GEO Files Intent to Strike; The Racial Consequences of Underfunding Public Higher Ed; UICUF Awards; AFT Survey of NTT Faculty 

08 Apr GEO Files Intent to Strike; The Racial Consequences of Underfunding Public Higher Ed; UICUF Awards; AFT Survey of NTT Faculty 

  • UIC Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) files intent to strike: GEO has set April 18 strike date.
  • The racial consequences of underfunding public higher education: UICUF’s Committee on Political Education (COPE) is hosting a talk by Laura Hamilton on April 20, 3:30
  • Nominations being accepted for John Shuler and Janet Smith Annual Awards: UICUF annually recognizes academic units that have demonstrated extraordinary achievements in shared governance and/or in advancing academic freedom with the John Shuler Award. This year we will begin an annual recognition of extraordinary faculty organizing with the Janet Smith Award. Nominations for both awards are now open.
  • AFT seeking NTT faculty to complete survey: The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), with which we are affiliated, wants to understand the current work and personal life experiences of NTT faculty against the backdrop of uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus and attacks on academic freedom. Link to survey is below. 

Dear Colleagues,

UIC GEO Files Intent to Strike
Last week 97% of participating GEO members voted to authorize their Bargaining Committee to call a strike if the committee concludes that a strike is necessary to achieve a fair contract. Following the most recent bargaining session on April 7, GEO filed the legally required intent-to-strike notice with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, allowing their Bargaining Committee to call a strike starting on April 18. We will share details next week on continuing issues of contention. We will also share how faculty can act in solidarity with GEO, and what your own legal rights and responsibilities are in the event of a GEO strike.

The Racial Consequences of Underfunding Public Higher Education
The UICUF Committee on Political Education (COPE) invites you to a Zoom conversation with Laura Hamilton, the author of Broke: The Racial Consequences of Underfunding Public Universities. The event will take place on Wednesday April 20 from 3:30-5:00 pm. In Broke, Hamilton uses the model of the “new university”—large public universities serving predominantly minority and economically marginalized students—to examine the relationship between the defunding of public higher education and the burdens being placed on students today. Her work ultimately suggests how we can break the cycle of austerity in public higher education.

The event is open to all UICUF and COPE members. You can access the event here.

The COPE is the political action committee of UICUF. Its goals include educating members on political issues around public higher education, endorsing pro-public education and pro-labor politicians, and supporting legislation that benefits public higher education students and faculty. The COPE is funded by the voluntary donations of UICUF members. To become a monthly supporter of the COPE (for as little as $1/month), please click here. If you have questions about the COPE or would like to become a board member, please contact COPE chair Jeffrey Kessler ( 

John Shuler and Janet Smith Awards
The UICUF Executive Board plans to present three awards on April 29:

  • 2020-2021 John Shuler Award for Shared Governance and Academic Freedom
  • 2021-2022 John Shuler Award for Shared Governance and Academic Freedom
  • 2021-2022 Janet Smith Organizing Award

To determine a list of candidates, we are asking members to nominate academic units (for the Shuler Award) and individuals (for the Smith Award) by sending a one-paragraph statement about activities and accomplishments that merit recognition via email to Jeff Edwards ( by April 12. For the Shuler Award, please make nominations based on accomplishments during either the 2020-2021 or 2021-2022 academic year.

UICUF’s John Shuler Award for Shared Governance and Academic Freedom is an annual award to a department or college that demonstrates its commitment, through action, to truly democratic shared governance and academic freedom. The union sees the Shuler award as a way to sustain our memory of John and to continue the work he had planned for his future, encouraging our faculty to pursue these goals in his spirit and his honor.

John Shuler was a beloved member of the UICUF community. Doggedly involved with the union from its beginning, he was a tireless member of our bargaining committee and, at the time of his untimely death in 2016, served as treasurer. He was also energetically involved with the UIC Senate. For 23 years, John was a mainstay at the UIC library, responsible for government information/documents.

UICUF’s Janet Smith Organizing Award will be an annual award in recognition of a person or persons who made extraordinary contributions to faculty organizing. The union sees the Janet Smith Award as a way to sustain our memory of Janet, organizer extraordinaire.

Janet Smith was a charter member of UICUF, served on our first bargaining committee, and then served as president of UICUF from 2014 until her untimely death in 2022. Janet’s teaching, research, and community service focused on equity issues in housing. Her research and outreach activities were regularly conducted in partnership with community organizations and other community stakeholders. As a labor leader, she championed the UIC faculty members with the most precarious and vulnerable positions at the university. In her scholarship, and in her organizing on and off campus, she was a brilliant builder of worker and community power.

AFT Survey of NTT Faculty
The AFT seeks to follow up on its widely cited 2020 study, Army of Temps, by conducting a 2022 survey of NTT faculty against the backdrop of COVID and increasing attacks on academic freedom. We encourage our NTT colleagues to participate in this survey by clicking here.


UIC United Faculty Leadership