New Faculty Union at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

By Edward J. Graham

Nearly five hundred non-tenure-track-faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign were successful last spring in forming a union, which was certified by the state labor relations board in July. The local union, the Campus Faculty Association, is affiliated with the AAUP and the American Federation of Teachers.

Faculty in the new union are a diverse group of lecturers, instructors, and clinical, visiting, teaching, and research faculty whose work is vital to the teaching and research missions of the university.

“We are excited to become
a certified union and lead non-tenure-track faculty toward a rewarding future,” says Dorothee Schneider, history lecturer at UIUC. “Our union looks forward to finally giving our members a strong voice as educators, as innovators and, above all, as faculty at the University of Illinois.”

The new union’s goals include longer-term contracts, clear guidelines for promotion, and improved compensation.

“This is a great victory for academic labor, as this group of faculty stood up for collective bargaining at a major research university,” said Howard Bunsis, chair of the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress, “Students, faculty, and university will benefit from the faculty having a voice in the process and a seat at the table.”