As part of a press release announcing the strike, Union leaders explained their decision to engage in a work stoppage this way:
“This is a fight to force the administration to recognize the valuable work that non-tenure-track faculty have done at the University of Illinois for decades–work that needs to be supported through a union contract,” stated Union President Shawn Gilmore, a lecturer in the English Department.
Dennis Dullea, a senior instructor in English, and Vice-President of NTFC Local #6546, added, “Currently most of our members exist on temporary, nine-month contracts. Many of us have been ‘temporary’ faculty for over twenty years! It’s time to prioritize our students’ learning experience. Multi-year contracts mean faculty are able to focus on teaching and preparing their courses rather than on wondering if they will have a job in the fall. These contracts will bring stability to the faculty, to our students, and to the campus community at large.”
After more than eighteen months of attempting to resolve these issues at the bargaining table, the union has decided that a strike is necessary. “Our door is always open,” said lead negotiator Kay Emmert, “but after twenty-nine negotiating sessions, with little to show for our efforts, our members are telling the administration: Enough is enough!”
“We have continually tried to negotiate a contract that would support our work as educators,” said Christina De Angelo, instructor in Spanish and Portuguese and chair of the NTFC Strike Committee. “Having a fair evaluation system in our contract would allow us to expand our teaching strengths to make sure that all of our students receive the quality education they deserve. We say ‘Education First,’ and the administration’s only response is ‘No’. Their constant refusal to act on these important issues has forced us to take these steps and to demonstrate how serious we are about improving campus life at UIUC.”
You can get more information on the strike at the Union's website.