UI union seeking better conditions
About the April 8 article on the Non-Tenure Faculty Coalition Local 6546 strike vote: It's wonderful that Arthur Schmidt, a research assistant professor in engineering at the University of Illinois, gets performance evaluations and merit-based pay increases.
It would be harder for him to contribute to the excellence of the university if he had to wonder every year if he was going to be hired back, if he had no idea what elements of his performance might affect his rehiring, and if there were no procedures in place to reward his merit.
Yet faculty who face such demoralizing conditions do much of the university's teaching.
Every UI student deserves to be taught by faculty who are treated like the dedicated professionals they are. Nontenure-track faculty came together as a union in 2014, when every faculty member in the bargaining unit was given the opportunity to sign a union card, the equivalent of a "yes" vote.
Those who didn't sign cards were counted as "no's." The union became certified because the NTT faculty who saw no need for a union were outnumbered by those who did.
Like Professor Schmidt, many of us in the union are "grateful to be part of this outstanding institution," so much so that we've been doing our jobs with the same professionalism but without a wage increase since 2014, and trying to work out an equitable agreement with an administration that shows up to the bargaining table with delaying tactics, not counterproposals.
Lecturer, Department of English
University of Illinois