UIC faculty union sets strike date

The nearly 900-member union has been working without a contract since mid-August and decisively authorized a strike last month.

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A UIC sign on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus

University of Illinois at Chicago administrators and the university’s faculty union have a little over a month to settle a contract and avert a strike.

Sun-Times file photo

Faculty members at the University of Illinois Chicago plan to strike Jan. 17 if their union doesn’t reach a suitable contract agreement by then, leaders announced this week.

“We’ve worked one semester without a contract,” UIC United Faculty union President Aaron Krall said. “We won’t work another.”

The nearly 900-member union has been working without a contract since mid-August and decisively authorized a strike last month with nearly unanimous approval from the 77% of members who voted.

Faculty members are seeking pay raises to make up for historic inflation, plus more defined workloads and stronger job security.

Union leaders pointed to UIC’s reported $1.2 billion in reserves as proof the university is “thriving economically” and can afford to fairly compensate its workers.

Kate Floros, a clinical associate professor of political science and member of the UICUF bargaining committee, said “faculty salaries have substantially lagged.”

“Especially at one of the most diverse universities in the country, which predominantly serves Illinois residents, we refuse to accept that teaching and learning should be last on the administration’s priority list,” Floros said.

UIC officials didn’t comment on the strike date. A spokeswoman cited a previous statement that said the administration is “confident that much can be accomplished through continued bargaining.

“All parties care deeply about our students and keep their best interests at heart,” the university statement said. “The university’s intent is to resolve these negotiations without any disruption to teaching and learning — especially as we head into finals.”

The two sides are meeting three more times in December. UIC’s spring semester begins Jan. 9, one week before the strike date.

UICUF last went on strike in 2014. The union later authorized a 2019 strike but settled a contract the day before walking out.

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