Non-tenured faculty at U of Illinois plan 2-day strike

The union that represents University of Illinois faculty who are not on a tenure track plans to strike Tuesday and Wednesday, the group's local president said Monday.

Members of the Nontenure-Track Faculty Coalition Local 6546 hope the limited strike and picketing gives school administrators at the Urbana-Champaign campus appreciation for non-tenured faculty as the two sides try to find common ground on a contract they've been negotiating since October 2014, said Shawn Gilmore, the union president and a literature lecturer.

"We want to demonstrate what it looks like when the non-tenured faculty remove their labor," he said. "It's not particularly valued at the moment."

Union members authorized the limited strike but an open-ended walkout would require further approval, he said. It isn't clear how many will strike, Gilmore said, noting that some researchers in charge of labs may stay on the job.

A university spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The contract would be the first with the University of Illinois for the union, which has about 500 instructors, researchers and other faculty. Union members typically work on one-year contracts and are not part of the tenure system that offers professors and others job protections. The union wants two-year contracts for those who have taught for five years and three-year deals for those with 10 years of service.

Faculty members at many universities across the country have complained in recent years about the growing reliance on non-tenured instructors, who often make less money.

Union members were expected to let students in the affected classes know there will not be class Tuesday or Wednesday, Gilmore said.
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