CHICAGO — After nine-plus months of negotiations and failing to reach an agreement with administration during a marathon bargaining session Monday, faculty at the University of Illinois Chicago are going on strike Tuesday.
Faculty members of UIC United Faculty began their strike at 10 a.m. and it followed through on a promise that if an agreement wasn’t reached by midnight, it would be the next step.
A UICUF spokesperson told WGN they sent multiple proposals to management during the session that lasted 12-hours, ending in both sides failing to reach an agreement on five outstanding contract items.
Those items include higher minimum salaries, pay increases, learning disability assessments for students and more.
While the union is pushing for pay and support of mental health resources for students, UIC says mental health needs are met holistically, not as part of a single-union contract.
In a statement Monday, a spokesperson for the union said they have spent the last three years scrambling to mitigate the effects of the pandemic saying “our whole community, students and faculty are exhausted.”
The current contract expired in August and the unions said they’ll continue to picket until a tentative agreement is reached.
In a message sent out Monday, UIC says it is prepared to maintain good-faith negotiations, still saying they do not believe the strike is in the best interest of students.
School officials said while the union has indicated striking faculty will not teach their classes, it’s up to each faculty member individually. So, they’re encouraging all students to check their portal and email for information on the status of classes and labs.
Certain colleges, including medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and the school of law, are not represented by the union, so classes in those disciplines won’t be impacted, regardless of the strike.
Negotiations will resume Wednesday and — according to a UICUF spokesperson — faculty plan to picket from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day until a tentative agreement is reached by both sides.