Non-tenured instructors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have begun a two-day strike. The walkout is part of their call for a labor contract, which would be the group's first with the university, as negotiations have been ongoing since October 2014.
"This is our chance to show our united strength and value on our campus," Christina De Angelo, an instructor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and a union official, detailed on the labor group's Facebook page.
Members of the Nontenure-Track Faculty Coalition Local 6546 say they hope the strike will speed up the contract negotiations and show university officials how important they are to the campus. U of I officials, however, say the workers are not taking the proper approach to reach their goals.
"This two-day strike seeks to demonstrate what we already know and believe. But it does not help us make progress together," interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson and interim Provost Edward Feser said in a joint statement.
There are about 500 workers represented by the union on U of I's campus, but it is unclear as to how many are participating in the walkout and what classes have been impacted by the strike, if any. About 15 instructors picketed on campus Tuesday afternoon. The educators are seeking long-term contracts based on an individual's number of years teaching at the school, while university officials, who back the idea of longer contracts, want the deals to be administered based on merit and at the discretion of the department in which the instructor teaches.