UIC Faculty Begins Two-Day Strike

UIC faculty members protest what they believe are low wages

By Michelle Relerford
|  Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014  |  Updated 2:46 AM CDT
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Faculty begins  two-day strike over low wages. Michelle Relerford reports

Faculty begins two-day strike over low wages. Michelle Relerford reports

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Hundreds of faculty members from the University of Illinois at Chicago began a two-day strike Tuesday to protest what they believe are low wages.

The University of Illinois at Chicago United Faculty (UICUF) union and the school administration have been locked in a stalemate over a contract for more than a year.

"We are striking to win the attention of the board, the city, the state of the nation and it's time to put our university back together," UICUF president Joe Persky said.

Union members say the school is not willing to pay the faculty what they're worth.

"I make 30,000 a year before taxes," UIC lecturer John Casey said. "If you're in my position and you're working just this one job, you find yourself with about $100 dollars a month to pay the bills."

Some of the unresolved issues in the contract include better classroom conditions, merit-based promotions and compensation, and a living wage for non-tenured faculty.

Administration say that since this is a new union, there is a learning curve.

"This is the first contract. It requires a lot of time to make sure it's right for everyone, especially the students, because they are the ones that pay their money to come here," UIC provots Lon Kaufman said.

Meanwhile, many of those students feel stuck in the middle.

"A lot of kids have exams, it's midterm time. We're missing out on class time," student Lubna Mirza said.

"I think they should comply with what they want so we can have classes. I have midterms next week and I don't have professors right now," student Dana Hamed said.

Officials say about half of the classes were affected by the strike. The union plans another picket line on Wednesday and the two sides are scheduled to continue negotiations Friday.

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