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UIC faculty set April 23 strike date, hope for binding arbitration

The unionized faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago set a new strike date late Wednesday of April 23, but hope to resolve their dispute with the administration in negotiations next week or in binding arbitration.
Among the unresolved issues important to the union are increasing salary and promotion opportunities for full-time faculty who are non-tenured, and boosting the pay of certain long-term faculty who make less money than their newly hired peers.
The administration counters that it cannot commit to pay raises or other items that cost money past fiscal 2015, given the state’s precarious financial situation. UIC spokesman Tom Hardy said late Wednesday that the university cannot commit to binding arbitration because of the budget uncertainties.
Two more bargaining sessions will take place next week, and no length has yet been set for a strike, said John Shuler, communications group leader for the UIC United Faculty, the faculty union.
The faculty staged a two-day strike in February to call attention to the lack of progress. The faculty union was certified in 2012, and the talks mark its first effort to negotiate a contract. The union represents 1,150 tenured and non-tenure track faculty in separate bargaining units.

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