By Abi Carlson and Alex Fashandi
On March 19, more than 1,500 University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) graduate and teaching assistants walked out of their classes in retaliation to the board failing to meet their requests for increased salaries, healthcare coverage, and decrease in administration fees.
The results of the strike, which was settled April 5 put a halt to hundreds of UIC classes for three weeks as professors were unable to teach without the help of their TA’s. This left students uncertain about what the strike meant for their future in the class.
After 31 bargaining sessions since March 2018, including nine while the GEO was on strike, the UIC administration and the GEO reached an agreement; is an $815 retroactive raise that graduate employees will see as early as their May paychecks, an overall increase of $2,550 over the next three years, a 50% reduction of the international student fee, and a reduction in healthcare fees from $295/month to $240/month for this year.
Following the successful end of the GEO strike, UIC administration faced the possibility of another walkout, this time from its professors. After a year of unsuccessful contract negotiations, UIC faculty was set to take over their TA’s picket line spot on April 23. The fear of another strike prompted the administration to act quickly and grant its faculty an increase in their salaries, as well as greater job protections for non-tenure track faculty.
“I am particularly excited about new policy protections for our Non-Tenure System faculty, who are integral to the teaching, research and service at UIC. This contract represents significant wins in an ongoing fight for the resources needed to fulfill UIC’s mission,” said Janet Smith, UICUF president.
An interactive timeline of the entire negotiation process can be found here.