Mission Statement

The purpose of this blog is to deconstruct the rhetoric and strategies of faculty union advocates at the University of Illinois. A consequential decision like this must be based on facts, not spin. Right now only one side of the argument is being presented to faculty. This blog represents the other side of the argument.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014



Well, its official: the faculty union at UIC is on strike, and its already threatening another strike later in the spring.

We now have a perfect petri dish up at UIC to see what life with a faculty union looks like. Advocates here like to point to Rutgers, or Oregon, or anywhere else, and bring union supporters from those campuses to tell us how much they love their union and how great it would be for us.
Meanwhile, the campus that organizers here point to as their organizational model shows us how ugly and divisive collective bargaining can be. The state and national unions that have advised UICUF on the wisdom of a strike are the same ones that would represent faculty in Urbana. UIC is by far the best predictor of how collective bargaining would work on this campus – and the consistent support for the UIC union’s strategies from advocates here suggests that they think the union up there is doing just great.
And now, a strike that harms students, stokes anger, and alienates parents, taxpayers, and supporters of the university all across the state. We have yet to see the damage of public good will, campus stature and support in Springfield this strike will cost us.

Union advocates on this campus started by assuring us that faculty strikes are extremely rare. Now that we have an actual strike up at UIC, these same supporters are making excuses for the failure of the union to fulfill its promises by blaming The Administration that refuses to give them what they want. Every strike is like this: the union’s demands are always fair and reasonable. It’s never their fault.

But in this case here is what we know: The union at UIC increased their salary demands to more closely match the increases that faculty on this campus received (without a union) last year: on average, well over 4%.

The union at UIC continues to put issues on the table that are outside their legal scope of wages, hours, and working conditions. What does giving past practices the force of contract mean?

The faculty local at UIC is joined at the negotiating table by state union representatives, who are not UIC faculty, and who are making demands based on their own interests, which further complicate the negotiations.

This is a sad day for the University of Illinois. All its campuses, and all its faculty, will be marred by the actions of an activist group who do not even represent all the faculty on their own campus.

If you dont want to see this happen on our campus, please join our statement here:


(You can sign but withhold your name from public release, if you wish.)

UPDATE: At no time during the UICUF strike has the CFA ever issued any public statement of solidarity or support, which is not typical of how they have responded to other strikes. Because a strike at UIC is bad news for their organizing efforts here, they seem to have had trouble deciding how closely to embrace it. CFA Communications Director Susan Davis described it on WILL radio, vaguely, as "regrettable."

***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.***