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University of Illinois Chicago Faculty to Strike Tuesday After Failed Contract Talks – NBC Chicago

Faculty at the University of Illinois Chicago will go on strike beginning Tuesday after the union representing faculty and university leadership failed to reach an agreement on issues including compensation, according to a union representative.

UIC’s interim chancellor and acting provost wrote an email to the campus, informing them of the work stoppage.

“Unfortunately, the parties were unable to reach a resolution on five outstanding contract items during their 31st bargaining session, the 12th session held with the guidance of an independent federal mediator,” the joint email began.

The union, UIC United Faculty, says compensation is a key issue and maintains the university can afford to take demands for faculty raises seriously. In a news release, UICUF cited seven years of record enrollments and more than a billion dollars in unrestricted reserve funds.

“The campus is thriving, but many faculty are not,” said Nicole Nguyen, a member of the union’s bargaining team, said in the release. “We have spent the past three years scrambling to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, and our whole community–students and faculty–are exhausted. Management needs to invest in resources that strengthen our entire community.”

Until both sides reach a tentative agreement, faculty will be picketing between 10 am and 3 pm daily. In addition, a rally will take place each day at noon on the East Camps Quad, with local legislators as well as members of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and American Federal of Teachers expected to speak, according to the union.

The union and campus leadership have made progress on certain issues, including expanding mental health services for students. In a letter to the campus community, university leadership unveiled a plan to commit $4.47 million over six years to enhance student mental health services.

Charitianne Williams, UICUF communications chair, in an email called the initiative a “good first step”, adding “we hope they will make more significant investments in our campus community than they have currently committed to.”

The university says it’s committed to continuing normal operations “to the fullest extend possible.”

Students are advised to check Blackboard and their email for information regarding the status of their classes and labs. Additionally, according to UIC officials, classes will be held as scheduled in the Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy and School of Law, as the union in question doesn’t represent faculty in those areas.

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