Non-Tenure Faculty Union members vote to explore striking

By Megan Jones, Staff writer

A group of non-tenure faculty is considering the possibility of striking in the near future, as soon as by the end of the semester.

The Non-Tenure Faculty Coalition Local 6546 voted positively to explore striking in the near future. Union leaders will form a strike committee and continue to call for labor action, according to a press release issued Wednesday night.

The coalition represents around 500 non-tenure track faculty at the University.

“We have negotiated with the administration for eighteen months,” said Kay Emmert, lead negotiator, in the release. “We have made minimal progress, despite the involvement of a federal mediator.”

Clinical Assistant Professor Jeffrey Frame wrote in an email to his atmospheric sciences students that while he is a member of the bargaining unit the union represents, he did not join the union. He wrote that students can rest assured that his classes and labs will continue.

“It is my hope that this conflict will be resolved without the need of a strike for the sake of your education, which I hold dear,” he wrote.

Members were able to vote from Tuesday until 7 p.m. Wednesday at the union’s office in the McKinley Foundation.

The union has been pushing for, “improved employment security, opportunity for promotion and professional support, and the protection of academic freedom.” The union also asked for salary improvements, stating in the release that pay has been frozen since 2014.

The union delivered 600 postcards to members of the Board of Trustees that explained why the union needs a contract and have made five attempts to speak with the board, according to their website.

The union will file a notice of intent to strike with the University, the Illinois Labor Relations Board and the State’s Regional Office of Education.

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