September 15, 2011
AFT President Randi Weingarten Calls on University of Illinois-Chicago
To Begin Bargaining with New Faculty Union
Illinois Education Labor Relations Board Certifies Union as One Bargaining Unit
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten today called on the University of Illinois-Chicago administration to begin bargaining with UIC United Faculty after the full Illinois Education Labor Relations Board certified the union as one bargaining unit.
"An overwhelming number of full- and part-time, tenure-track and nontenure-track faculty have indicated their desire for one democratic voice," Weingarten said. "We now call upon the university to recognize and respect that by sitting down and engaging in the collective bargaining that the law requires.
"Working together through collective bargaining creates the best path for achieving a world-class research university that provides a quality education for all its students and a chance for a better life for all who work there," she added. "This will make a great university even better."
In April, representatives of UIC United Faculty—jointly organized by the AFT, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors—delivered hundreds of signed union authorization cards to the board, more than the majority needed to certify the union under Illinois law.
It marked the first time in Illinois history that a large public research university's faculty had organized a union. The broad coalition of faculty from across different academic departments voted to have one union represent tenured, tenure-track and nontenure-track faculty. The union includes contingent faculty—those instructors not under the tenure system and currently hired at will. Having a union will give contingent faculty the legal right to fair treatment and due process, and will give them the academic freedom to vigorously express their views.
In July, an administrative judge upheld the election, but the university appealed. Now, with the state board certification, the UIC United Faculty will contact university administrators to discuss how they can work together to strengthen the university and to stop wasting taxpayer money on further appeals.
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.