SDS supporting the strike of University of Illinois at Chicago faculty. (Fight Back! News/staff)
Chicago IL -The United Faculty union at the University of Illinois at Chicago went out on strike, January 17. United Faculty (UF) represents the 1500 full-time tenured and non-tenured faculty at the university. The strike announcement comes after nearly 300 days of negotiations between the administration and UF.
The union is demanding an increase in starting pay for non-tenured faculty, improved access to mental health resources for students and faculty and stronger protections for survivors of sexual assault and harassment.
In emails sent out to the whole student body, the university administration claimed it simply can’t afford the additional $17 million in expenses needed to raise wages and provide the same mental health services as the Urbana-Champaign campus. Bargaining has revealed that on top of its nearly $4 billion-dollar annual budget, the university has $1 billion in unspent reserves.
Members of the local SDS chapter have joined the picket lines, along with more than 500 students and workers, in support of their faculty. When asked why he supported the faculty strike, Apollo Blair, a third-year architecture student and a member of SDS, said this, “Our professors didn’t want to go on strike. The administration refusing to give in to perfectly reasonable demands just for their own greed has made it impossible for our faculty to keep working. We stand behind our faculty and their demands 100%. They make UIC work.”