UIC faculty and administration reach deal, ending 4-day strike newstrendslive



After a nine-hour bargaining session Sunday — and months of negotiations — the University of Illinois at Chicago administration reached a tentative agreement with faculty and staff who had been on strike since Tuesday.

UIC United Faculty, the union representing 1,500 tenure and nontenure faculty at UIC, has been bargaining for a new contract that ensures increased pay, more funding for student services and job security since April, and had worked without a contract since Aug. 16.

After the union failed to reach an agreement during a marathon bargaining session Jan. 16, union members headed to the picket lines Tuesday alongside students and organizers.

Charitianne Williams, the UICUF’s communications chair and an English lecturer at the school said the bargaining session on Sunday ended late into the night.

“We’re very, very happy with the contract,” she said. “I got home a little around 1 a.m. I haven’t stayed up that late since I was in my 20s.”

The final breakthrough at the table came when both sides were hammering out the details of financial bumps, she said.

“We had to do some trading to get that done, but we’re finally able to hit that $60,000 minimum for nontenure track, which was a real benchmark for us,” Williams said. “At one point we had 170 faculty observers in on the Zoom just listening in. The whole room just erupted as soon as we realized we had gotten what our membership needed.”

In a statement, UIC officials said, “The parties were able to find common ground on an overall contract that addresses various faculty concerns and bridges the gap in compensation offers.”

Classes resumed Monday.

“Some of my colleagues on the bargaining team had class at 9:30 this morning; they were really happy to be back in the classroom,” Williams said.

Along with increasing minimum wage salaries for the lowest paid faculty, the new contract also provides stronger job protection for nontenure track faculty, expands nondiscrimination and anti-harassment policies, and promises a more robust system to deal with mental health issues with the same access to psychological and neuropsychological assessments for their students that the University of Illinois already provides to students at the Urbana-Champaign campus.

zsyed@chicagotribune.com



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