April 28, 2016 — On its first day of a strike that might last as long as five days, members of the Non-Tenure Faculty Coalition, NTFC Local #6546 AFT/IFT/AAUP at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign walked out of their classes, offices and labs to protest the continued stalling of the University Administration in the bargaining room. Most members joined the lively picket lines at various building on the University’s main quad, chanting and singing in support of their union’s bargaining demands.
Numerous community members also joined the picket lines, from undergraduate students to tenured professors and community members unaffiliated with the University. There was broad consensus among students that NTT faculty deserve better job security. “It’s ridiculous that faculty don’t know if they have a job until just before the beginning of the academic year,” declared Katie Sreenan, a graduating senior in the college of LAS. “My landlord requires that I commit to a twelve-month lease, many months before I actually move in. Why can’t the University even commit to twelve months of employment for these professors well in advance?” asked Zain al-Khalil, a freshman in LAS.” Tyler Camp, incoming president of the Campus Union for Transgender Equality emphasized how the solidarity with the striking faculty members was motivated by the expectation that NTT faculty members would be there for the students for many years to come. “We can’t rely on getting a good education, unless faculty have some stability,” Camp said.
NTFC Local #6546 will continue the strike tomorrow, April 29 with picket lines around the English Building from 8 am to 5 pm with a rally scheduled for the noon-hour. While members and their supporters picket at the University, the union negotiating team will be at mediated bargaining from 8:30 am to 1 pm At the Illinois Fire Services Institute, 11 Gerty Drive, Champaign.
Union leaders emphasize that they are ready to bargain with the university administration at any time and that they remain committed to reaching a collective bargaining agreement as soon as possible. Multi-year contracts for long time faculty members, appointment and reappointment rights as well as protection of academic freedom remain core demands of the union.
Shawn Gilmore, President NTFC Local #6546 (217) 778 2925
Dorothee Schneider, Communications Chair (217) 390 8725