UPDATE: U of I Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Vote To End Strike

May 01, 2016

Non-tenure track faculty will be back in class Monday at the University of Illinois Urbana campus, after union members voted to suspend their strike.

The Non-Tenure Faculty Coalition Local 6546 announced Sunday evening that its members had voted unanimously to "suspend all strike activity", after negotiators reached a tentative agreement. The union says its entire membership as well as interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson and interim Provost Edward Feser have been informed of the vote.

Union members were on strike for a total of four days over the last two weeks, and were scheduled to strike for the final two days of spring semester regular classes in the coming week. However, the NTFC now says it expects classes to resume their normal schedule on Monday.

The union says a contract ratification vote will be held on Thursday, May 5. 

Details of the five-year contract are to be shared with union members in the coming days. In a news release, the union said the tentative agreement "covers most high-priority issues for the union". In the past, the NTFC has said those issues including ensuring multi-year contracts for longer-serving non-tenured faculty. As of Sunday afternoon, no specifics had been released.

But an administration news release says the agreement "preserves the flexibility of units to offer multi-year contracts according to their own needs and financial capacity". The administration has argued that decisions on offering multi-year contracts should left be up to individual departments. 

The contract is the first with the university for the union, which has about 500 instructors, researchers and other faculty. They typically work on one-year contracts and are not part of the tenure system that offers professors and others job protections.

Negotiations began in October 2014, and the union has complained of slow progress. In recent weeks, bargaining sessions were held with a federal mediator.

Non-tenured faculty on the University of Illinois Chicago campus already have a contract. 

Faculty members at many universities across the country have complained in recent years about the growing reliance on non-tenured instructors, who often make less money.

Story source: WILL