down to more philosophical issues that are related to job security and the manner in which our faculty class, in particular part-time faculty, are being treated as disposable faculty,” Feeney said.
Feeney said the Loyola administration, at the last minute, countered the union’s offer in a way that would allow the university to not renew union members’ contracts “without cause.”
“This all came down very last minute,” she added.
The faculty voted about two years ago to unionize. They affiliated with Service Employees International Union Local 73 “and have been bargaining ever since,” according to a statement from the union.
The university contends that it’s done its part to meet union demands.
“Loyola University Chicago did not want a strike and is eager to continue negotiations to reach a fair and reasonable contract,” the university said in a statement.
“Through these negotiations, Loyola has made proposals that offer very competitive pay; enhanced job security; and greater clarity, consistency, and predictability for appointments – which directly meet many of the Union’s requests,” the statement continued. “Despite significant movement from Loyola, the Union continues to make demands that are not supported by the market and are not standard in many Chicagoland and peer university SEIU contracts.”
The union was holding march and rally Wednesday morning through the afternoon.
Feeney said that she and other union members had to cancel or reschedule classes in advance of the strike — which may go on for more than just a day, she said.
“We are in the process of making plans and discussions of how we can escalate this,” she said.