The faculty union at UIC has voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, according to their Facebook page:
Over 95 percent of the members who voted gave the bargaining committee the authorization to call a strike, if necessary, in order to gain a fair and equitable contract. Rev. C.J. Hawking served as the impartial observer during the counting of ballots. Over 79 percent of tenure track and 79 percent of non tenure track members participated in this week's historic vote. — at University of Illinois at Chicago.
There are several stages to go before a strike could actually occur, including a mandatory attempt at mediation. Still, after the pension vote in Springfield, this is the second unfortunate day for the University this week. Members of the UIC faculty union who voted for the strike have made it clear that they are willing to sacrifice the education of their students and the reputation of their campus for the union cause.
As we have already shown, the justifications for the strike vote that UICUF has given can be – and in many cases already have been – dealt with through shared governance processes, without a faculty union, without union dues, and certainly without a strike.
We find the reaction of the UIC faculty union president to be particularly telling: "People are feeling really good, and now we're ready to try and go back and bargain this thing out."
We don’t think ANYONE should be "feeling really good" about the threat of an impending strike. And we don't think it is cause for celebration when faculty union representatives think they need that threat before they are "ready to try and ...bargain."
The announcement did include this unintentional bit of hilarity, however:
Rev. C.J. Hawking served as the impartial observer during the counting of ballots.
Who is this "impartial observer"?
Rev. C.J. Hawking is the executive director of Arise Chicago, a faith-based workers’ rights organization, and serves as the Harry F. Ward Minister of Social Justice at the Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church in Oak Park. She is the co-author of the award-winning book Staley: The Fight for a New American Labor Movement (University of Illinois Press, 2009) and a visiting lecturer in labor and social movements at the University of Illinois.
Reverend Hawking's scholarship has been nationally recognized and we don’t question her character. But, even in Chicago, you can't claim that an advocate for labor movements is an "impartial observer" of a union vote!
We do have a couple of questions. Normally in elections one announces the actual vote totals. We haven’t seen those numbers anywhere. And why is the union pooling the votes into one "95%" figure, if tenure and non-tenure track faculty are in different bargaining units, as mandated by the courts?
So much for "transparency"!
*** This blog is a jointly authored project by two people who believe that the campaign for tenure-track faculty unionization has damaged morale and divided our campus, and that a faculty union, if ever established, would erode academic quality and undermine our highly successful system of campus shared governance, which has earned nationwide praise.
We speak for ourselves. We have no organization behind us, we don’t ask for funding, we don’t pay national hired guns to come in and make the case for us.
We want to start a different campus conversation about faculty unionization, which we believe will be more thoughtful and substantive when people have all the facts.
We welcome and will consider postings from others expressing issues and concerns about faculty unionization. We know that many faculty are very upset about the possibility of working on a unionized campus.
If you see any information here that is inaccurate, please tell us and we will correct it.
If you share our concerns and want to help, please forward these postings to your friends and colleagues, and urge them to do the same. ***