News Local/State

UIC Strike Isn’t Slowing Urbana Unionization Effort


A 2-day strike by faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago this week isn’t deterring the efforts of some at the school’s flagship campus to unionize.

U of I Urbana campus communications professor Susan Davis is a spokeswoman for the Campus Faculty Association, a group that promotes unions to give faculty a stronger voice.  

She said the UIC strike was ‘regrettable’, but calls it ‘unprecedented, and that there’s nothing about it to make her believe the same would happen in Urbana

“This is an extremely unusual event in recent American labor history, and it’s an extremely unusual event in academic labor," she said.  "And there’s nothing inevitable about this, this doesn’t happen all the time by any means.”

But education professor Nick Burbules is among 150 Urbana faculty members maintaining the blog - ‘Preserving Excellence’, saying the UIC strike is the perfect example why they oppose unionization.  He said Chicago is the campus the CFA points to for their organizing:

“I think it’s the best predictor of what union dynamics would look like on this campus," he said.  "There’s every reason to think that similar kinds of conflicts would occur here. I think it’s a very negative advertisement for what union politics mean.”

Burbules says he feels "terrible" about the Chicago campus strike because others around the country and the world will identify it with the U of I as a whole.

One Urbana campus union, the Graduate Employees Organization, said it's backing the Chicago faculty's effort.