U Of I Non-Tenure Track Faculty Union Certified
By Jeff Bossert
About 500 non-tenure track faculty at the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus have formed a union. A U of I spokeswoman confirms a notice was filed with the school by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.
The faculty members filed their petition to unionize in May.
Kristina Riedel is a lecturer and Director of the Sub-Saharan African Languages program in the Department of Linguistics.
She also serves on the Academic Senate. Riedel said the top issue of unionization for her is advancement.
“I think most people would tell you that that’s more maybe even more important than salary, then what exact salary you get, because you have space to grow, and of course, that also goes with changes in your salary, but also goes with other opportunities," she said.
Campus Faculty Association President Harriet Murav is tenure-stream faculty, and a professor in Slavic literature. She called this move by visiting lecturers a ‘very positive’ influence on the efforts of others to unionize.
"The really important thing is a greater and more serious voice at the decision making table, where we stop just being advisors, committees, that make recommendations, but actually are people that engage in meaningful debate and discussion with leadership of the campus to achieve consensus on issues."
Marav also said unions are responsible for at least temporarily stopping Illinois' new pension reform law from taking effect.
U of I spokeswoman Robin Kaler says the university is currently reviewing the notice, and once that’s completed, will comply with the Educational Labor Relations Act, and recognize the new union as a bargaining agent.