One-hundred twenty years ago, Eugene Victor Debs, socialist leader and presidential candidate, led the great Pullman Strike in Chicago in 1894. Image added by blog.
February 14, 2014
The Illinois conference of the American Association of University Professors expresses our strong support for the faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and their right to form the U.I.C. United Faculty. We regret that the failure of the administration to negotiate in good faith with the faculty union makes a faculty strike necessary.
As the A.A.U.P. notes in its statement on collective bargaining, “As a national organization that has historically played a major role in formulating and implementing the principles that govern relationships in academic life, the Association promotes collective bargaining to reinforce the best features of higher education. The principles of academic freedom and tenure, fair procedures, faculty participation in governance, and the primary responsibility of the faculty for determining academic policy will thereby be secured. Moreover, collective bargaining gives the faculty an effective voice in decisions that vitally affect its members’ professional well-being, such as the allocation of financial resources and determination of faculty salaries and benefits. For these reasons, the Association supports efforts of local chapters to pursue collective bargaining.” Furthermore, the statement specifically notes that “Where a faculty chooses collective bargaining, the trustees and administration have a corresponding obligation to bargain in good faith with the faculty-selected representative and should not resort to litigation or any other means intended to avoid this obligation.”
Another core principle of a university is shared governance, where the faculty has a voice in the running of the institution. One key aspect of shared governance is that faculty chooses its own representatives, and the administration cooperates with those representatives. That aspect of shared governance includes the right of the faculty to form a union, and the administration is obligated to work with any faculty-chosen union.
The U.I.C. administration needs to respect academic freedom and shared governance, and negotiate in earnest with the faculty’s chosen union representation.