By John Dodge
CHICAGO (CBS) — The faculty at University of Illinois-Chicago will walk off the job on Tuesday and Wednesday, protesting lack of progress on a new contract, union officials told CBS 2.
The union and UIC administrators have been trying to reach agreement on the first-ever contract for the faculty, which formed the union about two years ago.
The impasse is largely over pay increases for the nearly 1,200 members.
The union is looking for a 4.5 percent merit raise this year, while the university is offering 3.25 percent, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The two sides also cannot reach an agreement on salary increases in future years.
CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports UIC’s quad was pretty barren Monday, but Tuesday and Wednesday, it will be filled with hundreds of protesting faculty members and their supporters.
Joe Persky, President of UIC’s faculty union says they’re fighting for more job security, higher pay, and better facilities among other things.
“We’ve got faculty who are making $30,000 a year, many of them with PhD degrees,” said Persky.
A university spokesman says the school just doesn’t have the money.
“We have very little left in terms of recurrent unassigned dollars. We don’t know the future of the state and its budget. We can’t raise tuition any higher,” said UIC spokesman Lon Kaufman.
The two-day strike will likely impact at least one class taken by each of the 16,600 undergraduate students at UIC. Many have been warned by their professors.
“They’ve told us what they want us to do as far a homework and studying goes, so that aspect of my education won’t be really altered,” said UIC freshman Janelle Redfield.
Redfield says she supports the faculty, and she’s not alone. Some students say they’re even planning to walk the picket line too.
“This is something that requires solidarity,” said UIC senior Annie Gould
The union will be striking from 9 a.m.-4.p.m Tuesday and Wednesday. The strike will not affect the faculty in the schools of Medicine, Dentistry or Pharmacy and it will also not have any impact on UIC’s hospitals or clinics.
UIC has created a website for details from the university on the status of negotiations at facultycollectivebargaining.uic.edu.