For more than a year, management has rejected living wages or fee waivers for its most critical frontline workers, the highly skilled teaching assistants and graduate assistants who anchor UIC’s mission.
CHICAGO, March 19, 2019—CTU President Jesse Sharkey issued the following statement today in support of striking University of Illinios/Chicago graduate and teaching assistants.
“Every worker deserves a living wage, yet for more than a year, UIC’s management has insisted instead that the workers who are the bedrock of the university live in poverty. It’s wrong for any employer to treat its most essential workers this poorly – and it’s particularly outrageous when a wealthy institution like UIC engages in these deplorable practices.”
“These workers teach UIC’s classes, anchor the university’s research programs and represent the next generation of academic excellence that grounds UIC’s reputation as an academic institution. Yet they are paid barely $18,000 a year – a wage that cannot support a single individual, let alone a family. A huge number of these workers are immigrants who are barred from outside work—and for most, juggling a second or third job with their teaching and academic responsibilities is essentially impossible.”
“UIC has the money. For the last three years, UIC has given its president a $100,000 annual bonus. The university’s enrollment is booming. Management has embarked on a billion dollar infrastructure program. Yet management continues to refuse to treat its most critical frontline workers with dignity. These vital laborers deserve living wages and an end to exploitation, and it’s long past time for UIC’s management to reset its distorted priorities and settle a fair contract with UIC’s GEO, the Graduate Employees Organization. To do any less is to make a mockery of the values of the institution, and undermine the next generation of scholars that management claims it is committed to nurturing.”