Union For UI Non-Tenured Faculty Schedule Strike Authorization Vote
The next meeting with a federal mediator on a first-ever contract for non-tenured faculty at the University of Illinois Urbana campus is set for April 27. But before that happens, the union involved in the talks will hold a strike authorization vote next week.
Non-Tenure Faculty Coalition Local #6546 spokesperson Dorothee Schneider says while the first two meetings with the mediator were helpful, they don’t feel they’re getting any closer to getting their demands met.
One such demand is for guaranteed multi-year contracts for non-tenured faculty based on years of continuous service.
Interim Provost Edward Feser has said that campus policy allows departments to offer multi-year contracts --- but it shouldn’t be mandatory.
“I understand their position,” said Feser about the union’s demand for multi-year contracts, following a bargaining session on March 9th. But he added, “I don’t think it’s good for our institution to have it built in, when we already have it based on our policies, and we’re committed to those policies.
But Schneider says a policy that makes multi-year contracts an elective choice for campus departments isn’t enough.
“They (the administration) present recommendations at this point, and most departments and units have not implemented these pathways,” said Schneider. “At this point, 19 of our 483 unit members are on multi-year contracts. That’s four percent.”
Schneider says the Non-Tenure Faculty Coalition wants multi-year contracts offered to all non-tenured faculty who have been teaching at the U of I for at least five continuous years. Their proposal is for 2-year contracts for those who have taught for 5 years or more, and 3-year contracts for those who have taught ten years or more.
Approval of a strike authorization question next week would still be several steps away from an actual strike. But Schneider says the vote will help union leaders understand members’ concerns, and weigh options for what to do next. Results from the vote are expected by next Thursday.