U. of C., lecturers’ union reach tentative agreement, ends strike threat

Staff Writer

The University of Chicago administration and the bargaining unit of Service Employees International Union (S.E.I.U.) Local 73 for non-tenure track U. of C. lecturers, reached a tentative contract agreement the afternoon of March 15, ending the threat of strike action.

Kay Heikkinen, a member of the union’s bargaining committee who teaches Arabic, expressed happiness at the end of two years of negotiations.

“The hope is that this agreement will make the University a better place for all those who teach there and for the student body,” Heikkinen said.

According to a press release from Provost Daniel Diermeier and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Jason Merchant, the tentative agreement will increase pay for part- and full-time lecturers, expand eligibility for medical benefits, cap language class sizes to 15 students and introduce both a full-time promotion track and greater reappointment security, among other provisions.

“We are grateful for the goodwill that our colleagues have demonstrated throughout these talks,” said the provosts. “We also want to thank our faculty, students, staff, and alumni for their wide-ranging input and engagement throughout this process.”

Tenured faculty, Students Organizing United with Labor (SOUL) and over 600 alumni wrote to the U. of C. administration in support of the lecturers’ union, which was founded in 2016, and urging a quick end to negotiations. A ratification vote amongst the union membership is expected the week of April 9, according to the union.