The University of Chicago is a private research university located in the neighborhood of Hyde Park in Chicago, IL. It is recognized as one of the most prestigious universities in the country, holding many top ten rankings in both national and international publications. The prestige is made possible by a world renowned faculty of researchers and educators that deliver quality education to the students.
Full and part-time non tenure track faculty at the University of Chicago started organizing their union in February of 2015, and on December 2015 faculty voted in an almost 5-1 margin to form their union with SEIU Local 73. They became the first faculty members at a private university to unionize in Chicago in almost 20 years.
The Harper Schmidt Post-Doc Fellows at the University voted to form their union in January 2016 and recently ratified their first contract, making them the first SEIU Faculty Forward unit to win a contract in Chicago.
Faculty at the University of Chicago face many issues in their workplace. Most full-time unit members haven’t received anything more than a cost of living increase with many members remaining at entry level wages despite being employed at the university for many years. Part time wages are set at $5,000 a course, unless they teach in the School of Social Service Administration, where part-time faculty make $4,000 a course. Part-time faculty often do not know if they will be teaching the following quarter and do not have access to healthcare. The issues facing faculty at the University of Chicago impact student learning.
Graduate employees recently formed a union on campus. The administration has been staunchly against their efforts to date. Faculty are working closely with graduate employees in solidarity.