17 Sep Shame: UICUF Appalled by Regressive Strike Breaking Tactics
UICUF Statement Against Regressive Strike Breaking Tactics
UIC United Faculty (UICUF)—the union representing over 1,400 tenured and non-tenured faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago—is disturbed and appalled that the university administration has recruited scabs to substitute for UIC workers exercising their legal right to strike for fair and just contracts. The university has contracted with firms that specialize in providing strikebreakers, which allegedly includes bringing scabs in from states currently listed on the City of Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order.
Union members in SEIU Local 73 and the Illinois Nurses Association have been working without a contract while risking their own health and safety as frontline hospital workers in the fight against COVID-19. Rather than negotiate new contracts that recognize the invaluable labor and heroism of their employees, the administration has refused to bargain seriously and, when challenged, turned to scabs.
The administration has in effect refused to treat its unionized workers as members of the university community or even the Chicago community. The administration has not provided adequate health protections and insists on paying below the city minimum wage on the basis of a technicality, claiming UIC workers are state workers and not workers in Chicago. The city has made clear what a minimum wage for those working in this city must be, yet the administration insists on using a loophole in the law to pay them less.
In these shameful acts the administration is taking a position reminiscent of unscrupulous employers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, before the New Deal. This is the old deal: take an unsafe job that pays below the minimum wage or be replaced by a scab. UICUF is ashamed that the UIC administration has taken this regressive position, and has doubled down on defending it with vile strike breaking tactics. We fully support SEIU 73 and the Illinois Nurses Association in their efforts to achieve fair and safe contracts.
UIC United Faculty