13 Sep INA/SEIU Strike Updates
- INA Nurses Begin 7 Day Strike: UIC Nurses strike over COVID safety, safe staffing levels, and wages began Saturday 9-12-20 and will continue through the week, or until they get a fair contract.
- SEIU To Begin Striking Monday: SEIU, representing service staff, building services, and custodians both on campus and at the hospital, will strike Monday, 9-14-20, over similar concerns
- Expired Contracts, Lost Colleagues: Both unions are working under expired contracts and have lost colleagues to serious illness and deaths related to COVID-19.
- How Does This Affect Faculty: Below is info on how these strikes may affect you and your students, what you are and are not required to do, and what you can do to support our colleagues in their fights for fair contracts.
Dear UICUF Members,
Our colleagues in the Nurses and Staff unions, INA and SEIU, are striking for their lives, starting this week. COVID19 has sickened over 100 workers, and killed at least 5, so this is no exaggeration. They are also fighting for safe staffing levels, as admin has maintained critically low numbers of nurses and custodians, even while the pandemic increases the need for these essential roles. As fellow union workers at UIC, we support these necessary strike actions to win real protections through enforceable, fair contracts. We encourage you in the strongest possible terms to consider how you can help, by taking solidarity actions, or even simply sharing social media posts.
Below is our at-a-glance advice on supporting the strikes, respecting striking workers’ legal rights, and where to expect pickets during this work stoppage.
SUPPORTING WORKERS DURING THE STRIKE
The following activities are both legally permissible and recommended by UICUF for faculty who wish to support striking workers:
- Rally with Strikers: Monday, 12pm, @1717 W. Taylor
- Avoid crossing picket lines (detailed location of the pickets below).
- Consider alternative forms of teaching if necessary (e.g. on-line/virtual meeting if you are not already remote).
- Move classes to either evening hours, to an off campus location, or to non-struck buildings, if necessary and allowed under your unit’s policy.
- Don’t perform, or hire replacement workers to perform, duties assigned to striking workers.
- Sign the Community and Labor support letter here, and sign up to hear about support actions here.
- Join picket lines when not working.
- Wear union pins, shirts and other items that demonstrate solidarity in your workplace (including work related video meetings and classes).
- Talk to students about why nurses and staff are striking, including COVID safety, appropriate staffing levels, fair wages, and professional respect.
- Follow, like, share, comment on social media accounts
RESPECTING THE LEGAL RIGHTS OF STRIKING WORKERS
While our members will not likely face many situations that call into question the legality of actions relative to striking workers, we want to remind everyone that it is generally unlawful to take actions dissuading or punishing workers for exercising their right to strike. Specifically:
- It is unlawful to fire, discipline, or retaliate against workers for participating in a strike or union activity.
- It is unlawful to ask workers to inform anyone in advance of participating in a strike or union activity.
- It is unlawful to record or threaten to record the names of workers participating in a strike or union activity.
- It is unlawful to discriminate against, restrain, or coerce workers regarding union membership or activity.
PICKETING TIMES AND LOCATIONS
Since much of the campus is already closed or at minimal staffing levels due to COVID-19, pickets will in some cases take place on major thoroughfares rather than individual buildings. This may change if needed as demands of the strike action evolve.
- Chicago Picket #1: 1740 W Taylor
- Chicago Picket # 2: 750 S Halsted
- Peoria: Medical Center
- Rockford: Medical Center
- Sign up for pickets here
We hope it goes without saying, but do not cross a picket line if at all avoidable. It is disrespectful to fellow workers fighting for their rights, and diminishes all of our collective power to fight for fair contracts. If you are directed by a supervisor to cross a picket or teach class in a picketed building, you may be required to comply, but should make time on either end of your work commitment to join and march with the picketers.
We issue regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on our website. We encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. If you want to contribute your story, pictures, video, or other content related to the activities of the union, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With your support, we are making UIC an even SAFER place to work and learn!