CHICAGO, Jan. 19, 2023 — UIC United Faculty’s strike is in its third day — and the Chicago Teachers Union is proud to continue to stand in solidarity with our fellow trade unionists who were forced onto the picket lines this week.
As educators in Chicago Public Schools, we see a great many of our beloved students go on to pursue higher learning at UIC. Their learning conditions are UIC UF members’ working conditions.
Like CPS educators, UIC faculty experience crushing workloads made even more overwhelming by the needs of their students for emotional support in a time of great crisis and trauma.
UIC UF’s “common-good bargaining” — the recognition that we can and should put student needs at the center of our struggles — is a critical part of advancing a broad vision for the labor movement today.
“UIC serves a majority of students of color, who need not just their degrees, but support for their mental and physical health as they work to complete those educations,” said CTU President Stacy Davis Gates, who spoke at UIC United Faculty’s Tuesday rally. “Common good bargaining is the path to get us there — the only type of bargaining that is going to transform the very places where we work and we live for the better, for our students and the educators who serve them.”
Sadly, the university’s unwillingness to negotiate over measures that support students – particularly in relation to their mental health – sounds all too familiar to our ears.
But educators, too, need full access to disability and mental health resources.
It’s time for UIC to stop denying demands that amount to basic dignity for their employees. UIC administrators should come to the table with a responsible proposal that retains and attracts the faculty their students need. That means attractive compensation, adequate student support resources, and relief for excessive workloads. It means acknowledging the needs of educators who serve huge numbers of students of color, as an institution that ostensibly recognizes the importance of supporting students as an MSI, or minority serving institution and as an HSI, a Hispanic Serving Institution.
It’s particularly important that UIC strengthen job security and improve minimum compensation for non-tenure track faculty who teach the majority of courses at the university.
We stand wholeheartedly with UIC United Faculty as they fight for the university their students deserve. Solidarity!