Dispute over employment contracts leads to UIC faculty strike

Faculty members at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) have gone on strike to make a point. Tenured and non-tenured faculty members alike are fighting for employment contracts that bring non-tenure-track faculty members salaries more in line with their worth and the duties required of them. Some faculty members argue that higher wages would ultimately benefit students.

For instance, the head of the English department would like to require students attending the Chicago school to write senior theses, but there are not enough tenured professors to take on that kind of workload. Non-tenured professors could handle it, but the consensus is that it would not be fair to add those duties without additional compensation. The faculty is asking for a 27 percent pay increase for non-tenured faculty over the course of four years and 23 percent for tenured faculty over the same period.

Sources indicate that the university system of the past that provided educational programs for education's sake are disappearing. Universities tend to focus on programs that provide graduates with jobs when they leave the school. Options such as interactive video could provide students access to programs that otherwise do not attract a large amount of students.

UIC is not the only university contending with this type of battle. It is possible that there is more at stake than employment contracts. This is often the case for many businesses. Rarely are negotiations with employees or their unions simply about paying employees more or providing additional benefits. The business' profitability and success is often at stake as well.

Source: wbez.org, UIC faculty claim higher cause, Chip Mitchell, Feb. 19, 2014

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