The Labor United for Class Struggle (LUCS) chapter of IL-IN-MI voices its firm and steadfast support for the University of Illinois Springfield United Faculty (UISUF) in their ongoing struggle for adequate compensation and educational resources. This union represents roughly 130 tenured and tenure-track faculty who tirelessly devote themselves to the success of their students and colleagues. UISUF is a chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois (UPI, Local 4100) and is an affiliate of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT).
These parties have been negotiating for over a year, with their previous contract having expired in August of 2021. This calendar year has already seen twelve bargaining sessions between the faculty and the UIS administration, with nine of those sessions requiring a federal mediator. There are UIS faculty that earn as much as 20 percent less than educators at other Illinois institutions, and the faculty as a whole has not received a cost of living raise since 2020. At the same time, UIS has consistently expanded its administrative positions, which has caused a disproportionate faculty to management ratio of 1 manager for every 2 faculty. The faculty are experiencing firsthand the devastating impacts of soaring inflation and healthcare costs. As an institution, UIS receives a meager 4% of the University of Illinois school system budget, despite having more student need as opposed to the Chicago and Champaign campuses. As USIUF Chapter President Kristi Barnwell explains, “Year after year we’re asked to do more with less—and for less. Faculty simply can’t provide a filet mignon education with fast-food resources.”
On April 20, the UISUF/IFT Local 4100 demonstrated their unity by overwhelmingly voting to authorize a strike if the administration did not make significant movement towards the demands of the union. Their intent-to-strike notice was filed with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board a day later, on April 21. Kristi Barnwell continues: “It’s past time for UIS administration to prove that they prioritize out students and value the work of our faculty by getting a fair deal done.”
We at Labor United for Class Struggle voice our uncompromising and unflinching support for UISUF/IFT Local 4100 in their fight for fair compensation and adequate educational resources. By remaining vigilant and unified in the face of adversity, members of UISUF/IFT Local 4100 put themselves in the best position to realize their goals and achieve their rightful demands as workers.
Labor United for Class Struggle of Illinois